Although the house and our lives seemed strangely muted after Jocko's death, we had started to like the idea of having only three dogs, none of whom was big. Jocko wasn't loud or destructive. He was loving and well-behaved, very appealing, endearing. Throughout his life with us, he never quite seemed to be a real dog: more some kind of creature maybe from another planet or dreamed up in someone's imagination. He did learn some dog skills from our other three. He mastered the art of begging: He'd sit quietly, ears forward, eyes huge and liquid. Irresistible. He learned to bark when the other dogs did, his voice low and husky. Boy, do we miss him! But we had, we thought, actually decided three was better than four. Anyway there was no substitute for Jocko.
Then last Monday morning the phone rang.
I´m sure you've guessed. A friend had rescued a dog who'd been wandering, lost, up and down the road to Xico. He and his wife couldn't keep him. He was looking for someone who could, as well as trying to find out if anyone had lost this muy amable creature. Well. With Jim's prompting, not so subtle, either, I said we couldn't. And I asked what kind of dog he was. A slightly dark-haired golden retriever type, incredibly affectionate, he said. I asked our friend to call us back to let us know if he'd had any luck. When I hung up, Jim, much to my surprise, said well maybe we could think about it. But we can't take him unless we meet him first and like him. I said something inane like well, change keeps our minds working better. What's life without a little chaos?
So we brought this lovely beast home. He's a stocky dog, heavy and strong but not particularly tall. And indeed, incredibly affectionate and loveable. And after a couple of noisy days when Daisy and Happy loudly voiced their objections to him every time he got close to Jim and me, things seem to have settled down. I don't quite know why, but we named him Hank. I think we should spell it Jank as this is Mexico. H(J)ank is strictly a Spanish language dog, but he has a big vocabulary and was obviously taught well. As you can imagine, he loves walks. Below are some pictures from today's walk.
Hank in front, Rita and Happy in back.
Good Ole Rita Bita
Daisy jumping off a rock. She makes us nervous when she does this. Dachsunds are notorious for having back problems. We hope all her exercise keeps her back strong.
Jim and Hank in the river near the new bridge.
Daisy and Hank walking back to the car.
We took Hank and Daisy, too, to see the new veterinarians, husband and wife, in Xico last week, a checkúp for Hank and a parasite check for Daisy. They are an interesting couple, from DF, spent five years studying in Spain. I guess you could say they practice integrated pet management, making use of medical treatments when necessary and supporting them with natural stuff, some of which they make themselves. A bird cage hangs outside the office door with a sign saying that a free bird lives in it. And guess what, it is indeed an open cage and the bird lives in it and comes and goes at will.
We have been having daily rain. Rainy season isn't supposed to start till June. It's hard to complain, though, because instead of the usual dust and heat of May, things are gloriously lush already.
Today is Mother's Day in Mexico. My friend Doña Gloria brought me flowers and a delicious and very fattening cake for the occasion. A lovely surprise! Graciela and Claudia came and wished me Happy Mother's Day last night. We had just come back from our walk. We mentioned to her that the road up to Xico was packed with traffic. Doña Gloria said people were going to the Pantheon, the Xico cemetery, to put flowers on graves of mothers who'd died.
We went to the city of Veracruz twice last week, the first time so Jim could have a cataract removed and the next day to have the results checked on. Veracruz is indeed a hot place, but it is seductive, too, with brilliantly colored flowers and strange plants. It's dreary going into Veracruz, though, with what seem like miles and miles of dreary small stores selling car parts and junk and beauty shop supplies and so on tumbled together on barren blocks. There are housing developments, rows of tiny attached units. And then there are the rich who smile out of the pages of glossy society magazines and sit in the doctor's waiting room in expensive jeans and very high heels.
The setting for Jim's surgery was a blank new building in Boca del Rio, a place I can't quite figure out. The tiny city is stark and modern, with fancy hotels and restaurants and a world trade center in the midst of unfinished streets and buildings. It is contiguous with the city of Veracruz, sitting more or less south and east of it, and bounded on its east side by the Gulf. An anonymous building with only a number on it housed the doctor's surgery suite. It seems that Boca del Rio is actually the municipality of which Veracruz is a part, not the other way around.
The doctor's office is in a small cylindrical medical office building in a neighborhood of doctors and clinics and very pleasant houses. The air is heavy and fragrant. We found a cafe which we've been to twice. They have, by the way, excellent coffee in Veracruz. People talk with each other in much louder voices than they do in the Greater Xico Metroplex. Voluble. They do inthe doctor's waiting room and the bus station and on the street, too.
Well, I'm ending this right here. Somehow time flew. It's way past my bedtime.