Sunday, January 06, 2008

Nine dogs! The first five, or Part I of a Two-Part Series

Manders asked me a while back about the nine. I told her it was a long story, too long to go into detail over Skype or via e-mail! So here is part II of the "Animals We've Rescued" saga.

We came to Costa Rica with three cats (Venus, Bug and Boo) and one dog (my lovely Lucy). Lucy was already old when we arrived, but she made the trip well and was no worse for wear. She did, as dogs often do when they get old, start having incontinence problems, so we took her to a vet who would give her a hormone injection about once a month, and that worked quite well. One time, though, a junior vet just out of school was there and our regular vet was not, and he tried some kind of speed, basically, instead of the hormones. Esposo knew it was a bad idea, and I still kick myself over why I subjected my girl to this. The speed affected her cataracts to the point where she was about to lose her eyesight, and her eyes altogether, and of course no one at Dr. Molina's office would answer an emergency call, even though they supposedly had an emergency number. My dog may have died that weekend if it were not for Dr. Rafael Gamboa (the best vet in Costa Rica, IMHO, he's in Escazu and comes highly recommended!), who saved her life. She did end up losing her sight, though, there was nothing to be done about that. Lucy sort of went downhill after that whole episode, and passed away quietly in my arms at home a couple of years later. She was the best dog ever, and no one could ever take her place in my heart. There still isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss her.

One of my very favorite pictures of Lucy Elizabeth.

Not long after we moved to Costa Rica, we went up to visit esposo's mom and aunt. These women have an incredibly bad habit of taking in dogs and cats (and chickens! grrrr....) and then, when they outgrow their cuteness, giving them away. In the backyard of grandma's house was a little puppy, basically living in a dirt patch, no blanket, scraps for food, and filthy water. All I could think about was this puppy after we left, and the next day, I made esposo go back up there with me and we took her home. I thought she might make a nice companion for Lucy, who, of course, would have nothing to do with her rambunctious self. We couldn't think of a name for her, until one night when we were listening to The Police and "Roxanne" came on. That was it. She is as adorable as can be, loves to escape through the fence and run the neighborhood when she can, and doesn't take any crap from any large dogs (and let's face it, at her size [about four pounds] every other dog is large). We love the Roxy. Oh, and Roxy's claim to fame? She won "Mejor Zaguate" (Best Mutt) at the dog fair in Ciudad Colon a few years ago! The whole crowd (none of whom actually knew her) were united in shouting, "Roxy! Roxy!" Her cuteness and fun-loving attitude are undeniable!

Who's the best mutt? Roxanne Olive, that's who!

After Roxy, we moved from San Rafael de Escazu up to San Antonio in the Escazu mountains. It was a cute little house, Swiss-chalet style, but the strange thing about the whole neighborhood was that there were shacks next to million-dollar estates. It was very weird. Across the street from us lived a family of crack dealers, who, at one point, tore off the facade of their house to trick the bank into thinking they had left the repossessed property (they didn't). They had tons of stray dogs hanging around, several of whom we ended up with. We used to walk a lot more back then than we do now, and one day, walking down to the bus stop, we saw a really cute lab-type dog being chased off of some stairs by a grumpy old man (people here can be so mean to animals, it makes me sick). I gave him a nasty look and petted the dog; esposo even commented what a nice dog it was. Later on that week, we saw the crack family playing with the dog, and at one point she came over into our yard. Esposo commented that he'd always wanted a big dog, so it was decided that we'd keep Chloe Luna. We call her Booty because she's always shakin' her thang! She's super intelligent, very protective and very loving. She also thinks that she's a lap dog. A 60-pound lap dog.

Chloe Luna eating a very tiny green mango.

The next dog to come along was Francheska. We happened to be driving in Alajuela one day, and saw a completely emaciated dog, I mean you could count each rib on her. I thought, no way is that poor dog going to live. When we got home I called the McKee Project, and was talked into picking her up if possible. So the next time we went out there, about a week later, we saw the dog, in about the same area as she had been hanging out before, slightly heavier, as though she'd actually had a meal that week. Esposo opened a can of dog food, and she came to him, hesitantly at first, and then he easily picked her up and put her in the car. She was so happy. I still didn't know if she would survive, but she did, and thrived. She's become our protector; Cheska is definitely the dog that will tear someone apart if they make the mistake of trying to break into our house. Unfortunately, she's also one of the fighters, and the reason we need to now keep some dogs in the back yard and some in the front. And she's part beagle, so she's a real barker. We do love her, though, and she's absolutely perfect with the people she knows and loves.

Francheska, another mango lover!

I'm a little blurry on the details of who, exactly, came next, but I believe it was Madeline. We had gone down to the little supermarket one day to pick up a couple of things, and I noticed (while esposo was in the store) someone walking in with a puppy. I figured he was either taking his puppy for a stroll, or seeing if someone was missing a puppy. Lo and behold he came out of the store sans puppy. Esposo came out next, and noticed the cute puppy (I mean, this was the cutest puppy I have ever seen in my life!), gave it a pet, and started to walk back to the car. Puppy tried to follow him and almost got hit by a bus. Luckily for puppy, esposo picked her up and started making hand gestures at me, as if to say, "What do I do with this?" I shrugged, he took her back in the store, and of course no one would claim her. What else could we do? We took her home. She came close to death not just that one day, but twice more, when she came down with distemper and later when she was given too much anesthesia during her spay operation. Madeline (or Maddie, as she's known around here, or Gwew-Gwew, because she had the cutest little bark when she was a pup) is a big ball of fluff, and I could not love her more. She did, I think, lose a few brain cells during the time of the distemper and anesthesia-induced coma-like state, so she has this very happy-go-lucky personality. She loves playing in water that comes out of a hose, and usually sleeps in bed with us (all 40 pounds of her). Oh and I forgot to mention: The guy who dumped her at the grocery store? Was one of the crackheads across the street. Lovely, lovely people, they were.

Madeline back in her cute, fluffy puppy days.

Around this time, esposo and I finally got married. This was in the fall of 2002. Next door to us, we had our own very nosy neighbor. At one point, she got a dog, and this dog mated with the German shep they kept tied to a tree in front of their house (poor thing -- I told you dogs are treated poorly here). The dog's puppies kept falling over their fence into our backyard, and esposo kept putting them back over on their side. At one point he said, "If those dogs fall over one more time, I'm going to keep them!" Of course they did fall over. Esposo finally went over to the woman to talk to her about securing her fence a little better. She confided that she wanted to find a home for the female, but wanted to keep the male (of course, because female dogs are worth so little here, you know, all they do is breed more dogs, and thus keep the street dog population overflowing! But I digress...). There was some confusion about which puppy kept falling over the fence; esposo insisted it was the boy but the woman was sure it was the girl. Turned out they were identical, and we took the girl home for a couple of days just to "try it out." Yeah, right! We actually did take her back to the woman's house for a week while we went on our honeymoon (to Columbia!), but as soon as we got back, I went straight to her house to pick up my puppy. I named her Isabella after the first quilt I started working on (Isabella's Garden from HGTV), and esposo said I would spoil her because I let her sleep on my head. She's part cocker and part German shep, which is a weird combo. She's 110% my baby. She's one of those dogs who always has to be near you or she gets nervous. Whenever she whines because she wants something, esposo says something like, "See? It's because you let her sleep on your head." Silly man. She no longer sleeps on my head, but she does sleep either in bed or right next to it.

Isabella Linda, aka Bella, Isapooh, or just Pooh

Ok, this has taken me all morning to write, so I need to do a bit of work and then I'll tell you about the remaining four. If you've read this far, pat yourself on the back. I think this is my longest post ever.


  1. Oh my gosh!! Thank you :)
    That picure of Luce is just wonderful!! I have a couple really great ones of you Luce and Maymay on your purple sofa I should scan them one day!!!

  2. Oh you should! I would love to see them. I have more stories of the other four coming, when I can get away from work for more than a few minutes.