EVERYDAY DOG

Miel in Mexico

For months, I’d been carrying around a seed of worry in my belly. I had a dog that needed a home but no one wanted her. I’d picked Miel up off a busy Mexico City street. She wore a collar and was dragging half a leash. Both looked new. I spent hours tacking up flyers, checking the internet and driving around looking for signs Miel’s owners might have put up. But I finally realized no one was looking for  her. She’d become just another one of Mexico City’s suffering street dogs.

Miel was smart and singular and incredibly sad. I don’t know what she’d been through but she emanated sadness. She stayed close to me, often gazing up with her striking orange eyes. She didn’t need a leash. She walked by my side as if we’d been together for years. But we hadn’t and I couldn’t keep her. My house is full. We already have a street dog from Mexico, as well as a stray from New Mexico and South Africa. Plus a few cats thrown into the mix. I’d promised my husband, no more dogs. And so I sent Miel to a kennel while I searched for a new home. I posted ads on the internet, put up photos, contacted everyone I knew. Nothing. No one wanted this dog, no one even wanted to meet her. She just wasn’t extraordinary enough. It’s true, Miel was just a dog. She wasn’t strikingly gorgeous, she didn’t have expensive blood lines, she was average sized. In four months I received exactly ZERO inquiries about her. The kennel was expensive. I’d lost my job. I was despairing. And then, during an early spring trip to Denver, I had the idea to post Miel on Craigslist. People in Mexico might not want her but maybe someone in Denver would.

That’s how I met Sarah. She and her sister sent me a note, saying something about Miel struck a chord. They believed she might be the dog for them. Sarah and I talked for a long time. Sarah was only in her twenties but she’d been through a lot. She was a self-professed punker with piercings. I loved that about her. She said that Miel’s sadness sounded like her own. I told her adopting a dog, unseen, was an act of faith. I asked her to think about it. She called back about an hour later. She and her sister had said a little prayer. She told me, “We’re in”. And so I brought Miel to Denver. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t cheap. A neighbor asked me if I was crazy, “It’s just a dog,” she said. And she was right, it was just one dog. But it’s one I can help. I can’t help them all. But a few, I can.

At the Denver International Airport, in customs, there are no carts for dog kennels. So I had to push Miel along in her kennel through the long inspection line. It took about an hour. Then I shoved the kennel through the big double customs exit doors. As promised, Sarah was there. Her smile radiating joy.

I told Sarah, before parting, that if Miel wasn’t working out for her, I’d do whatever I could to help. She looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, she’s my responsibility now. And she will be loved.”

Miel was home.

Sarah wrote me a few days ago. She told me Miel was great. She’d taken her to the mountains for the first time and said Miel was pure happiness, running free.

In the midst of all the suffering in this huge, polluted city of bone-thin dogs, I’m going to hold that image, of Miel in the mountains, in the front of my mind.

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10 Responses to EVERYDAY DOG

  1. missgrimaud says:

    Loved, loved, loved. Perfection. Keep on keeping on!

  2. pia says:

    You made me cry… I hope Sarah sends a picture of Miel in the mountains. Would love to see her happy.

  3. Kira Jones says:

    LOVE it! This is the beginning of your BOOK!!!

  4. Reyna Paniagua Guerrero says:

    This is a great story! I congratule you!

    Reyna

  5. Susan Shepehrd says:

    This is a great story. I’m so happy you’re blogging about your adventures. I’ll show Lexi…she’ll love it. Can you post more pictures?

  6. Sue Clement says:

    Jenny, I just love this story. I’ve been re-reading Caroline Knapp’s book Pack of Two, and the gorgeous Miel reminds me of her dog Lucille – those gorgeous, serious shep mixes are so soulful. I LOVE the image of you in the Denver airport!

  7. Sue jaye says:

    This is a gorgeous story Jenny. And I agree. this is the beginning of your book. Thank you for spreading the love. And humanity.

  8. Astrid Janzen-Rejding says:

    A wonderful story and describing so well the fate of most dogs on Mexican streets.
    One more you rescued Jenny. Well done.
    Glad we had the chance to meet Miel briefly. Lars and me and our 44 paws are happy for her that she finally found her forever home.

  9. anne kohler says:

    I love your stories here! Please write more! I want to help in some way! Maybe it is time for a second dog??

    Anne

  10. Marna Rojas says:

    Hello Jenny, We have a mutual friend from Albuquerque, (Mary) who told me that I must read your blog. And now I know why!! I am a “rescued” American, honored to be working intimately with the strays in Acapulco: Happy Tails Un Mundo Mejor para Los Animales A.C. Your stories are so similar in spirit to my own……….especially this tender piece on Miel, which reminds me so much of our own little “Solovino” rescued off the beach in Acapulco and now romping happily in the mountains of Boulder! I keep thinking that these stories of our friends deserve to take the form of a book, not because I consider myself to be a great storyteller but because the stories in themselves are ASKING to be told……..to bring awareness to the situation so many noble animals suffer in our adopted and beloved Mexico. Through your writing you have a true gift for opening hearts……..muchas gracias!

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