August 10

Keeping in touch with people is tough. The urgency lasts for a few weeks or months, you want to make sure everyone’s abreast of your activities and stay involved in theirs. Eventually, normal life starts taking over. People continue to go on trips, interact with others on a daily basis, get busy, get tired, get off the computer – and you do the same. Social networking and instant communication have alleviated the disconnect to a point, if you’re available at the same time as an acquaintance, it’s easy to converse. However, there’s only a certain amount of answers to “what’s new?” before you start blending your own days together and losing the novelty of sharing with someone who will never know.

I knew this day would come – when writing in the blog seems like more work than interesting insight I can bring. I have made excuses – I’m too tired, someone’s leaving tomorrow, have to work out, have to practice, have to read, traveling. Just like my excuses for not going to the gym – I’m eating well enough, I feel fine, Aaron’s not here so nobody will know, have to write in the blog – I am ending them tonight. This really is my last string to stateside, and I don’t manually keep in touch well, because that forces me to be tethered to the computer. Also, it’s enjoyable and allows me to reflect on what’s going on. Continue reading

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July -1st

Is it July negative first or is it July zeroth? It certainly isn’t June 30th. Either way, tomorrow is supposed to be the start of the two hottest months down here (weird, I thought it was going to be winter in this hemisphere), which is turning out to be complete mularky. I’m looking at the forecast right now, and it’s 90 today, going down to highs of 87-87-87-86-87 over the next five. Either global warming is a myth like non-assless chaps or seasons don’t act like clockwork just because a human-made calendar decides to change the name of a timeframe. I’m leaning towards the former, and buying a goose-down jacket. Off to things:

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On Strays

Que triste

The subject of stray dogs came up this weekend as there was a pack of them hanging around the hostel in Cabarete, and I was thinking out loud that a humane solution would be to cull them. Stray dogs dominate the Dominican Republic, in barrios, cities, rural areas, and beaches. They spend their entire lives peddling for food, hunting through and eating trash on the side of the road, and drinking water out of stagnant pools of algae. They are generally ignored by the human population as they don’t seem to possess aggressive demeanors, and don’t strive for affection. Still, a large percentage of them must carry some sort of disease and since most of them don’t look old (not a professional dog-ager, however), I assume they don’t live for too long before finding a dark alley to pass away.

My case for culling is predicated on the complete absence of a spayed or neutered population, which means they must still promote species reproduction. It’s for the puppies, I say. I actually see far fewer puppies than I do juvenile or adult dogs, but many females have the traits of having multiple litters or are pregnant at the time. It’s not fun to see, really, and I would like to see the vicious cycle slow down a little bit. Also, Dominicans drive like crazy, so they live in constantly perilous conditions and probably suffer far slower and more painful ends than a quick (euthanasia) shot. Sickness, blunt force trauma, and generally poor living conditions seems like no way to live for future generations of street dogs. I was pretty much alone in my view, and from what I gathered it was for a couple reasons.

First, it’s not a very comfortable thing to think about willingly ending the lives of so many (or any) domesticated dogs, and I agree.  Through owning  a couple dogs growing up and seeing them both put down, it’s not fun at all. However, when we euthanised our Great Dane puppy at eight years old, she had gone through a couple hip surgeries, cried every time she had to get up to use the bathroom, and spent most of her days within a yard radius, I don’t think for once that we should have kept her in pain for the happiness of owning her for another day. That was two days before Christmas, and it sucked, but  sometimes the harder thing to do is the right one.

The second reason I gather is that we don’t know how bad their lives are, which is true. Although their lives are really rough, they do have a few things going for them. They live in a tropical environment and never need to search for warmth, generally have a lot of trash to look through, and are left alone for the most part by humans. Even through the hostel, these dogs are normal, they play with eachother and run around and spend most of their time resting. I’ve even come across colmados with dogs lying on the ground, so some are adopted strays – just “housing challenged”.

In the end, I don’t know. They always look to be in rough shape, but that’s coming from a perspective where my country’s population spends $50 billion annually on their pets. Also, they’re so darn cute.

I dedicate this post to our two canine family members, Risky and Galaxy, who never did learn to read.

More reading:

– Angel: A Happy, Healthy Stray

– Devil: Baghdad

Reading: Travesía, Melvin Mañon

Listening: Broken Boy Soldiers, The Raconteurs

Dominicanismo: Huevos revoltiaó – Scrambled eggs

Pupu

Pupu comes from the Dominicanismo “Pucha”, which is just a general nickname for someone you like or adore. It’s similar to “sweetie”, or “honey”, or “Hey, you”. ‘Pucha’ is the name of the 3-year old Rottweiler/Swiss Shephard mix that my landlady has. Pupu is her grandson.

In American, “pupu” it is what a toddler calls excrement. This Pupu takes very well to that meaning. I woke up at 3:30 this morning, checked to make sure he was still there chilling, which he was at the foot of my bed. I then saw that I dropped something near my desk, and didn’t want him to choke on anything, so I grabbed my phone and turned on the light. I didn’t drop anything, he did. I think he unloaded about half his bodyweight onto my floor. Anyways, that’s fine, having stone floors should make things easy on the clean-up. He also peed on my floor, but that’s almost not even worth mentioning.

How can you hate when he’s just so cute, though?

Reading: Stranger in a Strange Land

Listening: Domínguez, Silvio Rodríguez

Dominicanismo: Pelota – Baseball (as opposed to ‘beísbol’). Also, the field is called a ‘play’