Thursday, March 26, 2015
The story thus far began in 2013 when a small four legged stranger wandered into my Ecuador resident daughter and her husband’s home. Now, a year later I return to see for myself what had transpired in the time I’d been away.
2014: Home again in Australia I soon settled back into the usual domestic routine: The Reluctant Traveler speedily brought up to date on the life and times of the kids back in Ecuador. Lovely man that he is he knew I had left half my heart back there in the Andes.
I’d also related over and again the many qualities of the small dog that had made such a whirlwind affect on all our lives. So it wasn’t all that long before he suggested I start saving my pennies for a return visit, with the result that a year or so later here I was, back again in the air taking that long flight across the south Pacific and then up the spine of South America, about to land in Guayaquil.
In the interim I had been kept up to date via email about the unsuccessful search for Dog’s owners and even the more diligent canvassing of possible adoptive parents. I knew my two kids, husband and wife had spent weeks and months systematically working their way through a long list of possible candidates.
Personally I was quite convinced that everyone they approached could see that the dog was exactly where the dog belonged. I could only fall back on the old adage that surely love is sometimes blind! In truth I thought all this search business was a no brainer; I’d always been pretty sure that the dog had decided his own future way back on day one and the two humans really didn’t have much say in the matter at all.
As the little bloke with the ridiculous curly tail continued to slowly but effectively burrow his way deeper into his temporary owner’s hearts emails flowed back and forth until surprise, surprise, an email arrived to say they hadn’t been able to find him an alternative home.
'The dog is a funny little chap', I read, 'He has his routine and we try not to get in the way of it.'
Various names for the little pooch were suggested until they settled on Percy and from then on the emails were full of tit-bits featuring Percy doing this, and Percy doing that. Of course they had fallen in love with him.
Ecuador 2014: The plane has landed. The kids have picked me up from the airport and I’m being driven from the coastal international airport across the mountains and getting excited about the second greatly anticipated reunion, the one with Percy!
I think back to that moment not all that long ago when Percy began his campaign to win us over and how tangibly he responded to our loving kindness. Now here I am, about to find him wearing a smart harness and leash, hollow ribs now chubby and robust, and adored by two accommodating and besotted humans. How lucky could a little dog be?
At last we turn into the driveway and ahead I can see a small bundle of energy bouncing with joy. What a welcome! I’d like to think it was especially for me but apparently my children get a welcome like this whether they’ve been gone 10 minutes or 10 hours. I bend down to take the paw of the little man and rekindle our old friendship. Gone is that original hesitance of eye contact; in its place the confidence of belonging.
It didn’t take long to realize Percy ruled the roost. On frequent walks through the property he led the way bounding eagerly ahead, stopping every few moments to check we were following: When we slow to take in the magnificent view of mountains and alpine farms, so too does he.
When heavy rain results in a mud slide and work is needed on the property’s water canal, Percy is there to supervise the action.
His visits to the other four legged residents on the property, Oonagh, Isla and the little new born calf Frieda are invariably marked with his own doggy sense of humour. Percy is well aware the banana treats for the cows are not high on a doggy menu but that doesn’t stop him nipping between their legs to steal one for himself…merely to sit a safe distance away with his prize tucked safely and uneaten between his paws; a devilish grin on display.
What a special dog he is. As is the way of humans and dogs, this adorable little bundle of mischief has become a valued member of my daughter’s household. Both she and Percy I was sure were initially hesitant about their growing relationship, but whereas the little dog feared rejection, she feared the inevitable pain of a pet she might one day lose. As if either of them had any choice in the matter, after all where the heart leads the brain has little to do but follow.
As I sit outside on the garden chair writing in my journal I look across at the two of them, her face animated, Percy tail up eager to play: Both intent on their regular game of chasing down dusk with lots of feints and false moves, Percy darting around the yard with all the skill of a circus dog, ears flapping.
Seeing him now plum tuckered out and exhausted after his mad chase around the yard, catching a few well deserved 30 winks I imagine him chuckling in his dreams as he thinks back to those long and lonely weeks on the dusty road and the fortuitous legwork that finally brought him home.
And then, with visions of all the emaciated, desperate street dogs I had seen on my travels. I look once again at little Percy and shudder to think how very different his life, and ours might have been had he not taken that hesitant but momentous first walk up the driveway.
Robyn Mortimer ©2015