Last night, someone finally killed our dog Chokis. He’d had several attempts on his life these past few weeks. We’d almost come to believe he was invincible.
One day we came home, and he rushed up to us to show us the wound on his head where a bullet had grazed him. His hard head protected him, but he was puzzled by the injury. Then last week, I was sure he was dying. He didn’t jump up when I opened the door with his dog cookies but lay there thumping his tail in pleasure and bleeding. It looked like he had a confrontation with another dog and sustained injuries. Well, he was now a teenage dog, and these things will happen when there is a lady love involved. Slowly, he recovered and was up and about again. But last night was the clincher.
He had ingested poison. If you’ve never witnessed death by poison, let me assure you that it is horrible. (See 101 Perritos ) We had a puppy accidentally poisoned once, and so knew the symptoms, but it didn’t make it any easier to watch. Chokis rammed the door and gate several times trying to outrun the demons pursuing him. When he couldn’t get in (we were afraid to let him in) he turned and defended his family from the phantoms with the last of his agonizing strength. He finally lay down at his post, even in death putting his body between us and perceived danger.
The list of who did NOT poison him is much shorter than the possible assassins. (See Hate Thy Neighbor, and Good Fences make good neighbors unless your neighbor steals it)
The borrega guy mentioned once he wasn’t happy with Chokis as he found him inside his animal corral. There was an opening for the borega guy’s own dogs to go in and out freely and Chokis just followed them in one day. Well, the borrega guy’s own dogs were killed a few months ago. So maybe he didn’t do it.
Then there is the cow barn guy. He lets his chickens run free, and at times, there are fewer chickens that return than went out. He blamed Chokis. I will admit, Chokis does like to chase chickens. For that reason, we banished him outside the gate. Not that he eats them, mind you. He just chases them and well, sometimes they just die, of fright most likely. He doesn’t eat them. I don’t think he likes the feathers.
Then there is the chicken feather guy. He is always a likely suspect. A few months ago, my husband’s brother B’s two dogs were poisoned and his house broken into. At the time he didn’t have anything worth stealing in there, but of course, the would-be thief didn’t know that. B is pretty sure that the chicken feather guy did it.
Or it could have been the horse guy. He recently returned from El Norte (US) and is back to his old tricks. He likes to prowl about in the early mornings and “forage” for construction materials or food for his malnourished horses. Chokis’ barking kept him away from our street, but his presence did not go unnoticed.
Chokis will be missed. He was a bit exuberant, but his love for us was never in question. He accompanied my son with the goats. He provided an escort for me wherever I went in La Yacata. He slept in front of the door and kept away strangers. He waited under the mesquite tree for us every single afternoon.
It’s hard not to become depressed when death is such a constant companion here. The trick is to focus on the brilliance that is life and acknowledge but not bow to the shadows such brilliance creates. For today, though, we will mourn Chokis. The remembrance of his faithfulness will live on in our hearts.