To a stranger's eyes the six to nine dogs that gather outside the gate of our ranch likely looks like an indistinct, motley gang. But after you've fed them several years, the differences in their appearance and personalities are unmistakable.
Also, we can readily tell if someone's missing. Negro, a big black dog, disappeared for two or three days and then staggered back very sick: He'd been poisoned. A rush trip to the vet couldn't save him. Osita ("Little Bear") a midsize mutt too gentle for her own good simply vanished. Chupitos, our gardener Félix's dog, vanished one night and we found her disemboweled body the next morning, the victim of a dog fight.
|Benji a couple of years ago, before her recent haircut.|
The saddest case perhaps was Chucha, at once a lovable but pitiable old wreck, with cataracts but no teeth, plus other handicaps, but grumpy enough to keep any aggressors away. She eventually died too, of old age we suppose, and was buried in our ranch next to Chupitos and Negro.
Some of these stray dogs may no doubt are feral and attracted by our food handouts. Others, who look too refined to be feral, most likely were dumped by owners who no longer wanted them.
The star of this post, though, is Benji, so named for "his" vague similarity to the protagonist in the movie by the same name. We've been feeding and petting Benji daily for about three years but only recently discovered that he's a Benjamina rather than a Benji. But the name stuck.
Three days ago Stew noticed that one of Benji's ears was grossly swollen so we took her to Dr. Vazquez, a terrific vet, who found a deep wound probably caused by a fight. Benji is very timid and mellow, one of those creatures destined to be bullied and to lose every fight she gets into. We're surprised she's survived as long as she has.
|Born-again Benji, after her haircut and visit to the vet this week.|
The ear flopped down is the one that got mauled during a fight.
It'll be back to normal when it heals. Standing to her
left is Dr. Vazquez who patched her up. Stes is holding her.
As she recovers from her wounds at a nearby kennel, it's urgent that Benji find a permanent home, away from the ruthless dog-fight-dog world of the campo.
While at the vet, Benji got bandaged up, was vaccinated for rabies and received a rather rakish haircut. The vet said her fur was all matted and flea-ridden and a fresh start was the best solution.
We guess Benji must be about four years old, and is medium-sized, weighing about thirty pounds, though she could benefit from some additional meat on her bones, now revealed by the haircut. Her personality if nothing if mellow and tame.
We intend to keep her at the kennel for about ten days, but after that we must surrender her to the uncertain life in the campo where she came from: We already have five rescue dogs and two cats and cannot take another one.
So now we're soliciting friends, readers and anyone else you know to consider adopting this gentle, latter-day gal.
Any interest or leads, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In just a few days she'll be ready for her close-up and interviewing potential adopters.
|Benji in one of her pensive moods.|