This is heaven. I get delicious food twice a day, my fur is washed and brushed regularly, fleas don’t bother me anymore. I have a comfy bed to relax in. Luckily, I was quickly accepted by my landlady’s old dog, Max. First he was skeptical after having had to live with the lady’s son in Oregon a couple of months while she was in Ecuador. Maybe he was afraid that I would take his place. Sometimes still he reacts weirdly and comes between us when my lady is scratching my neck. I hope in time he will calm down and understand that my lady has enough love for both of us. But right now I am the one who needs her most.
But I better start from the beginning. I was living in a small mountain town in northern Ecuador. My landlady was a kind, old woman who filled my metal bowl with dry food every morning and evening, and let me sleep at the foot of her bed. I spent my days in her eucalyptus garden, sometimes chasing lizards and sniffing plants. There was not much else to do. My lady was not well and could not take me for walks.
One day she fell in the kitchen and was taken away in a white car. She never came back and nobody filled my bowl. My stomach was growling and my mouth and throat were sticky . In the mornings I was licking dew from the grass. I even ate grass, but it did not satisfy my hunger. I stopped chasing lizards and was just lying under the eucalyptus tree watching it become dark and then light again.
After several periods of darkness and light, a big truck came one day, and two men carried all the furniture and other things from the house into the truck. I tried to attract their attention and hoped they would take me with them. Instead one of them kicked me. I managed to run through the open gate onto the street. When the men left with their truck, I tried to go back to the garden, but the gate was closed.
I started wandering the streets. I saw many dogs walking or lying around alone. They did not seem to have any landlady taking care of them. I noticed that some of them were eating food they found in waste bins around the marketplace. I was so hungry that I went to one of the bins where a big dog had just found something edible, but the dog started barking at me and I quickly turned around. Then I tried to make contact with many people so that they would give me food, but they just pushed me away.
After the market closed in the afternoon, I found some raw carrots and potatoes under a sales counter and ate them quickly, at the same time keeping an eye on the other dogs close by. This food did not feel good in my stomach, but I did not care. After this meal I started looking for some place where I could sleep. It took me a long time to find a bush in a small park that did not seem to belong to any other dog. There I spent a restless night, my guts aching and turning the food into some kind of watery soup which forced me to go and relieve myself several times during the night.
During the following days and weeks, I became a bit better at finding food. Whenever I saw a gringo – that’s what the strange-looking-and-speaking people were called – I went and lay down next to them. Often they gave me the rest of whatever they were eating, though most of the time it was just bread or a piece of a bun.
One day there was this new blonde lady reading on a bench in my park. She gave me the rest of her buns after she had eaten.The following day she was there again. I started following her whenever I saw her on the street. It was clear she liked me. When she stopped at a street corner, I touched her hip with my snout. She bent down to scratch my neck. One day I followed her to the building where she lived. I was hoping she would let me in and be my landlady. But she said a lot of words in some kind of Spanish. Her voice was warm and kind, but she pushed me away and closed the gate between us. I understood she would not be mine.
Then I started following another new blonde woman. She also had a kind voice, but she lived far away. She let me follow her home. Soon we became friends. She started giving me food. I was allowed to sleep in her cottage. She started calling me Tai. It is not my name, but how could she know.
One day she took me to a place where they put me to sleep. When I woke up my testicles had disappeared and, instead, I had itching pain where they had been. The following days my lady was extra kind and gave me delicious bones to chew. Life was good.
One day I heard my landlady and the man who lived next door talking in serious voices. I got a feeling they would be leaving. That scared me. Later my lady told me she would return to her own country because there was some illness threatening everybody. But she said she would take me with her. That made me happy. As long as I was with her, there would be nothing to worry about..
The following days my lady was busy. She talked a lot, holding something to her ear. She took me to the animal place again, but this time they stuck me with needles in my right fore- and-hind legs. It did hurt a bit, but I shut my mouth..
Soon after that we drove in a small car to an airport. I had never seen an airplane, much less been in the air. But my lady kept explaining to me what was happening. Hearing her calm voice made me feel safe. Then we climbed into a long, closed tunnel with a lot of people. My lady had gotten seats for us at the back of this tunnel. When the plane took off, I was nervous. I had only seen birds flying; now I was flying too. Through a small window I could see how the ground got further and further from us. The lady was stroking my head. I lowered my snout on her lap and fell asleep. It had been too much excitement for one day.
I woke up several times during the flight and got some snacks and water. My lady praised me with a soft voice and I understood I was behaving in the best possible way.
Finally the plane started getting slower and we landed.
“Now we are in Oregon, my lady said, and soon you will meet Max.”
I did not know what that meant, other than I could pee again. What a relief.
Soon enough, I found out what “Max” meant. Max was her other dog! He became totally wild when he saw my lady. But then he saw me next to her. He stiffened, stopped wagging his tail and gave a deep growl.
“Max, stop growling” my lady said. “This is our new friend, Tai. You two are going to get along just fine.”
After a long car ride we came to a cottage which I learnt was my new home. And of course Max’s. We each have our own beds and bowls and get food at the same time. Every day we take my lady for long walks but most of the time we just lie around and relax. A few times a day Max and I have our small fights, though they are more like playing.
My lady can be irritating at times. Every morning she speaks my language to a box on her table. First I thought she was speaking to me and tried to join her, but she doesn’t want me to be around when she is talking with the box. Anyhow, it is not a big deal. All in all she is the best lady I know.