My Day with Flaca la Perra Mexicana
In these crazy times of Covid and Politics, I thought I'd share a little story that unfolded last night and throughout today. As I look back at my text string with my kids and husband today to tell them about Flaca, she took on a storybook quality. She had adventures, made friends and even went for a swim! Here's the tale of my new friend Flaca....
First let me say, her name may not be Flaca, but that's what I've begun calling her because she is a scrawny, skinny doggo (flaca=skinny). She's a medium-sized young white dog, with some strange colorings along her head and tail like maybe she was painted with orange stripes....or her street dog mama had unique markings.
|Meet Flaca, La Perra Mexicana|
I met Flaca after I finished teaching a couple of English classes in Arroyo Seco last night. This is an area across the highway from La Cruz with homes with dirt floors and sparse electricity and water. As I was walking out of class, I saw her and of course said, "Hola perro" because that's what one does when they see a sweet doggo in the street.
There are dozens and dozens of friendly street dogs in the La Cruz area and I didn't think much of it while she followed me a short way. Generally street dogs have a 'region' and they don't leave their turf unless they are with their owners. Well, Flaca kept following me across 6 lanes of traffic and into town. We chatted as we walked towards the marina. A few blocks later, I figured if I bought her some food and fed her on a corner, that she might stay there and not go any further. Yeah...I was wrong. I stopped at a corner store, bought a small bag of dog food (just a few ounces), sat on the curb and dumped it out for her. She sniffed it and put her head in my lap.
|$22 peso bag of doggo food (around $1 US)|
|She didn't want to eat....just snuggle.|
She didn't eat anything and continued to follow me the 4 blocks to the marina. When we got to the marina gate, I told her to go home and left her outside the gate. I got on the boat to drop my stuff off and went out on the dock to find Pat. I found him with some friends....and Flaca. She had found a way around the gate and down the dock. She was quite pleased with herself.
|Flaca - wondering where we were going next!|
Awhile later, we decided to get some street tacos with John on Baja Fog, and encourage her to go back to her neighborhood. She sat with us while we ate tacos, not expecting anything, just curled up by our chairs. As we were paying the bill, another gringo walked by and said something nice to Flaca who then jumped up and followed her for half a block. As they were heading away, we guiltily made a break for it back to our boats.
Fast forward to this morning.....I'm listening to the morning radio net where boaters get and give advice, hear the weather and just check in with each other. A friend of ours, Rob (on the very cool Sea Shepherd boat moored here), came on and asked if anyone knew about a white friendly dog, because she had followed him back from the market on his way home the night before. Being a lover of all animals, Rob of course brought her on board and let her sleep in his spacious air conditioned boat. I answered the call and told him I knew what neighborhood she was from and that I could come get her and return her. Roger that - it's a plan. After the net, I sent a message to some of my students with photos of Flaca. They said she was mostly a street dog up there, but did have an owner. One student did say, however, that she was probably better off in the streets. Sounds like she didn't have much love at home.
|This is the Brigitte Bardot, where Flaca had her slumber party.|
I was kind of fan-girling as we headed over to the Sea Shepherd vessel, the Brigitte Bardot, to get Flaca. It's a beast of a vessel that looks super intimidating (that's kind of its purpose). We gracelessly crawled aboard (no easy way to do it) and got a mini-tour of the ship while Flaca followed us around. She had made herself at home and seemed to enjoy her evening out with Rob. But it was time to go. We carried her off the boat (again, no easy way to get off it) and she happily followed Pat and I as if she were ours.
|To get on and off, we had to climb on the step ladder by the 'H' of Shepherd and walk over the 'wings'|
I left Pat on the boat and headed back to Arroyo Seco. Flaca trotted along, sniffing dogs and checking out the chickens. She never chased them, just took an interest.
As I walked through Arroyo Seco, I just asked everyone I saw if they knew the dog's owner...they just smiled and said they didn't know her. Then, from around a corner, one of my 11 year old students came running. "I heard you were here!" he shouted. I'm sure somebody said, "There's a crazy gringa lady asking us if we know the street dog's owner" and Carlos knew it was me. So I asked Carlos to keep Flaca there and distracted for awhile as I walked back to the marina. He was happy to help and started a game of 'block the dog from going down the road'. I glanced back to see that he had gotten another couple of barefoot boys to help him.
|One of the homes, under an overpass, in Flaca's neighborhood.|
So away I go, figuring I had done my duty. About 15 minutes later, I'm near the marina at a small market talking to some other cruisers when I look down and see Flaca happily sitting next to me. Clearly Carlos had lost the game.
She followed me onto the marina property and again, I left her outside the gate. Our boat is about 5 double slips from the shore. When I was about to our boat, Marcos, a friend on another boat, shouted "A dog is swimming to the boat!!" Sure enough, she was swimming, keeping even with me, toward Noeta. I do a 180 and start heading back to land - she does the same, following me. As she gets to the rocks, she trots over to the ramp and shakes. With a wag she greets me like I haven't seen her in months.
As I headed back to the boat, she followed me (surprise!). I got on the boat, but closed the side door. By this time, Pat had been very clear with me that we do NOT need a boat dog. He's right of course, but seriously! Those eyes! Anyway, she paced back and forth in the heat of the day, whined a little, sat in the shade of the boat while I got some work done. Eventually, I looked out the window and saw her up on our neighbor, Brian's, sailboat. Flaca and Brian were lounging like they've been together forever.
Later in the day, I came outside with Gilligan (he gets supervised dock time if he's good). Flaca saw me and sprinted over to say hi. She wagged and whined and basically told me she wanted to be a boat dog. Then she spotted Gilligan sitting in our doorway. Gilligan gave Flaca his angry cat face. Flaca began backing up, and before I could stop her, had fallen off the finger, back into the water. From there she couldn't see land and was flailing about in her very best dog paddle (meanwhile Gilligan is still glaring at him from the boat). I jumped off the boat, grabbed Flaca by the scruff and hauled her out. She licked my face and proceeded to shake her coat dry...all over me.
|Shaking off after her 2nd swim.|
Gilligan continued to glare as Flaca tried to make friends and then gave up and walked to the end of the dock...far away from the fat boat cat. As our friend Marcos was leaving for the day, he offered to take her back up to town for us. So she left with her new friend Marcos.
Now it's evening. I just came in from a walk where an older couple I stopped to talk to said they had seen her out on the jetty, near Sea Shepherd. It was dark as I continued to walk. I saw a team of men from the crocodile sanctuary packing up their things and that they had a dog with them, but I couldn't tell if it was Flaca in the dark.. (We have 2 crocodiles in the marina that they are trying to rehome, so they come with nets to try to catch them) When they finished, they got in their truck and sped off.....with a white skinny dog called Flaca chasing after them out of the marina.
I don't believe that is the last I will see of Flaca, but I admire her perseverance. She made a bunch of friends (myself, Pat, John, Rob, Brian, Carlos, an elderly couple and some crocodile rescuers), had some good adventures and took my mind of politics and Covid today. Gracias Flaca!
|Flaca getting street tacos with us!|
Some of the text string with Pat and the kids: