I never quite divested myself of the “Lassie, Come Home” or “Rin Tin Tin” era. Somewhere in my brain’s archives, kids and dogs still resonate as a major part of a perfect world.
A two-year old boy named Santiago brought it all back to me the other day. He visited our Casa Lupita Animal Clinic in Granada with his mother, Suzanne Pryor, who was in search of a dog-pal that could grow up with her son.
Suzanne heard about a dog named Miki being sheltered at Casa Lupita, and the ordeal the dog had been through. She was touched by the dog’s history of harsh abuse and neglect in San Juan del Sur, and decided Miki needed a loving home and might make a good friend for her son. And she was right on both counts.
Rejane Rojas, a San Juan del Sur resident, first brought Miki to us a few months ago. She found the dog lying on a dirt road. It was the dog’s large vaginal tumor that shocked her; she realized the dog was yet another victim of an easily-spread canine cancer.
As Rejane moved closer, she saw an even more complicated problem: an inflamed burn on Miki’s back. This, she later learned, was the result of someone throwing boiling water on the dog. In addition, Miki suffered from a serious eye infection; her eye was later removed due to irreparable damage.
“Between the infected eye, her burns and her tumor, this poor dog must have been in constant and excruciating pain,” says Rejane.
The tumor was treated with chemotherapy at Casa Lupita.
In spite of Miki’s unrelenting agony, Rejane remembers her as having, “One of the sweetest dispositions that I have ever seen in a dog, even though humans had been very cruel to her.”
The continued chemo treatment by Casa Lupita’s vet team along with eye surgery and treatment for back burns turned the dog’s life around. Miki was healed and back in good health, ready to return home to San Juan del Sur.
But the next time Rejane saw her, Miki was in bad shape again.
“I could see that her front leg had been skinned to the bone. I found out that someone had cut her with a machete,” explained Rejane. “The wound was at least three days old.”
Rejane returned Miki immediately to Casa Lupita, where the vets decided to keep the dog for ongoing care.
Unfortunately, amputation was the only option to treat the shattered leg. Miki was given a place to stay at Casa Lupita while she convalesced, but her future didn’t seem bright. Three-legged, one-eyed dog is not usually considered adoption material.
But Miki never winced, whined, or refused our attention. It took her only a short amount of time to figure out how to navigate on three legs, and a missing eye didn’t seem to dampen her spirits either.
It was the non-stop tail wagging that impressed all of us. Everything that happened was good reason for her to whip her tail back and forth in glee. Just saying her name…entering the room…or even saying goodbye. The tail wagged happily. Always.
As a mother, Suzanne could imagine the tremendous value for both her son and this dog growing up together. This, she thought, was a fur-covered lesson in life for her little boy.
So a meeting was arranged at Casa Lupita between two-year-old Santiago and Miki.
As soon as Santiago entered the clinic and caught sight of his future playmate, he slid on his knees to her side. Suzanne helped him to pet Miki gently on her head. Love at first sight. But also respect, joy, trust, camaraderie. It was all there.
Suzanne casually mentioned that their new friend had only three legs. And then the math test began. Santiago counted the legs…one…two…three. He was delighted. Three legs seemed like plenty. Besides, he wasn’t sure he could count higher than that.
Then he reached behind him for the hand of their housekeeper, Julieta, and guided it to Miki’s head. His hand on hers, he showed her how to pet gently, very gently. The tail picked up momentum and whacked the floor.
I backed away to take some photos, hoping to capture just a small piece of the dauntless spirit of a dog minus a leg and an eye—and the unconditional love of a little boy who was thrilled to make a new friend.
It was Timmy and Lassie all over again.
For more information about Casa Lupita animal clinic in Granada, contact Donna Tabor at email@example.com