Letter from Lorraine XI
My latest news, besides I just finished writing the last chapter of my book, which is a big deal for me: Pearl, Ruby, and I have adopted two fabulous neighborhood street dogs!
I did not intend to take on more dog responsibilities, but like many canine lovers here in SMA, the situation presented itself, and voilà, I now care for four dogs. Where I live in Los Frailes (a San Miguel neighborhood), our two beloved little street dogs, Mike and Molly, suddenly needed serious medical help.
About a month ago while walking our dogs, my friend Karen and I, as usual, ran into Mike and Molly (I named them and they are sometimes referred to as the M&Ms). For a nearly a year, these two street dogs have walked with me, Pearl, and Ruby. And no matter where we were headed, around the block or a mile out to the local stables, they kept us company, and then it was back to Auntie Lorraine’s for doggie kibble.
One day, while walking with Karen and her dog Mica, I noticed that Mike had a terrible ear infection; the poor thing could barely keep his head up. My first poodle, Noli, had chronic ear problems, so I knew how dangerous and painful they could be. I also knew ear infections do not just go away; they become worse if not treated.
I could not sleep that night due to worrying about Mike, so first thing in the morning, I called Dr. Merrill, a local veterinarian who makes house calls. It was crucial that the vet come to the house, as most street dogs won’t get into a car, much less go on a leash. We set up a time in the early afternoon; another neighbor, Sara, came over, and the two of us, with the help of cooked chicken as bait, corralled the M&Ms into my courtyard.
The vet arrived, knocked Mike out, and deep-cleaned his bad ear. While treating Mike’s ear, he nodded at Molly and asked if I wanted her spayed. Since my neighbors and I had been wanting to fix both dogs for well over a year, I of course said yes.
So off Molly went with Dr. Merrill and his assistant for a spaying and an overnight stay for observation. Mr. Mike stayed in our house for the first time, and luckily, he was still groggy from his anesthesia and slept soundly through the night.
The cost of veterinarian services is reasonable in Mexico, but these two procedures, house visits, and after care medications, were not cheap. So, a few neighbors and I pooled our pesos and paid the still affordable (compared to the US) bill.
Molly came back early the next day, and a few days later, Mike went to the vet for a little male paraphernalia snipping. It took twelve days for Molly to fully recover, and by that time, since all the dogs seemed to like this new arrangement (Oliver, the cat, was another story, but he’s fine now), I thought, hell, why not let these two sweet, deserving street dogs live here and have a home base and two squares a day.
Was I being rational? Probably not, but as I like to say, logic lost and love won. Now, most nights the M&Ms sleep outside in our gated walkway and are becoming great watchdogs. During the day, they are free to roam their favorite streets in the hood but I let them stay in the house if they want, on the hottest days.
Because of my accidently winding up with two more dogs, I have come to appreciate the reason why a lot of people in SMA have three, four, five, six, or like my friends, Judi and Paul, who own Ruby’s mom, seven dogs. It sneaks up on you, and if you have a big heart for animals, well, you’re in trouble, or one might say heaven, living in Mexico.
Years ago, American ex-pats in SMA began a free spaying and neutering program. Another neighbor with a gargantuan heart for dogs has an adoption service that, besides finding them homes, fixes all the dogs that come her way. Believe it or not, she currently has around seventy dogs in her care — yes, seventy dogs!
Ruby, of course, is thrilled with her family of one human, one feral-ish cat, and three big playful dogs. And you know who is also surprisingly thrilled with this new situation? Pearl the Magnificent! She has gone from not giving one tiny shit about other dogs to running and playing with her street pals, M&M, and her little baby Ruby.
For Pearl, moving here has been wonderful, but her momma Lorraine, is still having a hard time adjusting. I have no problems with living in a foreign country; I lived in Spain in my early twenties. My challenge is finding friends I identify with. Finding one’s tribe in a new place is difficult and an especially tricky thing to do at my age. Even my doctor confided that it took her three years to find her tribe, and she was young, with a husband.
A little woo-woo news: I had a lady shaman come to my house three weeks ago. Yep, I’m a believer in this stuff. In fact, I have a friendly female ghost named Omilia (according to the shaman, that’s her name) who made her presence known last August. I won’t go into detail in order not to freak out those who may think I’m a nut, but I am used to haunted houses; in fact, like many Vineyard houses, my old house there was haunted — just ask my neighbor Deborah.
The session with the shaman lady, who came highly recommended, was interesting; as I’ve since learned, consulting a shaman is a common thing to do down here. Legend has it that all of San Miguel de Allende is built on quartz crystals. I tend to believe it, and it is also said, this is one of the reasons so many crazy people are attracted to the area. But, of course, I am not included in this loony-tune demographic, and neither are the handful of people I now consider to be friends.
Nature update: The jacarandas are in full bloom; well, actually they are beginning to wane a bit. But even though their gorgeous purple blooms have begun to fall, paving the cobblestone streets in lavender, they are still beautifying the town. I don’t know which I prefer, the blooms on their branches or on the streets. Both are exquisite.
The monarchs have made their way to their next stop, and the crickets are quieting down, but the hummingbirds are abundant, and the egrets are back nesting in the neighborhood eucalyptus trees. San Miguel is truly a feast for one’s eyes and ears.
I miss my store, my customers, and friends, but I do not miss running a business nor that awful street in front of my house that I privately called I-95! I just heard that my former neighbor, Rosemary, three doors down, had her front porch removed by a speeding car yesterday. Honestly, folks, that road really got to me the last years of living on the island ─ it was becoming impossible to ignore, more dangerous than ever, and hard not to complain about it.
Okay, I fucking hated it! (I’ve been watching too much Netflix and reading daily Jeff Tiedrich’s newsletters, hence the word fuck).
It is beautiful, cozy, and quiet here in my crazy, nutty hood, though the last few weeks have been hotter than usual, and we’re all freaking out a little. May has always been the hottest month, but it seems now to be seeping into late March and all of April. But you never know, it could cool off any day, and Mother Nature could soon bring us an early and long, needed rainy season.
Happy belated spring, everyone, and muchas gracias for reading my Letters from Lorraine!
Lorraine, Pearl, Ruby, Oliver, and the M&Ms
P.S. Next week, I start writing the third and hopefully final draft of my book Miles to San Miguel. During the month of May, I will design the covers, while searching for a publishing company. I’ve decided to avoid rejection and self-publish; who needs that shit at seventy? Certainly not me!
If any of you have suggestions and information concerning self-publishing, I would love to hear them.