By Al Strano
A Puppy’s Point of View
My name is Sugar. I’m a three-month-old, mixed-breed, brown sugar colored, female puppy. I was born in Mulegé, Baja California Sur, Mexico. I was deaf and blind at birth, but I could feel my mother caring for me by licking my body when I was still very tiny. She fed me delicious warm milk and tended to my every need. I eventually learned I was one of eleven surviving puppies, with whom I shared my mother’s attention.
One day, my mother wasn’t there anymore and we were left alone. My brothers and sisters and I cuddled together for warmth, but we got very hungry. After a long time, we were put into a box and taken to a place where people touched us and talked about us. The touching was nice, but I was still hungry. After a while, two of my siblings and I were removed from the box by a nice lady, who did not smell like my mother, but sounded kind. The three of us were taken to another place. Once there, we were fed warm milk. It did not taste as good as my mother’s, but we were so hungry we didn’t care. I was wrapped in a blanket and fell asleep. I awoke and still wanted my mother, but was fed some different tasting, warm milk. It was still not my mother’s milk. The lady gently massaged me, which felt good, but not as good as my mother’s licking. During the next week, my two brothers and I slept with the kind lady who fed us the new milk and cared for us during the night whenever we were hungry. During the day two new ladies cared for us. They had interesting smells, yet again were not my mother. Then my eyes opened and I could see my caregivers. They didn’t look alike, but were very kind to us. One day we were given a bowl of solid food soaked in milk; it was strange, but very good.
We were now able to play with each other. It was fun to wrestle with my siblings and I think I won most of the time. After awhile a man came to feed one of my brothers and gave him a shirt to sleep on. Sport thought it made him special and was soon taken away leaving just Chica and myself. That got us more attention but it was more fun when there were three of us. Then we were taken to another house and met most of my siblings including Sport, even some we had never seen before. That was really fun. But it was good to get back to our own house.
Our primary caregiver’s name is Janet and we have grown to love her very much. Patricio also lives with us. He doesn’t smell as good as Janet, but he does like to play with us. They take turns giving us walks which we really enjoy, finding new smells and things to taste. However, they make us wear leashes, so we can’t run away. When we are playing we get tangled around each other and have to be pulled apart. Sometimes on our walks, we meet Sport, who isn’t on a leash. He thinks that makes him special, because he can run wherever he wants. It’s not fair!
Chica and I love to dig. There is sand everywhere, so we can dig all day.Someone asked Janet if we would be fixed. She said, “Soon.” I didn’t know I was broken and I’m not sure I need to be fixed. But, being three months old, I don’t have much choice.
My Name Is Sport
I was born 3 months ago in Mulegé, B.C.S., Mexico. My coat is brindled but has a pattern of stripes, so the local Mexicans call me El Tigre, which is perfect because I am a brave, courageous dog. I was the strongest of a 14 pup litter, only 11 of us survived the first few days. Our mother, who fed us, nurtured us and kept us healthy, worked so hard she got ill and died, leaving 11 orphans. Many of the staff at the clinic where she passed away thought we would all die. But a group of caregivers from a place called Posada Concepción took six of us in, bottle fed us goats milk by hand and tended to our needs all day and at night. A man named Captain John decided he wanted to adopt one of our group. Of course, he picked the best one, me. He took over my bottle feeding and even gave me one of his shirts to sleep on. I got used to his smell and was very happy when he took me home to his house.
Captain John is captain of a great sailing ship and he promised to take me to sea with him. The captain takes me for walks every morning. He carries a leash, but only uses it when necessary. Sometimes we meet my old litter mates, Sugar and Chica. They’re on leashes, so I can run around and tussle with them when they try to chase me. I’m too fast for them and they get all tangled in their leashes and the legs of their caregiver. It’s great fun.
The captain fenced in his yard to keep me at home when he goes away. As soon as he leaves, I dig a hole and crawl under the fence. When he comes to find me I can hear him whistling and calling my name, but I may not be ready to go home, too many smells and things to investigate. Once I’m ready, I go home and crawl through the hole I dug. He is happy to find me at home. This is going to be a great life.
Captain John said he was going to take me to California. That sounds great. I was so excited that the next time I got into the car, I got sick. I really felt bad about making a mess in his nice clean car. Then it happened again. He told the Alaska nurse about it and asked for advice. She told him, “I don’t know. Mila is fine in a car she loves riding in my car.” That makes me sad. That little runt doesn’t get sick in a car and I do. Captain John said, “I’ll have to check Google for help.” I don’t know who google is, but I hope he or she can help. I want to go to California.
A Small Puppy’s Life
My life started three months ago in Mulegé, B.C.S., Mexico. I am a brindled colored, mix breed, female puppy. I was one of fourteen pups, eleven of us survived. Our mother worked very hard to feed us, clean us and keep us alive. Supplying enough milk for eleven was a big job. Licking us was a lot of work. All this made my mother very weak. I later heard she was taken to a place called a clinic. She never returned. I was the smallest one of the litter. There were several older dogs at the house where we all lived, and being the smallest, I got the least to eat. I was very hungry and weak. I could barely raise my head.
One day, all of us puppies were placed in a box and taken to the clinic. I hoped my mother would be there, I could really use her milk. But, my mother wasn’t, some people were. They touched and petted us, but didn’t feed us. Then six of my brothers and sisters were taken away. Leaving five of us in the box. We were returned to the house where we were born. Less dogs meant less competition for food, but being the smallest, I still got the least to eat. After many days, two ladies came to see us. They were very shocked to see our condition, prompting them to ask if they could take me and the next larger pup home with them. When we got to our new home, the first thing my new caregiver did was feed us some milk from a goat. It was warm and delicious. Not as good as my mother, but it made me feel much better. If I could have talked I would have said, “more please.” There was more and after awhile I was wrapped in a blanket fell asleep and dreamed of warm milk. When I awoke there was more milk and I began to feel stronger. A different lady came by and looked at me. “She’s alive! It’s a miracle! I thought she would be dead. You should call her Milagro.” Milagro is the Spanish word for miracle, so that’s how I got my name. My friends call me Mila.
Life was good. Warm milk, gentle rubbing and petting, it was almost as good as my mom. After two weeks it was decided that the other small dog was big enough to go back to our birthplace. His name was Snoop Dog because he poked his nose everywhere.
My caregiver is a nurse and she takes care of people as well as me. I go everywhere with her, riding in her pocket or her purse. When I got bigger, I traveled in a bucket. She even sneaked me into the movie. Now she lets me walk with her on a leash, it’s the park rules. When we are home, she plays with me. We have squeaky toys and things to chew on. I now can eat grown up food, but I’m still the smallest. However, yesterday I got to ride in a kayak. I bet my siblings haven’t done that. I have many human friends, they love me and I love them. My caregiver has decided to take me to live with her son in California for the summer. She will bring me back to Posada in the fall.
As the surviving members of our litter, we were delivered to different foster homes in other places. Budda, Poncho and I (Gabby) were selected by a couple of caregivers from Posada, who are long term dog lovers. They have had as many as 5 dogs at one time. We were fed, coddled and treated very well. When we arrived, Cosmo was the only dog still there. He was very helpful to us, once we started to get around. He showed us how to use this wonderful thing called a doggy door; we can come in and out of the house as we like. Our home is up on a hill overlooking the highway, we are safe and can play where we wish. Cosmo is a little old for us, so we play among ourselves most of the time. If one of us is alone, we’ll play with him, but we prefer to play among ourselves.
Cosmo gets to sleep in the bedroom with our caregivers. We sleep in separate doggy beds. They were the right size originally, but we have grown so much so fast, we are too large for them. Still, we sleep just fine. There is always plenty of food, that’s a good thing, because we eat a lot. I guess we are trying to make up for being so hungry before. Yet, Budda still eats more. Our caregiver has to buy a 50 pound bag of dog food every 10 days. They say that Budda is a sweetheart and Poncho is the alpha dog, but I’m the lap dog, which makes me and my caregivers happy. We all love to chew. We’ve chewed something called a turtle shell, a ficus tree and the door frame. I’ve heard mention that one or two of us might go somewhere else. I sure hope it isn’t me.
The Final Four (not a basketball story)
Being a puppy in Mulegé, B.C.S., Mexico is not an easy life. Our litter of 14 was quickly reduced to 11 when 3 of our siblings died. After the death of our mother, 6 more of our brothers and sisters were moved to new homes. Without our mother, food was scarce and bigger older dogs got most of what was available. For a while, the two smallest pups were taken away. They were so skinny and weak, we all thought they had died. Two weeks later, one of them was returned. He was fatter and stronger, smelled of fresh milk and had outgrown those of us who had been left behind. He was now named Snoop Dog because he was nosy.
Things were still difficult competing for food with the bigger dogs. Snoop dog was suffering most, because he had gotten used to lots of warm milk, stroking and petting. About the time we were beginning to get weaker, we were brought to the beach side community of Posada Concepción. We were split up, yet we rejoined some of our litter mates we hadn’t seen for a month. We were very happy to be fed and pampered with more milk and food soaked with milk and warm places to sleep. The pups from our litter, except for Mila, were bigger and fatter than we were. Posada will be a great place to live. But this, too, was changing.
A young woman from New York took us on a ride to something called Taco Tuesday. Many people were at this place named Buenaventura. And Jeni, who had brought us there, introduced us to many of them. There were lots of oooh’s and aaah’s, petting, tickling and belly rubbing. We were in heaven, we were offered food and something stinky called beer. We didn’t like that, but the meat and cheese were delicious. Eventually Snoop Dog and another sister called Bitsy were adopted. Snoop Dog will live in Alberta, Canada. Jeni kept me and named me Poseidon because I like running on the beach. Not bad being named after a Greek god. She said I was the most intelligent looking of the group and she was sure she could find a home for me. However, calling me a long name didn’t work so now they call me Sid. We will be moving to New York state soon. The fourth puppy in our group, Pedro, was adopted by some people on Coyote Beach. They had a big fire there last week and burned a wooden statue of a Coyote.
I have met a new friend, he is called Ike. He’s black and white and loves to chase a ball when it is thrown by his caregiver. Ike has lived in Posada for a long time and goes back to New York every year. Maybe he and I will be friends.
Read about the birth and adoption of these sweet dogs in Puppies of Posada, Part I