Negro, was the mellowest of campo dogs, one of those free-roaming customers who lived, ate and stayed out of the rain by his wits and supplemented his precarious fortune by sidling up to any human who was kind to him.
Even before our house was finished five years ago, Negro, Chucha (his mother?) and Brenda (his sister?) accurately spotted in Stew and me two softies who were good for a handful of dog food once, two, even three times a day and, just as important, a reassuring pat on the head every time. All they had to do was show up at the gate of our ranch.
Negro was fifty or sixty pounds of canine mush, all black (hence his name) always ready to run to our gate, tail wagging, usually followed by the other two dogs and sometimes a fourth named Osita, or "Little Bear," whenever he spotted our car or pickup approaching.
Predictably, the two teams of dogs, the outsiders led by Negro, and our five insiders, led by Lucy, would launch into a round of raucous barking at each other.
The outside foursome, or now a threesome, technically belongs to Don Vicente, the rancher down the hill from our place, who never seems to care much for them except allowing them to stay in a tin shack at night and when it rained.
For the past week or so Negro had been glaringly missing from the gate—normally he would come at least once a day to get some food—and so three days ago Félix went looking for him. He found Negro lying by the tin shack, emaciated and barely moving.
|In our pet cemetery lies our cat Ziggy, or Ziggi as Félix spelled his name.|
The young vet said he'd give Negro another round of antibiotics but Stew and I started that dreadful talk about "putting him to sleep", an expression I loathe because it sounds so sappy and evasive. If Negro didn't come around by Saturday, we'd have to end his life.
Negro spared us that awful decision: He died on his own last night at the vet's office.
Félix and his nephew are digging a new grave at our pet cemetery for Negro, next to his suspected mother Chucha, and Chupitos, one of Félix's dogs, and our cat Ziggy.
Stew is on the way to the vet who was supposed to do an autopsy to find out what exactly killed Negro. One possibility is poisoning.
I'm here writing a story, which is my escape in stressful situations.
I would like to think, wistfully for sure, that Negro tried to repay the kindnesses we extended to him and his family over the years by sparing us the decision of "putting him to sleep."
Even if that's not really true, thanks, Negro.
My blog about Chucha: https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6672834250325632231#editor/target=post;postID=6297721931355461361;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=80;src=link