Here is our new rescue. Her name is Alondra which is Spanish for Skylark, which is English for (noun) a brown-speckled European lark, Alauda arvensis, famed for its melodious song. And (verb) to frolic; sport: The children were skylarking on the beach. Before her injury, Alondra was a frolicker. She will be again soon.
If you've known me long, you undoubtedly know that I cannot resist meddling in others' affairs. For example, when I didn't see our neighbors' dog, Alondra, for three days it was natural for me to start investigating. Yesterday, when she finally re-appeared outside their house, sitting (which she never does) on the pile of sand in front of the house, I couldn't help but try to find out what happened to her. So I asked the first family member I found. He said she'd been hit by a car. She can't walk. "Can I take her to see a vet?" I asked. With enthusiasm, "Yes," he responded.
And so it was that fifteen minutes later, Callie and I were heading to a local vet to get this sweet dog fixed up.
It didn't take the vet long to diagnose the dog with a broken right femur (although it was long enough for me to nearly pass out, about four different times, while he palpated the dog's leg). "You'll have to go to Vallarta to get x-rays taken so that I know whether she needs surgery or just a cast. We don't have an x-ray machine." I've heard sad complaints about how vets here don't have the means to purchase their own x-ray machines, and even read stories about desperate vets who get their hospital-working friends to sneak animals in front of the human x-ray machines after hospital hours. I was hoping it wouldn't come to that for us.
This morning we headed down to the vet with the x-ray machine. She was expecting us and took the x-rays for only 200 pesos, the equivalent of around $17. I am not trained in x-ray reading, but even I knew from looking at the picture that the leg is not in good shape. We headed back to the first vet and showed him the x-ray. He told me that the bone is splintered, probably poking into her muscles whenever she moves, and that there are a few fragments floating around in her leg. She needs surgery. But first she needs to be on anti-inflammatories for a few days to allow the swelling to subside.
And then it was time for my big question, "How much do you think this is going to cost?" I asked. "Hmmm...," he flipped through some paperwork. "Probably 800 pesos, maybe a little more or less, depending on what I find when I get in there." That, my friends, is the equivalent of $62 US. I was so shocked and surprised, my eyes started welling with tears and I nearly hugged the man. Before embarassing myself, I pulled myself together and thanked him graciously.
This is the same doctor who shaved Nacho and Anna for us. He works for an organization called Sayulitanimals. The people who started the organization and who run it are awesome, offering free spays and neuters to all cats and dogs as well as reasonably priced wellness visits, shots, deworming, etc. Caring for animals is not understood in Mexico the way it is in America, and organizations like this one are doing the best they can to change people's ideas of what humane treatment is and why it is important. I feel indebted to them for offering such great services at a price that makes it affordable to help animals here.
If you're coming for a visit, please feel free to bring along some of the items on their "needed" list or send a donation via Paypal. I've heard that some people buy dog/cat crates or carriers off of Craigslist and pack them full of animal supplies and check them like luggage on the plane when they come here for vacation. Then, they give the crate to an animal rescue organization here. Crates and carriers and other pet items are unbelievably expensive in Mexico, so a donation like that is really helpful to vets and animal advocacy organizations here.
We'll keep you posted on Alondra's journey. She's going in for surgery on Wednesday at 9:15 and the vet expects 3-4 weeks of recovery before she is able to walk again, maybe longer before she can walk normally. Caring for her during that time is the least we can do.