A couple weeks ago I shared that a dog had moved into my yard. The poor thing was very skinny, so I started feeding her…and then found out later that she belongs to someone else. I had a few options: I could keep feeding the dog (and therefore pretty much guarantee that the dog would be at my house); I could stop feeding the dog (and have to somehow deal with those sad puppy eyes looking for food); or I could buy the dog.
After a lot of thought, and some great advice from friends and readers, I decided to buy the dog. The dog’s owners had offered to sell her to me a few weeks ago, and I figured this would be a fairly straight-forward deal. However, to be on the safe side since my Spanish isn’t perfect, I had a Guatemala friend come with me.
It was a good decision, because it ended up not being a straight-forward deal, and I would have had a difficult time understanding the conversation. Bottom line: I didn’t buy the dog. There was something just not right about the conversation. The owners jacked the price up significantly, and my friend told me in English not to buy the dog, since something seemed “off” about the sellers. He didn’t want me to have any problems in the future.
I decided to take his advice, since the last thing I need is to be in trouble in a foreign country. But that also means that I can’t feed the dog anymore (since then the owners could say that I stole the dog), and I knew that would be difficult for me. Both the owner and my friend said I would have to yell at the dog to keep it out of my yard, which, as anyone who knows me would tell you is virtually impossible for me. I would only yell at an animal if it was either about to run in front of a bus or was about to attack me or someone else.
Fortunately, I had been in San Francisco a couple weeks ago and had picked up some cat toys for Jaguar and some dog training devices in anticipation of starting to train the dog. One is one of those silent whistles, and another is an aerosol can called “Pet Corrector,” which is supposed to help with barking and jumping. When you push the button, it emits a burst of air that sounds kind of similar to a hairspray can.
It turns out the dog doesn’t like sound from the aerosol can and runs out of my yard when she hears it. It breaks my heart to have to do this, but I do need to honor the culture here and my own personal well being. The only positive thing is that the dog doesn’t associate the noise with me. When I leave my yard and walk to the library, the dog walks with me and looks for pets, which I happily give her.
So, at least for the moment, I do not have a dog. Of course, this could change. Jaguar showed up at my house in a similar way, looking for food and ended up getting a new home. Her previous owners originally didn’t want to sell her to me, but then changed their mind. We’ll see how this unfolds with the dog. For now, I continue to give the dog lots of pets when I see her outside of my yard and send her lots of love and good energy all the time.