December 22, 2006

Merry Solstice! ... and meet Tope!

Merry Solstice!

Meet the newest addition to the Bennon family: Tope. Pronounced TOE-pay. Tope, in Spanish, means “bump.” And all the speed bumps in Mexico, of which there are many, are called “topes.” So when we’re driving and we see a sign that says “TOPE, 300 m” we say “tope, tope, tope!” because it’s important that the driver be aware they are approaching a tope, since we may be going 50 miles an hour or more (the topes occur on highways as you are approaching a town), and the tope may be a gnarly one. Most of them are.

So we said, “Some day, we’re going to name a dog Tope. That would be funny. Dogs are kind of like Topes after all. ‘Hey, watch out for that Tope on the floor’” – a.k.a., the dog taking a nap that you just tripped over.

And so we did. There are many stray dogs in Guaymas, but in November we saw one near our house that was very small, cute, gentle, a little wary of us, and hungry. So we fed her. And then the next day we fed her again. And the next day we left out food and water. And then one day we didn’t see her and we were worried. And then we realized we had essentially adopted a dog, because we cared about her enough that we couldn’t just leave her out to starve or get hit by a car or whatever. But we didn’t want another dog ourselves… so we thought about it, and we hit upon the idea of Brady’s parents. They needed another dog, anyway. There house had dwindled from four to two in the last few years. They were experiencing a doggy drought, and we had the remedy.

So, to quote a 5-year-old Brady – who once happened upon a stray kitten in San Diego and said to his parents, who had just lost their cat, “That looks like a cat we could use” – we said, “That looks like a dog Jeff and Ann could use.”

Brady and Natalie took a picture of Tope and emailed it to Jeff and Ann. They didn’t commit, but they didn’t say no, which essentially meant, ‘We don’t want to say yes, but we can’t say no. So, yes.’ They came down the next week for Thanksgiving, a trip that had been planned for some time. They saw Tope and got hooked just as we did, and Jeff started feeding her canned dog food and asking us to call the vet in Mexico to set her up with shots, etc, and make sure she wasn’t terribly ill, or pregnant, or nursing. The vet decided she was about a year old, gave her all the necessary shots and a relatively clean bill of health, and she left for Tucson as a Bennon dog.

For the first several days in Tucson she was very docile and just laid around and looked cute. But one day, she started yelping when Ann touched her stomach. Ann took her to the vet and it turned out she was pregnant, but the babies had aborted themselves and her uterus had become infected, so she needed surgery right away or would die. Well, the surgery went fine and, after a hefty vet bill (sorry Jeff and Ann…) and a few days of recovery, she was a bounding, energy-filled, happy, destructive puppy. Turned out the docileness was actually illness.

Some of you are probably thinking: What a bad idea, adopting a little dog from Mexico, who could have diseases and who knows what, and oh, yup, look she was pregnant and she cost Jeff and Ann a bunch of money for the surgery. It would have been better just to leave her there.

But, while we can’t save all the poor puppies in Mexico, nor would we try, we saved this one super cute, sweet, gentle one who successfully used the only things she had – her looks and her wit – to save herself from certain death. Which really makes her no different from any of us.

We want to send out a special thanks to Brady’s parents, Jeff and Ann, to whom we are forever indebted for saving Tope.

Tope says, “Merry Solstice and Happy New Year to all of you, my new extended friends and family.” (She's learning English quickly).

And of course for more pictures, click here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm now officially weeping at my desk. Tope is so sweet looking, and your story is so beautifully written! When I was in junior high we went as a family to Puerto Penasco for New Year's Eve, and I fell in love with a little dog that looked just like Tope, only 1/2 her size. I named her Ginger and begged to take her home with us, but no go.