Bicycling back from lunch today our gardener Félix, who has an unnatural sense of hearing, picked up some noise coming from a plastic bag quivering by the side of the road.
He stopped and inside the bag found seven puppies, a day or two old, with the eyes closed and one with its umbilical cord still attached. Three of the puppies were dead. Apparently someone didn't want any more dogs and decided that tossing the entire litter from a car window was the most expedient solution to the problem.
It was Félix too who found Felisa, the fifth addition to our gang of mutts, almost on the same spot as these puppies, similarly abandoned by someone. Though she was only the size of a large rat, Felisa was big enough to survive and turn into something slightly bigger and just as yappy as a Chihuahua.
Calls to our neighbor Arno, who runs a spay-and-neuter organization called Amigos de Animales; my friend Lynn who runs the Sociedad Protectora de Animales; and our young vet Ricardo Merrill, yielded the same answer—euthanasia. Short of finding a willing surrogate mother there was no other hope of survival for puppies that young.
Even if you factor in the lessened sensitivity to animal life in rural areas, such as where we live, and where animals are constantly born, raised and killed as part of the natural cycle of farming, tossing seven puppies in a bag, as if they were garbage, is a cruelty hard to fathom.
We know that it rattled Félix, who was born and raised barely a mile from here but who was visibly shaken by the sight of the surviving puppies whining and squirming around, worm-like, on a towel Stew fetched from the garage. Félix walked around, his baseball cap tilted back, muttering, "I don't know why someone would do something like that."
So barely three hours after Félix found them, he and Stew went off to Dr. Merrill to have the surviving puppies killed, or as they say, "put to sleep." Félix will bury the litter in our ever more populated pet cemetery.
As far as horror stories go, this was a brief but particularly horrible one.