Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Story of Luna

I really wanted to write something nice about Costa Rica, since I seem to be doing more bitching than praising lately. So here it is — veterinary care is excellent and inexpensive here. I have seven dogs, three cats, and a bunch of other animals (chickens, a rabbit and now guinea fowl), so having access to both good and cheap veterinary care is essential.

We have a major tick problem out here in the boonies. I have tried just about everything to get rid of them: Advantix does not work at all, Frontline works for a few days, and a special vaccine made for both mange and ticks seems to work the best. Someone told me about a product called Ectol (sp?) today, so I'm going to check into that one. At any rate, at $10 a pop, it would soon get too expensive to use Frontline once a month, so in a way it's ok that it doesn't work well. The vaccines are around $1.50 and I get them at the agro next door to the cafe, where they'll give the dogs the shots or you can take them home to do them yourself.

It has been quite a hassle taking two dogs at a time down to the agro for the shots (since no way am I doing them myself), and they just seem to pass the ticks around each other that way. So last week I had the idea to ask someone there if they could come by the house and give all the dogs the shots at one time. One of the guys who works there said he would do it — on his day off, I might add — so we arranged for him to come by the next day. He gave all the injections, we gave him a little extra for his time (which he did not ask for and which is unlikely he would have asked for anyway), and this seems to be doing the trick. Now how many vets in the U.S. would do that for you?

Yesterday, I walked the baby down to the cafe and noticed they had two guinea fowl for sale. Guinea fowl are known for eradicating ticks from any area in which they live, so I was very excited to see them, considering I've been trying to find some for a year with no luck. Esteban has a few on his property and not one single tick among his dogs. So I asked about the birds, and the same guy that came to do the vaccines said I was welcome to borrow their cage and even pay on Monday, since they were closing in about 10 minutes. Great! Now all I have to do is figure out how to make a chicken tractor, as I won't let them run around the yard in case Numi the Escape Artist gets out and goes after them.

So these agro people sound nice enough, you're thinking. So did I, until Luna made an appearance.

Luna showed up at the cafe on Saturday; we let her hang out, and gave her some food and water. She is a beautiful little black Lab-mix puppy, probably not more than 3 months old. One of the things I really, really hate about Costa Rica is the way many people think of animals as disposable things. That someone could dump this puppy, assume that someone else would take her in and take care of her, or just not even care what happens to her is beyond irresponsible, it's reprehensible.

I start sending out "this puppy needs a home" e-mails, asking various people if they want a dog, etc. etc. Today we do a regular Sunday catering job, and on the way back esposo picks up the camera to take a photo of Luna (I named her that because she looks like our big black Lab Chloe, whose middle name is Luna). When we get to the cafe, the camera's batteries are dead (of course!), so I figure I'll go home and recharge them, then come back later to take the picture.

As I'm getting ready to leave, a wonderful, dedicated woman (Luz Marina) who helps with rescued animals in the area (as well as checks on abuse/neglect complaints) stops by the cafe, looking for the puppy. Apparently, what had happened was that a man asked the agro people if they would try to adopt out the puppy on Friday, and if no one took her, he'd come back for her at closing time. Somehow Luz Marina either heard about it or saw the puppy, and asked them to please call her if the man did not come back to claim the dog, and she would pick her up. Of course the man never showed up, and the people at the agro (who must know Luz Marina quite well) did not call her. Instead, they just let the dog loose on the streets.

Now, the cafe is located on the 2nd busiest street in this small town. Why on Earth would they dump the dog on the street when they could just as easily have called Luz Marina? I have no idea. She came by on Saturday, the agro people said they didn't have the dog anymore, she was sort of frantic looking all over town for her, and here Luna had camped out at the cafe.

[Side note: I sort of think dogs have a separate "sense" about these kinds of things, like where they're welcome, as Luna is the third dog to have made herself at home at the cafe. Others have come and gone, and we had a cat come and stay as well until someone stole her.]

All they had to do at the agro was pick up the phone. Instead, the let the puppy loose to possibly get hit by a car, poisoned, who knows what. Why would they do that? What would be the reason? I had heard from other people that they did the same thing with other kittens and puppies that did not get adopted "in time." I found it hard to believe then, but can't deny it now. And I simply do not understand it. Luckily, Luna made her way to our place, where animals are never turned away. Luckily, too, Luz Marina thought to check with us about her, and tonight she is sleeping in a warm bed. She will be spayed, de-wormed and vaccinated, and then put up for adoption. I do believe that Luna will find her forever home soon, and I know she will be a loving (and hopefully very loved) member of some family. She is a gentle soul who deserves better than she has been handed so far in her short life. And she's definitely one of the lucky ones.

[Side note 2: I want to point out that it was the agro's owner, not the vaccinating guy, who promised to call Luz Marina but neglected to do so, though anyone at the agro really could have/should have called her.]

No comments:

Post a Comment