Eight construction workers are banging away on my casa with hammers and chisels. They are removing the twelve year-old palapa covering our carport, and will replace it with a low-maintenance concrete roof.
Sparky is unhappy with the commotion. Boo the Cat is hiding in the nearby bushes, and I can’t write a word. Bam. Bam. Chip. Chip. Chip. Bam. Bam. All day … it’s what I wanted, but it’s a brain-shaking process.
I decided to get out for thirty to forty minutes to shop for groceries. I popped Julie and Rob a quick note asking them if I could leave Sparky at their house while I was at Chedraui, the local grocery store. I didn’t want to leave him at the house just in case he got grumpy with the eight strangers, and I don’t like leaving him alone in the golf cart.
Rob messaged back, “Sure, drop him off anytime.”
I popped in their front door, undid Sparky’s harness and said I would be back as quick as I could. Sparky tried to follow me as I was leaving him, which was odd considering he loves Rob and Julie, and their little pooch Princesa Izzy.
Half an hour later I headed home with my golf cart piled with food for the dog, cat and me, beer for the workers and a bottle of vino for later. As the cart trundled homewards, I saw my friend Julie speeding towards me in her turquoise golf cart.
“Did you get him?” She yelled.
“Sparky escaped. Have you found him?”
“No! I didn’t know he was gone.”
“I came home and unlatched the gate. He barged past me, almost knocking me over. I dropped my bag of groceries.” Julie explained. “I’ll keep looking. Rob’s walking the beach and the street.” She said as she sped away.
I slammed to a stop in front of my casa and frantically tossed the groceries into the house. The workers looked at me with perplexed amusement. They had no idea why I was suddenly rushing around like a crazy woman. I ran outside to our little beach area and called Sparky’s name convinced that he would return home and not run off.
A voice from next door said, “A big man came looking for him, twice. He finally found him. He’s taken him back to his house.” She was a fellow Canadian on vacation and staying next door. I had introduced Sparky to her the day before. I gratefully thanked her and headed to Rob and Julie’s.
Rob was soaked with perspiration from racing up the street. He had tried to catch Sparky as he ran from side to side through the traffic.
As Sparky ran faster and faster Julie hollered “Sparky, ven aca!” It’s a command in Spanish that he normally responds to. He just flipped a quick look at her and kept going.
Rob and Sparky dodged through construction workers from three separate projects, as if they were running an obstacle course – then Sparky disappeared. On Rob’s second walk along the beach he found my panting pooch waiting on our back deck. I didn’t ask, but I somehow think Rob carried Sparky back to his house. Julie had his leash and harness, and he wouldn’t willingly leave now that he was home.
As I walked in their front door I grinned and said, “This is where I am supposed to say – You had one job. Just one job.”
Rob laughed, “In case anyone asks, ‘who was the crazy man chasing your dog through the traffic?’ you’ll know it was me.”
The biggest worry for dog owners in Mexico is drivers don’t always stop for an animal. A big dog that can cause damage to a vehicle has a better chance of a driver stopping or swerving. But for most locals a small to medium sized dog, a cat, or an iguana is only a speed bump, a tope, not something worry about. They are likely to be run over.
Sparky is only fifteen inches tall, and weighs around twenty-five pounds. He’s a tope, a speed bump. He was hit when he was younger, before he adopted us. When he is tired he still runs on three legs, lifting the back right leg off the ground.
But it still puzzles me that he was so determined to follow me. This is a dog who is normally calm and seldom barks. He loves to travel in boats, golf carts, cars, or airplanes. He is very sociable and loves to visit with people.
It might have been a combination of the construction upheaval and the appearance of my suitcase in the guest room. I was tidying up the storage room and left the suitcase sitting on the floor – at dog eye-level. Perhaps he decided I was dumping him. He had been abandoned before, when he was about a year and a half old. Maybe the noise, the commotion and the suitcases was too much for him to deal with all at once.
But the ironic part of the escape-recapture story is fifteen minutes later, at one in the afternoon, the crew let me know they were leaving for the day and wouldn’t be back until Monday morning. It’s Easter, Santa Semana, Holy Week when most workers get a rare and welcome three-day break.
We could have avoided the whole problem I had remembered the holiday. I could have done my grocery shopping a little later in the afternoon after the guys were gone. It’s always a good idea to keep local customs in mind.
Thanks to Rob and Julie for helping my panicky pooch.
Cheers Lynda and The Sparkinator