"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's a Dog's Life

Ivory on the beach at Huatulco

Ivory had a tough year. She was ten, nearly eleven, when we left for Mexico last summer, but still a very active, healthy dog. As a farm dog and sometime chivera (goatherding dog), she was used to being outside all day, every day, free to roam, dig, and hunt rabbits. Life in Mexico was a culture shock for her as much is it was for any of us; probably more so. 

At Mama's house, Ivory learned to live like a Mexican dog, running around on the roof and barking at children passing in the street below. When we took her out for walks, she tried to play with the street dogs, but they weren't interested. Once in a while she ran into a puppy who responded to her play-bow, but for the most part, the dogs in the local packs were too cool to frisk or wrestle. Mama's other dog, Dielta, is a guard dog, not a pet. She is a Rottweiler, and she's crazy and dangerous. We all stayed away from Dielta, Ivory included. I think Ivory was lonely and bored a lot. 

There were a few scary incidents, as well. On the way down, we almost lost her outside of the world's biggest motel six passing San Bernadino. When we stayed at my dad's house, his dog bit her in the face. And worst of all, shortly after we arrived in Oaxaca she got hit by a car. Thank God nothing was broken, but she was hit badly enough that she couldn't get up, and it took her about six weeks to fully recover. The Mexican penchant for fireworks nearly drove her crazy; we lived right next door to a church of Guadalupe, and during the week leading up to December 12th, Ivory had to be sedated. 

Of course, it wasn't all hell for a dog. We took her with us everywhere we went. We were lucky enough to do a lot of traveling, and Ivory became an extremely well-travelled dog. Like most dogs, she loves riding in the car. It didn't seem to bother her even when we drove for days at a time and the rest of us were stir crazy. 

She attended many parties, and ate many goat bones. As our dog, she was a privileged  guest and immune to the kicks and broom-whacks delivered to other mutts that tried to edge under the tables for scraps. 

Ivory sleeping it off after a barbecue

 She visited ruins with us, and loved running up and down pyramids. She was certainly the fastest of any of us. Of course, dogs are not allowed at the major ruins such as Monte Alban , but there are hundreds of archeological sites in Oaxaca that haven't yet been officially excavated, or that are deserted most of the time. There is a site about a mile from Mama's house which was a favorite place to go exploring. The mounds are all overgrown and secret-seeming. As Ivory would tear through the bushes looking for mice and snakes, the kids and I would crawl around looking for pottery shards.

The trip home took seven days. We drove twelve hours a day, climbing the mountains of Oaxaca and Puebla, then rolling straight on through a thousand miles of hot flat nothing to the border. The girls and Ivory did just fine, playing and laughing, for a long time. 

 But sooner or later, there's just nothing left to do but sleep.


Olive said...

I love your dog Aimee,the picture of her traveling incognito is gorgeous.