Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The S, in SPCA, stands for Steal


Sunday morning I went to check out the place I will be house sitting for about 3 months. This is not just a house it is an amazing house and the description they sent me over email did not do it justice. The downside is the location, while not far away from the city at all it is a 15 minute walk to the bus stop. There are however, some German women close by that can give me rides to town in exchange for gas money, more on this later, so that makes it a bit easier.

I was sitting chatting with the owners of the house who are both Americans and retired anthropologists. Somehow we got on the topic of dogs, the stray variety and the roof variety (see earlier post from last summer about roof dogs), and he related the funniest story (well the end is funny anyway) about an experience with the Oaxacan version of the SPCA. I will do my best to pass along the story here but ultimately it was much better experienced in person.

First, you must understand that dogs are, in general, not treated well in Mexico unless owned by the upper classes. When you can barely feed yourself and your family animals are of secondary importance, generally used for subsistence, as with cows, goats, and chickens, or for protection as with roof dogs. Somewhere close to the amazing house a Weimaraner was tied up in a field, behind a fence, on a very short leash. The anthropologist couple theorized that its owners were perhaps using the dog for breeding since it appeared to a purebred. This poor dog would bark and bark and bark, very nearly 24 hours a day from loneliness. As the male anthropologist said he couldn’t believe the dog didn’t get laryngitis. Weimaraners are very codependent dogs as I learned from my brief stint working at the doggie daycare and become very anxious and miserable when alone. After the barking became too much, finally, one of the two German women who live nearby called the local incarnation of the SPCA to see if there wasn’t something that could be done about the situation. An agreement was reached that if a home could be found for the dog they would come out and rescue the dog.

After a few weeks (I believe) a home is procured and some of the neighbors and the representative from the local SPCA meet at the fence surrounding the field containing the dog. After surveying the scene, the SPCA rep says, “okay, let’s just steal it.” And that is indeed what they did! They went into the field, got the dog, and delivered it to the new owner! Apparently this is not an uncommon tactic for the Oaxacan version of the SPCA. There is no contacting the owner, no official protocol, they just climb the fence and steal the dogs and give them to good homes. I was rolling with laughter at this story as it really seems to epitomize so much of Mexico for me.