Yes, I know that I am woefully behind in my blogging. Thank you to those who have checked in to see if I’m still here. I have been meaning to post a general update for several weeks now, but that will have to wait, because this blog takes precedence.
I, along with many of my friends and nearby neighbors, are grieving the loss of our sweet friend, Pablo. As you can probably tell by the photo, Pablo was a dog. But he wasn’t just any dog – everyone agrees that Pablo was very special.
Pablo lived at the former hotel/restaurant next door. I still remember when he first showed up a little over two years ago. He was abandoned by some people and the first chef from the U.S. wanted to keep him. He was still a young dog, maybe 6-8 months old, and he quickly captured our hearts. Back then we all gathered regularly to eat and drink at the restaurant/bar, and Pablo was a staple there. He became everybody’s dog and we were his people. When the chef left a short time later (following the earthquake), the hotel owner didn’t want to keep Pablo and asked my neighbor, Lisa, to take him. She did initially, but Pablo just kept jumping over her wall and going back next door. Shortly after, the next chef couple arrived and they too fell in love with Pablo. They begged the owner to let them keep him and began feeding and training him, as well as getting his shots and sterilization taken care of. When they left about six months later, there would be no moving Pablo by then – that was his domain.
During that time, Pablo and I began a fairly regular beach walking routine. Eventually, I started to carry dog biscuits in my bag, and we had our familiar routine of him bounding towards me to get his treats before we started on our walk. Some mornings he didn’t come out until I was returning, but he always got his “cookies” no matter what. Sometimes we’d play fetch the stick, but what he really loved most was chasing birds (and sometimes crabs).
But what was unique about Pablo was his personality. He was a super special dog indeed. The truth is, he’d walk with anyone he saw going that direction. He was a friend to all. All our volunteer workers instantly fell in love with him. Everyone loved Pablo. He was always happy, always friendly, always joyful and full of mischief and life. He didn’t have a mean bone in his body. Everyone adopted him into their life in some way. Our newest residents that moved here full-time a few months ago have four dogs, but had still welcomed Pablo by feeding him and letting him inside to hang out and play with their dogs. They even paid for the final vet bill for him.
I used to always say he reminded me of me, because when we were on the beach, if we saw a person or another dog, he ran straight towards them, tail in the air, looking forward to making a new friend. It was always interesting to watch the reactions both of people and other dogs. Some were afraid of him, and he’d always look puzzled as to why they didn’t understand that he just wanted to make friends and play. Some were even hostile towards him, and he couldn’t understand that either. It was fun to watch those people and dogs who finally realized how sweet natured he was, and they began to warm up and play with him.
Our development was part of his home and he’d wander around and through here daily. A funny story from several weeks ago: I left my gate open all day one day because workers were at my house finishing work up on my deck. My friend/contactor, Luis, came back after lunch and said there was a dog in my yard. I knew it was Pablo, and sure enough he came to my back screen door and peered in for several minutes while I was on a work call. Then he walked away, and I thought nothing more of it. I was still sitting at my table (back to my front door) talking away and looked down and suddenly Pablo was standing beside me in the middle of my living room! A worker had walked outside briefly to get something and left the door open and Pablo just let himself in. I grabbed him by the collar and led him right back out, talking on a call the whole time. Good thing Charcoal was hiding in the laundry room because of all the activity!
Earlier this week in the afternoon, the hotel owner came out of his room to find Pablo acting out of his head. He’d been fine earlier that day and they suspected he’d been poisoned. They brought him here to some of my neighbors, who tried to give him something to make him vomit. Finally, they called the vet in Jipijapa (30 minutes away) and rushed him there, but it was too late to save him. The next day, another ex-pat friend’s dog was also poisoned, but they were able to treat it and it is recovering. However we learned yesterday that sadly, it’s some level of government putting out poison to kill stray dogs. Whether that is local or national government I don’t know. My friend/contractor Luis said there were 3 dead strays by his house. But sadly, there are going to be a lot of “unintended” victims as well. 😔 I truly do understand the problem of the strays, and it’s heartbreaking to see them live a suffering life, but when my neighbors described to me how Pablo was suffering from that poison, it’s devastating. 😖
It has been super sad walking by the hotel the past few mornings and realizing I would never again see Pablo come out stretching from having just woken up, and then come bounding towards me looking for his cookies. Or missing him when I stopped to do my stretches and he’d come over from his wanderings and lay down beside me while I did my routine. Just in the past few weeks we had some very memorable moments together. One morning I was off work, so was taking my time and running a little later than usual leaving for my walk. As I was fixing Charcoal’s breakfast, I heard a single bark and realized it was very close by. I opened my front door to see Pablo laying outside my gate and looking at me like, “Come on, you’re late!”
In fact, I had already thought about writing a blog post about Pablo, because in some ways he was like my little angel companion and protector. Although generally friendly towards all, there were a few times lately when he let a pack of dogs or a person jogging know that they’d better not have any ill intent towards me, or they’d have to contend with him. I remember one sweet exchange just the other day, when I cupped his face in my hands, put my face close to his, looked straight into his eyes and told him what a special dog he was. And his eyes answered back that he knew exactly what I was saying to him.
Ownership of Pablo was really a group effort and everyone around here had their own special bond with him. As my good friend Fatima says, “There will never be another dog like Pablo” – he’ll be hugely missed. 😢