Earlier this past week, we took two of Lopez’s (our caretaker) dogs, Chiquita and Paloma to the veterinarian again. It was time for Chiquita’s second round of puppy immunizations. We took Paloma along with us as the fungus on her back appeared to be returning and we wanted to make sure she was going to be fine. Chiquita isn’t too sure about riding in the truck, but Paloma loves it! Paloma isn’t a very tall dog, but she somehow manages to get herself into the truck before the door is fully opened. Chiquita has to be coaxed a bit to even get close to the truck. I usually give up and pick her up and put her in the backseat. It makes sense, I guess, as every time we take her for a ride, she gets poked and prodded…poor thing.
The vet appointment went well. Chiquita received shots and was so happy to get her special treat for being good. The vet told us that the fungus on Paloma’s back had become bacterial and prescribed a medicated shampoo which we were to apply twice a day…really? We figured once a day should work out fine and so far so good!
After the vet, our next stop was to the auto place to have the transmission fluid changed in the truck. We were told it would take an hour and a half. We decided to have lunch at the restaurant across the street and the doggies came with us. That’s a nice thing about Costa Rica…pets are allowed in most restaurants and stores. The doggies were great! They didn’t bark or create any type of commotion. We were really impressed.
Well, we dragged out lunch as long as we could…an hour and a half was up. So, we made our way back to the shop and as I anticipated the truck wasn’t ready. Fortunately, the doggies were welcome to sit in the waiting room with us! Another hour and a half later, the truck was finished! Both Chiquita and Paloma were so well behaved; it was really amazing. As far as we know, they haven’t been trained and they really don’t need to be either.
Just as we were leaving the shop, it started to rain hard; it was a treacherous drive back to the casita. We could hardly see the road, but we made it just fine. We had almost five inches of rain that night along with a lot of thunder and lightening. Chiquita and Paloma were huddled against our front door. I wish that we could let them stay with us in our casita, but they are outdoor dogs. (Well, we think the two years that Paloma disappeared, she was adopted by an expat who pampered her, which is why she is a little chubby, likes to ride in the truck and wants to be inside the casita. For more about the return of Paloma, check out the July blog post titled, “Monkey Business.”) It’s not an easy life for a dog here…it’s truly the survival of the fittest.
A couple days later, we had Chiquita spayed (with a different veterinarian). She was such a brave doggie! We dropped her off early in the morning and then picked her up late in the afternoon. All went well and we arrived back to the casita armed with an anti-inflammatory and antibiotics. Lopez was here to greet us. He was so appreciative that we took care of having Chiquita “fixed.” He had wanted to take her to a donation sponsored clinic, which offers neutering for about $20 to locals, but there weren’t any openings available this month. So, we offered to take care of it for him. None of us wanted Chiquita to have a litter of puppies. The vet charged us about $50, which we thought was a bargain, but Lopez thought it was very expensive. The average laborer in Costa Rica earns about $3 an hour. We aren’t exactly sure how much Lopez earns as a caretaker, but we are guessing around $7K a year with room/board included. He sends about half his income to his children in Colombia.
It’s been three days since Chiquita’s surgery and she is doing very well. We have been trying to keep her activity level down, but she is already back to her usual energetic self, jumping all over the place! Today, she was rough housing with the cat and chasing him in the yard. Her two tiny stitches will be removed on Saturday. We are really going to miss all of the doggies when we return to North Carolina next week for a month long visit!