For five years, my husband and I lived in Mexico. Here’s a blog post I wrote at the time:
We consider our life here an experiment and don’t know yet if we will return permanently to the small town in Colorado that we came from. Since much of our business is online, we can spend time anywhere in the world that has a good internet connection! We’re currently near Lake Chapala — I can see it from my window as I write — outside of Guadalajara.
Living in a different culture requires a lot of adjustments. Some are easy, some are great fun, some (like getting really good at Spanish) are challenges. For me, as a soft-hearted dog lover, one of the greatest challenges has been making my peace with the life of dogs in Mexico.
This came up for me one morning recently, as I walked through the cobblestone streets to the plaza, where the weekly market was setting up. I followed a couple of male dogs down the street, noticing as first one and then the other peed, that both were intact. It figures. Neutering is not a priority here, and it’s only partly a matter of money. (On the other hand, the state of Jalisco, where we are, has an excellent rabies vaccination program and there has been no rabies reported in people or dogs in the whole state for several years. This is quite an achievement.)
After I bought my fresh fruit and vegetables, and stopped in for some still-warm tortillas, I had the walk uphill to my house. I had been dreading it because on the way down I had glanced at a tiny puppy tied to a large rock in front of one of the houses.
It was still there, and as I walked by I spoke kindly to it. I was hoping that it would be a small breed but it doesn’t seem to be. I suspect it was taken from its mother very early. The little pup wagged its tail and came toward me, whining. I was so close to tears that I didn’t want to stop because if someone came out of the house, I’d be crying.
Okay, I know that plenty of puppies in the US don’t get a great start either. This little one at least has some people caring for it. Assuming it survives, it will probably grow up to be a dog who lives in this relatively quiet street. There is an older puppy a block away, also tied up, seeming resigned to its life on a four-foot rope. The people on this street are not desperately poor but you wouldn’t call them middle class either. Life is hard, and they give the dogs some affection and care. And they are really great with their children.
Because we are in a part of Mexico that is popular with Americans, Canadians, and other foreigners, there are three expat-run shelters in the region, each one caring as best it can for the dogs and cats that need help. I sometimes stop in and help a little.
Different cultures — different viewpoints, different possibilities.