October 31, 2010

Dog Catching at Punchana Meat Market

Backtracking a  bit, I am writing about our last day at the outdoor clinic in Punchana which took place on Thursday, October 21, 2010. As our agenda had changed, few people brought their animals for treatment. However, the proximity of the meat market ensured that the volunteers would not be idle: it was time to let loose CARES' own dog whisperer, Harris, with his wicked long pole net. Read more to see the MUST SEE 1 minute video of Harry trapping a street dog!
He and Bruno, CARES' director in Peru, who serves as Harris' wing man in such ventures, walked into the market, the net resting casually on his shoulder. Their studied nonchalance did not fool either the two- or four-legged occupants of the market. The people excitedly pointed and called to friends so they don't miss the show; the dogs began barking anxiously, and if approached, would stand their ground defiantly for a moment or two, then allowing discretion to overcome valor, would turn tail and run.

Bruno and Harris were more than equal to the task, however. Using hand signals and abrupt, machine-gun swift Spanish to coordinate their approach, Harris advanced on a small ginger colored female who bared her teeth in warning. When she finally thought to escape, there was Bruno, blocking her way. She turned back to Harris, looking for a way to elude him, but then it was over: with a masterful scoop, she was netted. Then the struggle began in earnest: the little dog weighed all of 25 pounds, fought like a crazed thing, twisting and turning in the net, at one point very nearly biting the assisting Bruno. Seeing the dog's herculean struggle, Barbara, a vet volunteer, whispered the near-endearment Diabolita (little she-devil) admiringly. However, finally the dog was subdued and carried out to the clinic for an impromptu, al fresco spay.

Diabolita was a pistol to the end - she nosed open her cage after the spay then stopped to chew through her bandage of gauze and masking tape. When Bruno went to help her remove the tape, she was wise enough to let bygones be bygones, and allowed his assistance. Once free, she daintily trotted away, pausing to sniff and briefly lick at a crust of unnamed filth on the concrete, then disappearing into the market.

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