October 2009 Issue: An Ode to the Street Pooches of Xela

Street pooches of Xela – you gritty, rag-tag band of survivors – I hope you’re2009-51-october-cover reading because this XelaWho is dedicated to you. Before getting to my ode, I’ve got to say that you guys are a pretty pathetic-looking bunch, looking as if you’ve just returned from battle. Four working legs? Optional. Fur coat? 70% coverage will do. Pedigree? Dawg, I can’t even imagine what your parents look like!

Looks can be deceiving, though, because you guys are tough. I mean really tough. Guatemala is a difficult place to eke out a living, but you guys scrape by without any help from us. You feed yourself on restos we consider inedible. Arrive too late to the prime feeding spot behind the mercado and all you get are 3rd rate scraps (and 3rd degree snout burns from all the fires!). Though we consider you our best friend, I can’t imagine that you’d want us to be yours.

Despite the constant dissing you get, I’ve seen your internal puppy come out. When not seeking to fill your gurgling stomach, you still find it in you to perk up your nose at us and wag what remains of your tail, hoping for a pat on the head or a treat. In return you get kicked or shooshed away. Pobrecitos.

I am also amazed at your genetically programmed ability to avoid getting smacked by vehicles. Hear the toot of the horn and you are out of harm’s way. Sometimes, however, as is the case with any creature here, you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Recently I experienced a motorcyclist ripping down a side street who ran over a dog that couldn’t get out of the way in time. The motorcyclist went down and the chucho ran off yelping, hopefully not too injured to survive. Though none of the onlookers would send a veterinarian to save the poor dog, all of us were astounded that he survived the collision. Like I said, you guys are tough, tough as nails.

If it’s any consolation, canine friends, at least we humans leave you alone to have your fun. I’ve seen you guys in the streets at night and, golly, you know how to party! This week I saw a group of you doing the most creative 4-way I’ve ever seen. The foursome was so into it didn’t even realize I was there. I felt bad for the hopping mini pup who couldn’t reach but he seemed to enjoy the attempt nonetheless.

Thus survivor pooches of Xela we admire you and think you rock. If you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.

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