Like all weekends, I am going to my village to relax a little from the madness of the city. I love watching my dogs enjoy playing freely in the fields. But this weekend was going to be different…
Just before arriving at my hometown I find a situation that is almost from Dante’s inferno, that makes my heart beat more strongly every time. My boyfriend and me stop the car, get out and find this body of a lifeless dog in the middle of the road. What hurts us even more is to see that two other dogs were guarding the body of their friend. When we got closer they looked at us, not knowing what we would do, so we gave them a little food to show that we wanted to help. They accepted because they were already so hungry. And sadly they showed us the lifeless body of their brother, and we just could not stop crying.
We could not leave them there, someone without a conscience has left them there close to the road and they stayed around there hoping that person would return. We knew that they would never come back but animals are trusting beings, they trust humans, always teaching us lessons of fidelity and trust.
After some time we managed to get them into the car, it was quite hard. They were very edgy, watching their surroundings, like they were expecting something. We tried to show them we were not going to hurt them, that we only wanted to take them out of there so they would not end up with the same fate their brother did. Once in the car they were still edgy, we thought it was because of leaving their dead brother there but then we found there was another dog walking around the perimeter. We could not believe it! Four dogs left beside the highway and four of them brothers. We tried to find and call the fourth one but he hurried away. Because it was already getting dark, we decided to take Niki and Toby (that’s what we called them) and return the next day while it was light to see if we could help the fourth brother.
With full energy we returned to the same place the next day and we were determined to catch the fourth one, but he made it very difficult for us, he was scared and there was no way we could catch him. We tried in different ways but out of experience we already knew that if he doesn’t get to know you, there is no way he would let himself get caught.
We took Niki and Toby to Scooby. On their way there, we saw them embracing, like they were consoling eachother and like they knew they were going to be safe. We know that leaving them there would mean they would find a family (and they did, they have already been adopted and are very happy, and so are we). But we could not let it rest, there was still one we needed to catch, the one brother that was left behind, exposed to all the risks, one of them being run over like his brother.
So we really dedicated ourselves to him, we tried everything, even cheating him using food, catch him with a leash, trying to ambush him, using a catching cage..etc. We tried many times and many ways but the only thing we managed was getting very tired, with mosquito bites and with a hurt ego because he won everytime.
Every day off we went to give him some food, and hoping he would not cross the highway so he would have the same fate as his brother. We talked about him with a friend, Rosita, an animal lover from my village who helped us in getting him food and water every day, just to gain his trust. And so it happened, he was waiting for her every day at the same place, almost for a whole year. A whole year in which we discovered that the fourth brother was a female, so we called her CUKY, a whole year of trying to gain her trust, but she did not really trust humans, and in a way I understand her, I wouldn’t either. A year where our ideas of catching her ended, a year where we died a thousand deaths just thinking of her crossing that highway. A year where I feared for her, what could happen with hunters, road accidents and who knows what other accidents. It was a very tough year, we just could not figure out how to catch her, we were starting each weekend full of hope and with tons of ideas, only to return completely exhausted, mentally and physically. She was winning. She was too smart to be fooled, and the terrain was not to suited either, it was all fields where she could run free, with highly grown cornfields where she could hide.
Days passed and something happened that we already feared, she was in heat and all the dogs of the village were after her, which was fine with us partly because she was more vulnerable with pups, but the problem would only increase if the number of dogs to recover was going to be too many. But she would come closer to the village and leave all the dangerous highway crossings behind. And it would be better for us too because she would be more susceptible to gentle gestures and maybe we would be able to get her food at home because we have a large patio. One day I hid behind a pallet with a cord attached to the door and a lot of rich food ready. With the use of my grandparents (who also gave her food for days, and she even went for a walk with my granddad once), I waited for several hours for her to arrive and walk in. Once she entered the patio, I closed the door… I HAD CUKY!! It did not last long because she found a small hole in the fence and escaped… it was a bad day for both of us and left us both exhausted.
Her pregnancy came to an end and Cuky had a litter of precious pups. The person leaving food for her followed here and so we found out where she had them. There were 5 but two of them were stillborn. She had them in an old pigeon shed where she made a hole and nurses her babies.
Finally we had her in a place with a confined space and we came up with a new plan to catch her in the end, to rescue her and make sure she was safe.
We loaded the car with things we might need for her capture (food, cartons, cages etc.) and mobilized a lot of people, among which my parents. We managed to block all the doors of the old pigeon shed, so she could not escape through them. She was terrified without leaving her pups, protecting them and taking care of them, the most important thing for her. With all the exits blocked we tried to get her to leave the hole she made for her and her babies. We managed to take out her babies to entice her to leave the place, but she was just too scared and we could not get her to come out. It wasn’t easy but with a lot of patience, sweat and some headbanging we could get the leash on her and pull her out of there. We immediately covered her with a blanket and took her in our arms to the car, put her in the backseat with the pups and closed the door.
We were filled with joy and happiness, so many tries and dedication and it paid off. We cried, we laughed, we hugged in this very special moment, a moment we would never forget, the whole family was safe and sound. For me one of the best experiences in my life, making sure an abandoned animal was rescued after so much time and being able to offer it a better life.
Now she and her babies are looking for a home, I just hope it will be soon and that there will be a happy ending to this story.
I want to thank all the people who made it possible that these animals came out safe and sound, of course Rosita who is fighting for animal rights every day, there just is no way to express our gratitude for what she has done for this dogs, day after day, rain or shine, she was there. Putting in her two cents, even when she was sick she was there so this animal could feed and gain her trust. I also want to thank my parents and grandparents for their effort and understanding, thanks to them I can now rest knowing that these animals will finally be happy.
LAURA Y RAÚL