And I will actually hit those. Honestly. Part of the problem is that I start about fifteen different entries and then my writing ADD kicks in and I'm off onto something else.
Anyway, Donna got sick and missed the trip, too. But no matter how sick she is, every single morning she gets up and drives down to the Lakefront to feed the feral dogs.
To read this blog you would think Donna only has the clinic - she doesn't. She runs two schools, a restaraunt that's a job training program for street kids, a bunch of other projects. When I say she is the busiest woman in Central America I am not screwing around. And despite my occasionally quoting her colorful language - she drops the f-bomb as much as I do at times - this is a woman who actually won some ridiculously prestigous award for citizen diplomacy, is described in the Lonely Planet guides as 'Mother Theresa with the potty mouth'. In short, the woman WORKS. But she never forgets the lake dogs.
I think it started with the Potato - see below - but now there is a whole crew of dogs and cats that wait for her every morning. She pulls up in her truck and five dogs and three cats coming flying out for breakfast.
All of the dogs are ferals. We managed to trap and fix the females and Donna can touch a few of them but all of them are dogs that are not candidates for the clinic.
There's no real point to this, just that it's a cool thing to see. And one of the cats had kittens in a shed. The kittens don't stray out of the shed but they are starting to eat solid food. They hiss, they bat, they run but they wait for breakfast, too.
Interlude: In Which I Have The Obligatory Attempted Mugging In A Central American Country & A Juvenile Delinquent Gets The Shit Scared Out Of Him So Badly He's Probably Considering The Priesthood:
Something you should know about Nicaragua: according to UN statistics it is the second safest country in all of the Americas after Canada. People are scared shitless of Nicaragua - they forget that the Contra thing was twenty years ago. But this is a safe place. I walk around this city all the time and feel safer than I would walking around most parts of Denver. Yup, I've had the odd drunk guy pester me and people I know have had thier bags snatched. There's even been some awful, awful crimes here - a friend hit in the head with a rock during a botched robbery by a gang, a murder last years, some other friends mugged with a machete. That said, it happens less here than it does in the States.
Last night my friend Linda and I are walking down Calle Martirio on our way home. It was pretty late - we had gone to a work dinner and then out to a club. I walk down Martirio all the time. No hay problemas. Tonight, however, we are on a dark block. In a weird twist of it-never-happens-in-Nica, there is no one sitting out on their sidewalk. It's dark, it's quiet. Out of nowhere this twelve year old looking kid just appears next to us. He asks for a peso - slang for a cord.
I'm a bitch about this. I don't give out money to street kids or beggars. There's about a billion reasons I have for this, but I don't. No, I say. No, adios, vas. No, goodbye, go. He asks again, still following us. Linda and I move across the street and the kid follows a bit behind us. This kid, I tell Linda, is starting to freak me out.
Right after I said this all hell breaks loose. The kid grabs Linda's ass. I don't see this, I just see him rush up, grab and then back off. And then Linda turns around and makes the most horrific sound I have ever heard a person make. She doesn't run, she doesn't squeal, she confronts him and she makes the most terrifying noise I have ever heard a person make. The kid takes off down the street.
I have no idea what happened - it all happened so quickly. I see one pissed Swiss woman screaming bloody murder. I see the kid running down the street like his ass is on fire. So, in a move that makes absolutely no sense what so ever, I go after him. Don't ask me what I was thinking - I guess I just thought he had gotten something from her. Don't ask me what I was going to do if I caught him - if I have one religion it's pacifism. *
Either way none of this is what the little bastard expected. Whether he was trying to grab ass or get money, we don't know. But this is not how Scared White People behave. They run. They hand over everything. Instead I am hauling ass down the street in a mini dress after him and Linda is screaming 'Vamos a mortir ti!' - We're going to kill you. In Spanish. And then I think she might have yelled it in German and possibly in English as well for good measure.
About half a block down I realize I'm being an ass and I stop. The kid is running like he will never run again in his life, around the corner and down Calle Arsenal.
Linda and I walk the rest of the block down the street in hysterics, laughing so hard we almost wet ourselves, going over the incident again and again - Linda's hellish scream, we're going to kill you, me going after him. When we get home John is up watching TV and we tell him the whole story breathlessly, interrupting each other and laughing our asses off.
We be some tough bitches.
Before & After:
I know I've done this before but going with Donna to feed the Potato and the other Lakefront animals the other day made me think it might be time for a bit of a recap of how some of these guys started and what they wound up looking like by the time we were done.The first photo I ever put up that actually made people email me telling me I was making them sick to their stomachs was The Potato - the original lakefront feral dog that we tried, unsuccesfully, to keep at the clinic. If you think looking at the picture made you sick, keep in mind I had to bathe this dog. But this was the Potato as he was originally found:
And the body shot:
I take no credit for this. After we realized we could not contain him and he needed to be returned to the Lakefront, Donna went down every single morning and fed and medicated him. This was the beginning, I think, of the Lakefront Feeding Crew. But Donna did this, single handledly, with probably $5 worth of ivermectin tablets, buckets of kibble, some antibiotics and a dedication to being there to take care of him on his terms every single morning. But this is the The Potato now:
And he looks nothing like a potato at all. In fact he looks like a golden retriever. He will always be feral, he will live his entire life by the Lakefront where he is happy. But he is cared for. And he is better. And he actually looks like a dog:
And of course Minnow, who arrived bald, terrified and looking a bit rat-like. Much healthier than The Potato but still bald:
Minnow was returned to his owner on Corn Islands last week. I wish I had a picture of him right before he left - he was totally hairy and looked just like any other pain in the ass adolescent puppy. But apparently he made a big splash on the Island and no one could believe the 'purple dog' was the same one we returned. But this is the Minnow a month before he left, looking like any other dog. Some daily ivermectin shots, some food:
And of course everyone's favorite standby, the dog originally known as One Eye. Porsha as she was found at the bus station to Masaya. Grotesque, pathetic, sad, practically bald, with an infected empty eye socket and barely alive:
And this is the Porsha, everyone's favorite dog, as she looked last week. There will be no more updates on Porsha for at least a month. Why? Because she left for her new home in Colorado yesterday. Godspeed, Porsha. If any creature in the universe deserved the turn of fate her fat, happy, one eyed ass recieved, it was Porsha. I can't wait to see her in Colorado:
* This is true. I made a vow a long time ago that I will not, under any circumstances, use violence against another human being. Even in self defense. Will I say horrible things? Yes. The ability to say horrible thing is a skill I have. But I will not raise a hand to another person. Violence, someone once said, is the weapon of the weak. I also won't hit animals, though I have broken that rule in defense of myself and my own animals. That said I've also taken some bites I could have avoided if I was more willing to react. And I eat meat and have humanely euthanized thousands of animals - we're all walking paradoxes, I recognize mine. But it is the nature of humans to be violent - to hurt each other and other things. A lot of people are willing to commit themselves to try to overcome other, what I believe are more innocous, parts of human nature - sexuality, the need for acceptance, healthy conflict - for some religion or some ideal. But as a species and particularly as a society we love violence, embrace it.
**Photo credit: I totally boosted the last pic of Porsha off of Mauren, another volunteer. She takes amazing photos and it is the last pic of Porsha before she left. **