Monday, May 29, 2017

The Chihuahua Who Became Chucho

The name his rescuer gave him was Everest, because she found him in Montaña, a neighborhood in here in Curaçao, which translates to "Mountain"... Personally, I might have gone with Kilimanjaro, or even Blanc (you know, for Mont), but—well, naming is the rescuer's prerogative. Either way, this first name wasn't going to last, because a couple of months later, when a fabulous woman adopted him—only temporarily, as it turned out, but I'm getting ahead of myself here—she decided that, him being a (sort of) Chihuahua and all, he needed a more Mexican name. One of the most common appellatives in Mexico is Jesús (pronounced heh-SOOS), and every Jesús I know gets called, for unfathomable reasons, Chucho for short.

So Everest became Chucho.

Chucho (even before being called Everest) came to us on October 5th, 2016, and it was thanks to Facebook. I belong to several animal rescue groups (surprise, surprise), and on this particular fine afternoon a post popped up on my timeline from a fellow member asking for advice. She'd found this tiny dog on the side of the road, walking in tight, tight circles and acting disoriented. She didn't know what to do. I was probably the third person to reply, and echoed exactly what the other two people had said: Take him to the vet. ASAP. And I added that I'd be happy to do it myself, if she wanted. People not intimately familiar with rescue have no way of gauging what the veterinary 'damage' will be, so sometimes they hesitate to take an animal to the vet out of fear they won't be able to afford the bill. Plus, not everyone can drop their lives at a moment's notice in order to rush a strange dog to the ER. In this particular case, the rescuer said in her post that she knew next to nothing about dogs, that she'd always been more of a cat person; I felt she had done enough by picking up the dog to begin with, so it seemed only reasonable to step in and offer help.

At the home of his rescuer while they waited for me. All he wanted was to sleep. No water, no food, just... sleep. Yep, not a good sign.
I arrived at her door about a half hour later, after a few wrong turns but not nearly as many as I expected; it was Election Day here, and a voting location had been set up just a block from her house, so the crowd and the lines of parked cars were hard to miss. She helped me load the dog—who really was tiny; he'd looked rather larger in the photo she posted—into the car, and I promised to call as soon as I had some sort of diagnostic. I did warn her that, from the behavior she'd described—the walking in circles, the disorientation, the lack of appetite or energy—the prognosis would probably not be very good. "There's a chance he'll need to be put down," I told her, as kindly as I could. She nodded, reached a hand in through the open window to pet the tiny head again. "I understand."