A tourist staying in Playa Uverito recently had a very upsetting breakfast. She had taken no more than a few bites from her delicious plate when she happened to notice her audience. Four skeletal beach dogs, so thin that you could barely see them from the front, were watching her with hopeful eyes.
She rose from the table, took her plate, and scraped her breakfast off for the animals. “I can’t eat this when they look like that,” she said. “What can be done?”
Someone told her then about the shelter Leiloni and Mike O’Grady are building on the Playa Uverito beach road. The O’Gradys have rented a small finca there, built some kennels and currently house twenty-plus rescue dogs. One of these is less than a week old. That would be little Booboo.
Unlike many beach dogs, Booboo’s mother Susie actually had a person. Two days after Susie was run over, her person was shocked when four infant pups crawled, whimpering, from a storm drain. As he had no idea how to care for them, he rushed the litter to Loni and Mike who immediately began warming and feeding them. Unfortunately, it was too late for three of the pups, who succumbed within days to hypothermia.
But Booboo is thriving, and will make someone who wants a tiny companion very happy. Which is to say, he will probably be tiny, because his mother Susie was a very small dog.
Booboo is one of the lucky ones. He will have a happy life, with nothing but his first few days as horrible trauma. Others were not so lucky, but their luck has changed. Consider Homer, who is now eating regularly and getting medication for his erlichiosis (a deadly tick-borne disease common to dogs in Panama). Can that be the same dog?
And there is the pitiful little fellow who was thrown from a moving car. His head is healed now, and he is doing fine. Perhaps someone will find room in their heart for him soon.
But, I did say these dogs had changed their luck, didn’t I? Loni and Mike REALLY like dogs. They are Dog People, big-time. Nothing I could say would describe it better than this picture.
They need help with this project, of course. Saving starving throwaways and re-homing them is a big job. Volunteers to help bathe, de-tick and pick up poop are always welcome. There’s lots of poop. Especially welcome are donations of dog food or money to help with veterinary costs. (The Drs. Vega of Las Tablas donate their time and often treat the dogs at cost, but the meds do cost. Could you help with that?)
Even better, do YOU have room in your heart and life for someone who will love you unconditionally and protect you without question for the rest of its life? Right now, Loni and Mike only have room for twenty. Loni has plans: “When this dog leaves, I can take the black one down by Posada del Mar that has been so beat up, and the other one who…”
Oh, by the way, the tourist went out and bought a giant bag of dog food.
Loni and Mike will have a website where you can stay current on their efforts and post your thoughts and opinions. It should be up by the time you are reading this. And you’re always welcome at the finca. Look for AdoptADogAzuero.com. Tell them I said to stop by.