Some pig-fucker fed glass to Chancho (my dog).
I’m pissed. At the pig fucker. Who fed glass. To my dog.
Before I left the house this morning, I noticed that Chancho was hanging around on the second floor of the house, something he never does. I looked at him and saw that he was clearly sick, and really unanimated (he was always a happy dog). But I was due in the provincial capital in an hour, and knowing the trip would take me at least as long needed to go. I moved his food and water up to where he was chilling, just thinking he had the flu or something and just needed time.
I came back around 5pm and may neighbor shouted ‘Mateo – El Chancho se murío! (Mateo, Chancho died!)’. What? Fuck. I get to my house, and Virginia was outside selling bread. She told me the ugly story - the neighbors found Chancho walking around the streets, trying to vomit. So they called the vet, who thought somebody gave him poison, and Chancho started vomiting up glass and that’s when they knew he was a goner. The town vet gave Chancho a sedative to calm down and then injected him with something else to kill him softly rather than just letting his insides get ripped apart. Thankfully, a neighbor offered to bury Chancho for me.
It sucks. It really does. Why the fuck would anyone be motivated to feed the Chanchito glass? I could maybe understand if people were tired of street dogs, and laced food with poison. Maybe. It could rationalize it, right? But glass? It cut up his stomach, his intestines and later his throat and mouth when he vomited. Fuck you.
Usually Peruvians laugh at what we consider inappropriate times. When something bad happens, they laugh. I can’t say I loved Peru when a guy laughed after telling me he just buried my dog.
Chancho was a good dog. I acquired him per chance – he was given to one of Virgina’s grandchildren who didn’t take care of it, so I took over. I took care of him as a puppy, and would actually buy him food (rather than relying on pure table scraps). He would always follow me, Viginia and Keiko around the town, walking a bit ahead of us but always looking back to make sure we were still walking along. Or when I was in the house, whether in my room or at the table working, Chancho would always walk by every once in a while and put his head on my lap just to say ‘hi’ and ‘pet me’. He’d run around the streets for a bit, and come back to the house or bread store to take a rest. Recently while I was away for two weeks, Chancho slept outside my bedroom door almost every night. When I came back, he was jumping all over me and yelping for five minutes. Cutest memory thought was once when I was throwing up, Chancho came and sat beside me.
There was never a plan to take Chancho back to the States. My mom never really liked dogs (ironically, I had a guinea pig as a pet), and I had no idea where else I’d be living after Peace Corps – at least for a couple months. Plus, Chancho is used to wandering around the streets and coming and going as he pleased; something he wouldn’t be able to do in the States. Being trapped in a house or an apartment all day, and then confined to a leash would be a prison sentence to him.
In a volunteer’s service, they’ll go through ups and downs. They’ll be in love with their surroundings and then they’ll be thinking of how much they hate everyone. This changes month to month, week to week, day to day and even hour to hour. This is doubt a low point for me and my service. At some point after Chancho died, I also thought about my friend’s homestay family and a time was over their place for lunch. Somebody was talking about a movie she saw along the lines of Air Bud, and how she thought that animals were smarter than we thought. I heard the next day that the volunteer’s family prayed for my town, as our water pump had been broke for the last day. It helped me remember that not all Peruvians are bad – just this one person.
But you gotta remember that the reason for the sadness was usually because there was something good before it.
And yes, I realize it might be lame to write so much about a dog, but maybe you’ll understand it if you’ve had a pet and/or been in Peace Corps.