Tuesday night we came home, and as we passed through the fence two neighborhood kids came running up, saying something about our dog. Eventually we got it out of them that our neighbor up the street, who own a beauty salon there, wanted to know if they could borrow our dog, for a “ratotito,” just a short time. Apparently, their dog was in heat and they wanted ours to be the lucky perro to sire the puppies.
At first I thought this was a joke (we just don’t get their humor a lot of the time, nor they ours), but then they pointed up the street to where the grandmother was waiting outside for an answer. So, Cassie and I went up the street to talk to her, I of course complaining the whole time about how outrageous this was, but I really just found the whole thing pretty funny, ridiculous, and more than a little awkward. Trying to keep an open mind, I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt that this could be something that happens often here, and thus was not strange of them to ask.
We went up to their house to talk with the grandmother, who tried to make a strong case for their dog, saying that she was only going to be in heat for a short time more, that it was a good dog, and the same species as ours. First I told her, laughing a little, that our dog is pretty stupid and they wouldn’t want its puppies, but she said that she’s seen him, and that he’s the right size; they want puppies who are bigger and look more menacing (she acted this out). By the way, Ranger really is pretty dumb and a horrible guard dog because he’s also overly friendly--he’s the only dog in Guaimaca who doesn’t bark when someone walks by at night. We think it’s because his mother is also his aunt and his father is also his uncle.
So, the joke about him being dumb didn’t work, and neither did Cassie’s attempts to get more information out of her. We could tell she really was dead set on using our dog as a breeder, so I told her that neither the dog nor the house were actually ours, that they belonged to the nuns at the Center, so we couldn’t say yes to them. Her response, of course, was “They don’t have to know...”
She even took us inside to show us their dog, which by the way is definitely not the same species and is a lot smaller than Ranger. We repeated that we couldn’t say yes because he was not our dog, which fortunately the mother of the family understood and accepted as an answer, so we walked out past all the kids, who seemed to have gotten dressed up for the occasion and who kept smiling and saying “They’re the same species.” It hurt me, as a Biology teacher, to hear that repeated over and over again.
The next day, we spoke with one of the sisters about the proposed business arrangement, who told us that it was actually common here for people to set up their dogs like that if they wanted puppies. This did not surprise me because I have come to expect that nothing is as you expect it to be here.
Sister said that she would talk with the other nuns about it, and then let us know what they thought. I told my roommates that, if this goes through, it’s definitely not going down in our front yard.
Fortunately, today in our weekly lunch with the sisters they told us that, yes, they had discussed it and that they don’t want it to happen because the last guard dog they had here apparently got diseases from its encounters with other dogs, and that they think the amount of antibiotics they had to give it eventually killed it. I think we were all a little relieved that we wouldn’t have to participate in this arrangement, now all that’s left is to break the news to the proud, would-be human parents.