It was a communication day in Irapuato. I think I am developing the ability to communicate with animals. This morning when I came to work the shop dogs all met me as usual but today they were a bit subdued and each one of them tried to put my fingers in their mouth and gently chew on them. Then they would step back and look at me quizzically. I couldn't figure out what they were trying to say so I put on my thinking cap and went through all the "Lassie" episodes in my mind where Timmy says, "What is it Lassie? Tell me girl!" and then Lassie says "Woof! Woof!" and Timmy finally gets the picture. It worked like a charm and I immediately went over to the night watchman who is in charge of feeding the dogs and I said "We're out of dog food aren't we?" He said "That's right but how did you know?". I said, "The dogs told me" and he gave me a very strange look. I then made arrangements for one of our people to buy some dog food after first giving the watchman 16 pesos buy two kilos of corn tortillas to hold them over until the dog food arrived. I then told the dogs that I was sorry for the mix-up and I that would try to see that it doesn't happen again. I asked them why they just don't let me know when they think the food is running low but the Mexican dogs are just like the people. They never seem to think about the future and every little thing seems to end up being a last minute crisis.
Just a few hours later the dogs had eaten and were feeling fine and I would swear that they were smiling at me. I'm glad they are happy. I may need their help sooner than I thought. Have you read anything about a mysterious animal they call a "chupacabra"? There have been reports recently from various places in Central America about some kind of animal that runs around killing chickens and sheep and other farm animals. They call it a "chupacabra" which literally means "goatsucker". Up until now most scientists and people in authority have discounted these reports as the Latino version of "Bigfoot" or the "Abominable Snowman". There has been quite a
buzz about some sightings in the news lately. By the way, this is not a joke...I repeat THIS IS NOT A JOKE! Supposedly a guy in Managua, Nicaragua, who is a sheepherder by trade, killed one of these things with a shotgun. There was a picture of the remains in the local papers of Nicaragua. The thing is about the size of a big dog. It has a head that looks like a calf with long canine teeth but it's legs are very slender. A zoologist that examined the remains said that the skin that was still attached to the skeleton was very smooth and soft like that of a bat and it has some kind of crest that runs along the backbone. The eye cavities are much too big to be those of
a dog. Nobody seems to know if it is a newly discovered species or a scientific experiment gone bad, or something from outer space or maybe even the Devil himself. How would you like to have something like that wander into your backyard to play with the kids. Not only that but I can't even begin to imagine how one would talk to it. I don't thing that "Here kitty, kitty, kitty" will be sufficient.
I have noticed something else that is interesting of late. There is a direct line of communication between the city dogs and the country dogs here. Every morning when I go out to my car the tires are all wet from some city dog peeing on them. When I get to work like I did this morning the dogs all come running out to greet me and get petted (or complain about the food) but after that they go around my car sniffing the tires and more often than not the dominant male lifts his leg and pees a bit on each one of them. This will be repeated by the city dogs tomorrow morning and it goes back and forth like that all week long. If you ask me I think they are planning
something. Maybe there is a "pee and sniff" language among dogs that is yet to be deciphered. I think I'll leave that for someone else to tackle though. Sometimes I have enough trouble with Spanish just as it is.
The Mexican dogs can be basically classified in three categories. The first category contains the "lap" dogs which I call the "yap" dogs because they are spoiled and are always yapping at something. The second category contains your all around general purpose good natured dog that goes about their daily business in a fairly congenial manner and is a friend to all people of good will. The third category contains the dogs that run wild in the country and they usually end up spilling their guts out on the highway. When I lived in the small community of García, Nuevo León I attended mass at a parrish church by the name of "San Juan Bautista". The church had a middle aisle and two side aisles and the main door at the rearthat was in direct line with the main aisle was generally left open because the weather was mostly always warm and pleasant. About midway up the aisle toward the altar there were side doors on either side of the church and these were left open also to catch whatever little breeze was available to cross ventilate the church. It was all very nice and you could hear the birds singing and see and smell the multitude of flowers that surrounded the church. Most of the families walked to church and their dogs came with them. Often the dogs would enter the church and each would curl up under the pew of its respective family. There was one old dog who always came to church by himself and he would lay in the center aisle on the stone floor where the breeze blew across the church from the side doors. This dog was very smart. At the offertory and communion he always got up and moved over so the people could pass by on their way to the altar and then he would return to his spot and lay down again.
One day a zealous new deacon tried to quietly shoo the dog out of the church when the mass got started. The priest, Padre Humberto, turned around and in a loud vice said, "NO, NO, NO! You leave that dog alone. That dog has been coming to mass for years and has never missed a Sunday. That is a lot more than I can say for some of the other parishioners". So, the dog stayed and since he was an old dog at the time and this was several years ago he has probably passed away by now. However, if there is a Doggie Heaven (and I believe there is) he will surely be there...right in the middle aisle.
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