I’ve written before, as have many others, about the large numbers of street dogs in Ecuador. They wander in and out of restaurants and many have developed excellent begging skills, slinking up to your table as you eat, gently laying their head on your lap (if they are large enough) or sitting next to you, perhaps placing a paw on your foot while gazing longingly at each bit of food you are placing into your mouth.
Others are a bit more standoffish, maintaining a polite distance while never breaking their gaze from you and your food.
Here, in our enclave, we now have two permanent dog residents, in addition to those few who actually are members of resident families. One is Rhone, the property manager’s dog. He and Carmine are buddies which is truly a Mutt and Jeff visual. Rhone is reddish in color, about the size of a German Shepherd and covered with scars of numerous battles. Carmine is an unscarred, tiny Chihuahua and yet, they enjoy palling around a bit.
The other “street” dog on the property is a slightly built, black female, undernourished and with some long-standing neurological problem that destabilizes both hips as she tries to walk. We alternate between calling her Mamasita and Queenie; Mamasita because she has just had her second litter (thanks to Rhone) and Queenie because she is such a drama queen!
Last night, about 11:30, we heard noises at the front door. Mamasita was making her presence known. She was really hungry and she knew we were a soft touch. We quickly provided a good meal in her bowl by the door. She doesn’t come around regularly now that she has a hidden litter somewhere but when she does, she is starving! Mamasita also craves affection, often placing herself in front of our next step while we walk on the property, lying down as if to block our way. She hears our car coming in through the gate and rushes to greet us. She desperately wants to be petted, loved, nurtured. We oblige.
We do what we can, knowing that the problem is beyond our scope. Others are working with local officials to assist in various ways. What we have chosen to do is to feed and offer some love to one dog, aside from Carmine. That is what we can do.
I’m planning on talking to a local vet about getting Mamasita spayed and vaccinated. I recently applied flea and tick medicine to her. She’s a sweetie but we are maintaining our boundaries. It’s tough to know where to draw the line.