Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Occasional Pets of Bluefields

Four dogs currently serve as guardians and general mud-footed deviants of the bE house: Cooky, Flipper, Suzie, and the unnamed black one. The computer printers have identical names and are labeled, which is the only reason we have any guesses at the spelling. We expect all of the dogs to be named and properly accounted for once a fourth printer arrives.

Both Flipper and Suzie sleep in blue buckets or on tables just outside the main house. They are energetic protectors of the house (even from people friendly to bE), and for this are fed comparatively well with chicken scraps and rice. No one knows where the black one sleeps. Cooky, already quite old and bearing a striking resemblance to Snoop Dogg (apologies for lack of a picture), was recently hit by a car and removed next door to be cared for. When we see her, all she does is shake and stick her tongue out with her eyes closed. Despite diligent efforts at fence patching, Suzie follows the bE crew down the street to work each morning. Her sense of adventure is greater than her obvious fears of traffic and neighborhood dogs.

Pets aren’t really the same here, despite the fact that everyone seems to have two or more dogs and cats and parrots (and monkeys and songbirds) holding down their porch. Most animals we see outside the bE house are malnourished, flea-bitten, and bruised or beaten or hairless in spots. They are not fawned over, or fed chicken scraps. They are anything but adorable. Population control is dependent upon natural cycles of life and death.

Walking to work on Friday, we passed a truck with its bed full of animal carcasses and a long red puddle trailing down the street. A man in rubber boots stood over them with a hose, pushing liquids and runoff onto the street. We assured each other they were cows.

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