Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Desi to the rescue



In addition to his duties as gardener, painter and fixer-upper, our own Renaissance man Félix also works as watchman when we are away, spending nights in our house. Recently he's become more insistent, always politely, about his security concerns. Following our last vacation, when we went to watch whales in Baja California, Félix kept talking up us getting a gun, a couple of big dogs or both.

He would never use the "s" word, no full-blooded Mexican man would admit to such feelings. But it sounded as if Félix was...hmm...could it be?...may be just a bit...scared? Of course not, he said, except he also let out that one night he had asked his older brother Juan to come over and keep him company, on account of "strange noises."

So we started looking for a dog and two days ago spotted a likely candidate through Save a Mexican Mutt, a local group organized by an American couple who pick up stray or abandoned dogs and take most of them to the U.S. for adoption. Reportedly some U.S. animal shelters have no dogs to adopt while in some circles it has become chic to adopt a muttzerella from Mexico.

A Doberman male had turned up at SAMM and judging from photos they had sent me, this guy looked like the part. It's not common for SAMM to find pure-bred dogs, but this one seemed to be. Kelly Karger, who runs SAMM, says he's put on 15 pounds since he was rescued in San Luis Rey, one of San Miguel's poorest neighborhoods. It's hard to understand why the owners abandoned such a beautiful animal, except they probably had no money to feed him.

Today he showed up and he lived up to the billing: A full-size Doberman indeed, with a chopped-up tail but intact ears, probably weighing about 90 pounds--or about as much as Félix--and a deep growl reminiscent of the rumble of a 1960s muscle car. His mission is to scare off intruders by his menacing presence and bark and he certainly can do that much.

We just won't tell anyone he also seems to be somewhat of a wuss. Everyone was a bit apprehensive how the Doberman would react to our two dogs, Lucy and Gladys, and Félix's Luiso and Palomita. But when they all met nothing happened except the requisite sniffing of each other's privates, as in "Hola, how are you, pleasure to meet you, I think." After that, everyone just took off and started playing. If this guy is not a wuss, he's certainly a very cordial guard dog.

Originally we had named him "Ché" as in Ché Guevara, but then changed it to "Desi", to go with our female "Lucy." After I'd started calling him Ché I'd realized both of my parents would turn in their graves if they found out I had named a pet after the loathsome commie revolutionary.

That name doesn't belong on a pet, my mother would sputter, unless it's a slimy, disgusting animal, like a weasel, and then you shouldn't have adopted it at all.

What's wrong with you son, are you a pinko or something?

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