Street Dogs

File this one under “I’m surprised it didn’t happen earlier…”

Buenos Aires has a stray dog problem. You’ll immediately notice it if you spend any time here, especially since it is in stark contrast to most of the US.  In all parts of the city, stray dogs roam the streets and it seems like the city has done very little to counter the problem. There are neighborhoods were the problem is less pronounced, but if you look hard enough you’ll be sure to find them everywhere. It’s a sad thing to see, and most people tend to avoid the dogs as they do not know what diseases they may have or what their temperament may be.

One day after I first met Laura, we were driving when we saw a couple of strays scrounging for food. She pulled over, telling me that she had to feed them. She opened the trunk and pulled out a bag of dog food, bottles of water and plastic trays for just this occasion. It seemed a bit odd to me at first, but I realized how impressed I was with her for caring the way she did and trying to do something about the issue.  She also donates to a local shelter operation and her dog, Blanquita, is a rescue as well. We’ve always talked about having a second dog at some point in the future – one we would adopt from a shelter.

So, fast forward to Thursday morning… I was on my way to the gym and at the corner of my block, I noticed a black dog limping behind some people. At first I thought she was with them, because we do not have many street dogs in our neighborhood. But, then I noticed her stop at the corner to drink from a puddle, so I turned around to go back towards her. I called her and she immediately limped over to me. She was so sweet and friendly even though it was apparent her leg was causing her a great deal of discomfort.  A woman on the street saw us and helped me get some rope from a shop on the corner to fashion a makeshift leash. We walked home and I woke Laura with the “surprise” I had for her.

She immediately called her local vet who told us to come right in.  We took her there and had her cleaned up – she had over 30 ticks on her and he thought she had no idea what a bath even was. Then x-rays determined that she had a broken leg that had probably been that way for over 3 months.

We’re caring for her now, but she is restricted to a small area of the apartment until we get all her shots. She is also very thin and needs to put on some weight before they can operate on her leg. She’ll need a pin inserted, but the doctor seemed positive about her outcome. Plus, she’s learned to get around on it pretty well already.

So, not necessarily what we planned for with one dog and a 5-week old already, but fate brought us together and we’re glad she’s here. Laura named her almost immediately and I knew she was staying. So, welcome to the family “Michigan!’

If you want to help, you can donate to some of these organizations:

APEMA – Accion Para Erradicar El Maltrato Animal
Pedigree Argentina Adoption Program

If you know of any others, please let us know. You can also adopt! Bringing a dog back to the States is a relatively painless process…