Thanks for choosing me baby girl…
I haven’t been around animals much my adult life, let alone owned a pet to call my own. Travel and a life without ties trumped being a pet owner over the years. As a child, I was always around animals and my happiest days were spent in the barn, running barefoot in the mud chasing animals, and talking to any four-legged creature that would listen to my chatter.
I know I missed being around animals, yet I never realized just how much until I recently changed up my life. House/pet sitting provides me with the lifestyle in which I benefit from free pet therapy. I didn’t even know how much I needed this in my life until now, fully immersed in the process.
So, let me tell you about Rosie. But before I do, I must first explain a little bit about Mexico. I’m constantly learning about cultures, traditions, people and lifestyles as I slow travel and try to consciously make an effort to understand my environment. Although I am far from an expert on any topic, I just like to watch, observe, and learn from my surroundings. For example, although I knew about street dogs and saw them throughout my previous travels , I never stayed long enough to really get to know the animals. After living in San Cristobal de las Casas for a while now, I have gotten to know and understand these dogs. I’ve observed they all have their ‘own territory’ so to speak. Yosh and I go for our morning walk and we typically take the same route each day. Not only do we see the same people (also known as Yosh’s Fan Club) we also see the same dogs. They have their own packs – some packs are friendly, some territorial, and others timid and shy. We’ve also learned which street dogs like to play, which ones like to sleep, and which ones growl, as a warning clearly saying ‘stay clear’.
So, back to Rosie. I like to say she chose me, or better yet, we chose each other. Out of all the hundreds of street dogs to fall in love with, I thank the animal gods daily for helping us cross paths on my very first day in this town. Before my two and a half month assignment started, my friend and I decided to travel around for a couple of weeks. We joined a walking tour (which is fantastic btw – highly recommended if you visit San Cris!) Meeting at La Paz Square at 10 am, we joined a diverse group of people and started our tour. On that particular morning, two dogs joined the tour, one being a beautiful dog with reddish spots and soulful eyes. We gravitated towards each other and I was definitely paying more attention to said dog than our tour guide. About half way through the tour, we entered the market – loud, full of people, and just a chaotic and busy place. Due to the crowds or chaos, we lost track of each other and she went on her way and I began to listen to the tour guide. Two days later, we went to a nearby cafe and there she was. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this particular cafe happened to be her territory and favorite hang out.
My friend flew home, I moved into my new house, and Yosh and I started our daily walks and hill climbs. Many of the days we would pass by Rosie at her favorite cafe, Yosh patiently waiting to play with her, without success. If she wasn’t at the cafe, she’d often be sunning herself at the base of the wooden cross, or curled up in a tight ball on chilly mornings. Step by step, we started to build trust with each other and within a few weeks, she would open her eyes and thump her tail to say hello. To me, this was success.
One day I posted on social media introducing Rosie to my people. When a friend responded, “I’ll adopt her!!” I knew then and there, I’d make this happen. Definitely a steep learning curve, as I have never facilitated a pet adoption, let alone a pet adoption in a foreign country. So, research started and I felt like I’ve been ‘herding cats’ pretty much daily. Vet visits, dog baths, coordinating schedules, health certificates, and the list goes on. I’ve never been a mom before, but I definitely felt like I was going from one child to two children in a matter of days. (…to all the parents out there, I am sure it’s totally different and I respect you 100%!)
I’ve officially been fostering Rosie for three weeks now. It is absolutely amazing to watch her transformation. On the streets she was timid, lethargic, scared of Yosh – this 80-pound fur ball begging to play!! Now she is full of energy, trusting, loving, and playful. Yosh and Rosie play all day – games of tug, hide-and-seek, tag, and WWF for dogs. She eats and eats and eats. She imitates Yosh’s behaviors and mannerisms perfectly. She thinks my slippers and shoes are more options for toys and sneaks them outside on the daily. Speaking of toys, she enjoys taking every toy out of the basket, one by one to the garden…and on certain days even the basket itself. I’m pretty sure I pick up toys at least ten times throughout the day. Every morning she wakes me with snuggles and a million kisses and I swear she says, “Ohhhhh, you’re still here! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!”
My heart is full and I am so very thankful that she is going to her forever home. I try not to think about saying goodbye and I haven’t yet told Yosh of her departure. I am not sure which one of us will be more sad…yet I must remember just how lucky she is. Or better yet, how lucky I have been to find her. Every night before we go to sleep and every morning when we awake, I whisper, “Thanks for choosing me baby girl…” and I know in my heart of hearts, she understands me as she thanks me with her soulful amber eyes and a few more hundred doggie kisses.
Fast forward to the first week in January, after hours and hours of preparation, the day finally arrived and it was the day that Rosie and I would fly to Mexico City, meeting her forever mama for the first time. We said goodbye to Yosh, his sad eyes told me he knew something different was happening. He saw a backpack and dog crate and I’m certain he could feel a change in my demeanor. Taxi arrived and I coaxed Rosie into the car. It never occurred to me that riding in a car would be a terrifying experience for her. She attached herself to me and if a dog can hug a human, she was doing exactly that the entire 1.5 hour ride to Tuxtla Airport. At check-in she made friends with the other passengers and willingly went into her crate. Saying goodbye, I said a small prayer and hoped she would be alright on the flight. Arriving in Mexico City, she was the first item on the carousel. The crate was closed with tape and zip ties and I thankfully found a kiosk with a pair of scissors. As I opened the crate door, Rosie showered me with hugs and kisses and I am pretty sure I shed a few tears of relief. Safe and sound, we make our way to meet her new mama. She bonded quickly and easily with her, my heart bursting with joy.
Rosie is smart and a bit stubborn too, two qualities I love about her. Over the past week, she has had so many new experiences. Riding in a car, her first airplane ride, going on an escalator (I don’t even like escalators, nor did she!), and a glass elevator was not much fun either. But she handled it all with grace and I was like a proud mama, watching her overcome each obstacle that was thrown at her.
The next day she was leaving for Seattle. It was a bit of a disaster getting her there due to unforeseen circumstances, yet even with these trials and tribulations, she is now living her best life. As I said goodbye to her at the airport, I was a hot mess, but I kept telling myself what an amazing life she will have. She’s making herself at home with her new family, it took her just one night to make herself comfortable in the bed, going for long walks in the Seattle rain, snuggling in doggie beds, meeting her new dog brother who is slowly warming up to her, and giving a million slobbery dog kisses to any willing human.
Yosh and I miss her terribly and my big fluffy fur ball is back to his “Don’t bother me in the morning” personality, refusing to get out of bed before 8 or 9 in the morning. Rosie was the only one that could get that big guy out of bed! We avoid Rosie’s favorite cafe, as Yosh will stop and look for her, refusing to leave for many minutes. As I coax him away and walk slowly home, I am sure he was wondering where his best friend is and it broke my heart into a million pieces. So now, we detour a couple of blocks and avoid the cafe at all costs.
This has definitely been an adventure and quite honestly not an easy one. Yet, 100% I’d do it again and not change one single thing. So once again, thank you for choosing me baby girl! I’ll see you soon. xoxo
Rosie and her new brother