Tag Archives: Dogs

Walking the Dogs

Practicing social distancing means we don’t get out much. However, now that the chicken feather guy’s lady dog is no longer in heat, our doggie walks again encompass the entire block in La Yacata. 

Walking The Puppers and walking Terry are two completely different experiences. We can’t walk them together because George and Terry still haven’t made peace with each other. So two walks it is.

All of the dogs have learned to spell w-a-l-k. Their excitement when it is time is evident. Fred and George start racing around the back yard. Terry starts whining. 

IMG_20200430_085758 (2)

The Puppers get the first walk. Sometimes they are so excited they forget to wait for my son to clip the leash on. When everybody is hooked up, out we go. Fred clearly has the superior nose. Sniffing the air when the coyotes have been by, sniffing the corners for new pee messages, sniffing the grass as it starts to grow. He even sniffed out a 6-foot long snake the other day.

George is the point guard. He takes his guarding and pee spraying the parameter very seriously. Sometimes, he checks out what Fred is sniffing, decides if it is worthy or not, and then pees all over it. 

Occasionally, a happy white lady boxer dog is in La Yacata. More often than usual these days since everybody is tired of their own company and head to La Yacata to congregate clandestinely. White Lady Dog is so excited to see The Puppers. She bounds up and stands nose to nose. Everyone is completely still except for furious tail wagging. Then she bounds away. 

Every day, they look forward to the corner where sometimes they see Lady White Dog and her “come up and see me sometime boys” invitation. Fred whines, sniffing away for any trace of her while George scans the horizon. 

terry

Then we circle home and switch out the dogs. As soon as Terry sees the leash, he begins this high pitched barking that only ends once he’s at the front door, ready to go. He leaps out of the gate like some sort of racehorse. Sometimes, my son isn’t fast enough for him, so he grabs the leash and tries to walk himself.

He sprints as far as the leash allows him to go, which is pretty far because I bought him a longer leash recently. When he reaches the end, the abrupt stop jerks him and my son’s arm. This happens every single walk. 

As we head up the incline, Terry seems to believe he must pull my son up the road. Maybe he’s not satisfied with the speed. We used to think that maybe he was hot on the trail of something, but have learned that’s not true. There isn’t anything pressing ahead that he is interested in investigating. He just plows on ahead. 

Now the terrain in many areas of La Yacata means jogging isn’t an option. I told my son that if he had a pair of skates (and a level area) Terry would pull him along for miles. Not gonna happen here though.

So my son and Terry have a miserable walk, each fully convinced the other is misbehaving. My son, for going to slow, and Terry for trying to race ahead. Terry is oblivious to everything except George’s pee spots, which he makes his own. 

The dogs at the corner don’t bark at The Puppers when we pass. However, perhaps because Terry looks like some sort of wolf or coyote, they sound the alarm, which Terry ignores. 

The White Lady Dog came up to Terry the other day and I swear, Terry had that look a 10-year-old boy might have if a girl came up and gave him a kiss. EWWW! Cooties! 

IMG_20200430_092246 (2)

Soon enough, we arrived back home. Terry is still in command of the front area, while The Puppers have the back. My son must go through the back to reassure The Puppers. They’ve started this strange ritual where they just have it as if they are gladiators in training trying to impress the master when my son arrives after his walk with Terry. This free-for-all goes on until the moment my son goes into the house. Then it’s back to lounging under the trees in the shade, waiting for the afternoon walk.

***

wwzzcover

3 Comments

Filed under Animal Husbandry, Homesteading

Training Terry

If you remember, a few months ago we were given Terry, a Belgium Shepherd dog whose owner could no longer care for him. He came with some behavioral issues that we are still working on. 

He and George still periodically growl at each other through the hole that Jolina made in the door. He’s totally jealous of any attention Fred and George get from my son and carries on something awful. Walks are difficult because we can’t take all three dogs at once–Terry and George can’t behave.  

Terry’s neurosis and fear of being left alone have lowered but not gone away completely these past few months. He is not a big fan of being tied either. His high pitched whimpering is grating on the nerves, but sometimes he needs to be tied if only for a few minutes so we can move between the animal area and the backyard without a brawl ensuing between the two would-be Alpha dogs. 

Since he is a shepherd dog, we thought maybe he should get some training in his breed’s profession to help him overcome all this neediness he has. The first trip out off-leash wasn’t a success. He certainly tried to round up the kids, but mama goat wasn’t having any of that and hit him with her horns. Terry panicked and ran off. He must have gotten lost because he didn’t turn up for three hours, traumatized and shaking.

Several weeks passed and we gave it another go. Terry decided wide circles were the best option for herding and the mama goats approved. So for several weeks, he’s been going out in the morning with the horses and goats and my husband. He likes to chase Red around and I think Red likes the game too. terry

He’s been behaved and returns to the house when everybody is ready to be put in. He then is as happy as can be the rest of the day, snoozing in the shade. 

But we can’t take Fred and George for a walk while Terry’s out minding the goats. He has a sixth sense and comes from nowhere to take down George and since George is leashed, Terry has the advantage.

For the most part, the morning romps have been going well until recently. The chicken feather guy’s female boxer dog is in heat AGAIN! If you’ll remember, the hormones that saturated the air led to Puppy’s demise. Well, apparently, she’s pretty potent and her heat cycle has attracted the biggest and the baddest canines around. Gangs of huge dogs have taken up residence in La Yacata in hopes of paying court. 

So a few days ago, Terry was out with the goats and one of these humongous interlopers was slinking along eyeing up the kids in the herd. Terry became defensive and attacked, which is exactly what he should have done. The interloper ran up the hill and Terry gave chase. The two ended up near the chicken feather guy’s compound. Terry whipped the other dog’s behind and came back to the herd.

Then the chicken feather guy came down following Terry saying that he has been biting his cows and horses. Several weeks ago he stopped my son when he was with Fred and George and said the same thing. Perhaps if he fixed his dog, there wouldn’t be packs of dogs around every few months. Perhaps if he didn’t let his animals out at night to eat other people’s crops because he doesn’t want to buy food for them, they wouldn’t get bit. Whatever! You can’t reason with stupidity. 

The hormones in the air have also been affecting Fred and George. Two days ago, my son was walking them and a strange dog arrived. George just went berserk–letme at ‘im, letme at ‘in. In the melee that ensued, he bit my son’s hand accidentally. When everybody was back in the Flores compound, George was extremely contrite. He moped around the rest of the day. Every time my son came out, he tried to make it up to him by wagging his tail, licking his face and climbing on his lap.

So, because of the high level of hormones in La Yacata, the dogs are in quarantine for the time being under stay at home orders. It doesn’t mean that one of the neighbors won’t get it into their heads to poison our dogs again, though. We can only hope that social distancing will prevail.

Leave a comment

Filed under Animal Husbandry

Puppy

Puppy was poisoned. If you’ve never seen an animal die from poisoning, you should know that it’s a horrible way to go. Here’s what happened.

You know we’ve been trying to retrain our dogs. Their freedom has been curtailed drastically. We’ve been working on obedience training intensively. We were tired of people deliberately provoking them, especially Puppy, by hitting them with sticks, kicking them from the motorcycle, and throwing stones at them. 

All of our dogs bark. That’s what dogs do. Puppy liked to chase two-wheeled vehicles down the road. He never caused an accident. He never bit anyone. He just barked. One time, the Puppers also had a free-for-all with the neighbor’s sheep. They chased them around the house and back again. No sheep were injured. The Puppers had fun, the sheep not so much. These chasing behaviors were we were in the process of trying to eliminate. But in the end, it didn’t matter.

Buddy was the first dog in La Yacata to be poisoned. It’s possible that since Buddy looked so much like Puppy the perpetrators poisoned him by mistake. It’s also possible that since Buddy was often out, having been abandoned, and our dogs were corralled most of the day and all night, Buddy just found the pile of poisoned bones first. Buddy was the most mild-mannered dog ever. He just wanted affection. When you talked to him, he wagged his whole body in joy.

The second dog to be poisoned in La Yacata was Blackie. She was a sick and mistreated stray pit bull that found her way to La Yacata several months ago. She took a shine to the neighbors down below and set herself up at the corner as their self-appointed guardian. The neighbors fed her and gave her water. The 5-year-old granddaughter even set up a pillow for Blackie to sleep on. Blackie was looking healthy and certainly was happier. She growled at passers-by that ventured too close to “her” corner but never hurt anyone. 

And then Puppy was poisoned. Chicken bones were left next to our front door. We should have been more suspicious of Puppy’s crunching while we were out with the animals that afternoon. We weren’t and Puppy died later that evening, a most horrible death. We made sure no vomit or excrement was left where any of the other animals could get at it. 

We know who left the poison. The Borrega guy saw him. We also heard him discussing poison on the next road over one day. The acoustics in La Yacata are odd. We can hear people on the other road clear as day, but not so much when someone is beside the house. 

This guy had poisoned my father-in-law’s dog, the mother of our Puppers, several months ago too. So this isn’t a one-time incident. We have two surviving dogs, chickens, goats and horses that could be affected by poison strewn about, especially at our doorstep. However, my husband didn’t want to confront him. He said it would make the situation worse.

I asked around and learned it was a crime, punishable by a fine or two years in jail, to poison someone’s animals on their own property. I played with the idea of reporting this to Ministerio Publico despite the poor experiences I’ve had in the past with the justice system in Mexico. The problem was we’d have to PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt that he did it. Although we had eye-witness testimony and our own evidence, the dead dog, the remaining chicken bones and the overheard conversation, that probably wouldn’t be enough. Plus, the poison was technically outside our property line. 

Instead, when we went to the market, I asked the man’s daughter, who runs the market, to tell her father to stop leaving poison in La Yacata. I was firm and courteous. She didn’t deny that her father had done it. I also mentioned that it was a crime to poison animals, that any children who accidentally picked up the bones or sticks or stones that had been dosed with poison could be injured, and that we had other animals that we didn’t want to be poisoned. She seemed angry but was polite as well. 

My intention wasn’t to threaten or cause her discomfort, but to let the guy know that we knew it was him. My husband wasn’t happy that I’d said anything. However, I believe my actions prompted him to have a chat with the guy when he ran into him later. Of course, the man denied all knowledge, as if he’d admit it. But he received the message, loud and clear. We know he did it and now he knows we know. 

Of course, with the way things are in the world today, we could have just made the situation worse. Although someone is at our house 24-hours a day, it would only take a minute for someone to drop poison by our door again in passing. This isn’t the first animal we’ve lost to poison. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

After this incident, when we took the Puppers for a walk, we found an entire chicken, still feathered, in a plastic bag by the side of the road next to a house that has no chickens. That house does have dogs that bark, however. 

About five years ago, all the dogs in La Yacata, including our own, were poisoned. That was followed by a rash of burglaries. We lost some goats, the neighbor had a sheep stolen. My brother-in-law’s house was broken into and tools went missing. So we’ve been on edge since Puppy’s death.

We buried Puppy in the backyard under the cherimoya tree. We miss Puppy when we come home. He isn’t there anymore to greet us wagging his tail so hard he looked like a helicopter ready for lift-off. 

My son tried to pick up all the bones scattered up and down our road. It’s a nearly impossible task but he felt like he had to do something preventative. He would be devastated if one of his Puppers was poisoned too. They are like his children.  He’s paranoid on the walks with the dogs, not letting them even sniff grasshoppers or shrubs, in case there is something poisoned there. 

But we go on, as best we can. What else is there to do?

****

8 Comments

Filed under Animal Husbandry