My writings about the Constancy of Change in Life and beyond. From my view spot above the city in southern Costa Rica, I write.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

BFFs Forever

A Story of a Dog Rescue

Originally written and blog published in August, 2014.

When I moved to Costa Rica in 2008 I brought my animal family consisting of four parrots and two dogs. The four parrots lived together in an aviary attached to my house and readily open to my office. My two dogs, Livvie and Seurat were best pals. A year after our arrival, Livvie died at a respectable age of 12 for a German Shepherd and Seurat was alone, which he seemed to manage. After Frank and I got together, we often talked about getting another dog pal for Seurat. At different times there were puppies made available to us – but Seurat would have nothing to do with them. When Frank brought one of his dogs to my house, Seurat was incensed. It seemed he was pretty particular about who he would share his family with.

Two days before the end of 2013, Frank and I decided to stop by a local dog shelter owned by a Tica Veterinarian, Dr. Milena Elizondo. This compassionate woman rescues dogs abandoned in San Isidro de El General. We decided to try again.

Dr. Milena was excited and said she knew just the dog - and a man was taking care of her but would bring her over immediately. Randall soon arrived with a sweet, starving german shepherd mix who had recently given birth but was without puppies. He had noticed her wandering the streets in a nearby town and took her to his friend, Milena. Wasted and starved to her bones, there was something in her lovely eyes that implored Frank and me to return the next day, New Year's eve - with Seurat. We hoped he would let us know how he felt about her.

The meeting of the two dogs began on Dr. Milena's porch. I immediately called the quiet dog Frida - for Frida Kahlo who also suffered a painful early life. And her name would be in keeping with the artist nomenclature I'd adopted with Seurat. I would often reply, 'Pointilist' when someone asked about Seurat's breed. Though only artists 'got it', it always made me smile. 

Seurat was immediately just fine with Frida as we walked them together to see how they interacted. It was almost as if they both knew they belonged together. We just shrugged our shoulders and went home with Frida and Seurat. When I put Livvie's old collar on her, Seurat actually jumped for joy!
We fell into a routine of 4 meals a day for Frida and Seurat began training his new pal - when to bark, how early to wake up the humans, taking her out each morning to walk the road and check out all the new smells - and he even brought her back! Frida was very mellow, and slept a lot. We understood she was still weak and recovering from her starvation on the streets.

After about two weeks of steady improvement, Frida one day began walking unsteadily and appeared disoriented. One eye was filled with blood. We immediately took her to see Dr. Milena who diagnosed her with Erlichiosis or Canine Hemorrhagic Fever.  A terrible blow. This is a most often fatal blood parasitic disease carried by the brown tick. Frida, unfortunately was in the chronic phase with includes retinal hemorrhage. Dogs can often live with the parasite and show no visible evidence until it reaches the chronic stage, as with Frida. Dr. Milena armed us with antibiotics, blood and immune building capsules and we decided to do the best we could and not give up on this sweet girl who wanted only to live. Seurat watched her carefully, too and was nearly always by her side.

Frida fought back! After a week+ on antibiotics (which I was only able to get her to eat through extreme trickery), she started acting more upbeat, gaining a little weight and the retinal bleeding happening not as often, permitting her to see and enjoy her surroundings. Her pal, Seurat stayed right there for her. He seemed to understand.

And one morning they began their serious business of playing! It is often just a blur of growls and occasional yelps. 

They are best friends forever, after all!

Frank loved Frida, reminding him of his first shepherd, Osa a long long time ago. It was lovely to see the bond these two developed.

After Frank passed in early March, Frida and Seurat seemed to miss him so and I began to take them on the walks they had so enjoyed with Frank. It has become a regular treat for them and exercise for me.

By August, Frida appears to be completely healthy and sooooo rambunctious! She is best friends with Seurat and they share bones, food and anything else, including me. 

What a lovely family! And this family of dogs helped to get me through losing Frank.  But last I heard from him, he told me that my old sweet Shepherd, Livvie and his shepherd Osa are with him – as well as Flash, the parrot he also loved.

BFFs forever.

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