Goldie and the Gang

She showed up at the garden gate and started howling.
It was an early afternoon in late July, and soon my downstairs neighbor called up, asking, “Hey, Jennifer – do you know anything about this dog…”
Indeed, moments before when the howling had ensued I’d gone out on my veranda, as I always do when unknown sounds erupt here on the edge of the jungle, to check it out.
She was cute as a button. Shiny, gold, young, big pink tongue. She sat right at the gate, put her cute, round, black-rubber nose in the air, and hoooooowled. It was kind of hilarious. Right away, she made you smile.
After letting her into the entrada — and away from my friend’s four dogs — we huddled over the situation and came up with a plan. We were just sure she was lost and someone was very, very upset and looking for their precious puppy.
I snapped a couple of photos, and composed and printed out copies of “found” posters to put up around the neighborhood. My friend then drove them down the road to alert the neighbors we had a lost dog!
Nightfall came and nobody came looking.
Since my friend already had her four dogs downstairs, I volunteered to let the howler stay upstairs with me until her owners came to claim her, surely in the morning. They must have been sick with worry…
Of course, everyone knows how this turns out. She’d been dumped, likely not long after weaning a litter of pups. Her “owners” probably picked a road, headed up to the hills, until there was no more road — only the compound where we live. Even so, there were other homes in the hood she could have howled at.
But dogs are smart. They know where to go. Take the four dogs who were already living their best lives up here on the hill.
Baby, a Dobie runt rescued by my friend from the jungle upriver on the Pitillal. Andrew, a German shepherd-ish guy named after Andy Rooney’s eyebrows. Missy, the quintessential “Mexican” dog – yellow, short-haired, and block-headed with prehistoric paws. And finally, Woolly, a 20-pounder who looks like a tumbleweed of steel wool.
All but Baby, literally scooped up from the jungle floor, had each made their own way up here to end of the road, somehow sensing they’d find heaven on Earth. And they did.
On the second day of her stay, we had to give her a name. Her coat, smile and personality glow. The newly-dubbed Goldie, likely of lab and retriever lines, became her name and it personifies her.
I mentioned an amiga in the colonia who might give Goldie a home, but not surprisingly, my friend had fallen in love yet again. Goldie wasn’t going anywhere but downstairs.
Meanwhile, Missy, the grizzled old-girl Mexican pup was failing and fast. One week she was fine and then she wasn’t. She rapidly lost weight. We fed her chunks of pork, steak and grizzle to make her last days delicious.
In early August, before I went north for my mom’s 90th birthday, we transitioned Goldie to her new downstairs haven. And while I was gone, my friend, engaging mercy, had Missy put down.
So Goldie, now spayed (yea!), slipped right into her new life, albeit last in line in the pecking order of pups, even behind little Woolly, who in her head and heart, is an 80-lb. pit bull.
I love Mexico. I love Puerto Vallarta. And I love the people of PV, and I understand why having an un-spayed, litter-bearing pup may have been too much. So let’s all celebrate how lucky it is that the darling Goldie ended up here, on the hill.
And, she doesn’t howl anymore!