I started this blog a few weeks ago, hoping to make a contribution toward a better understanding of Cuba. But it has gone downhill fast. And today I'm going to tell you a true tale about a stray dog named Blanquita.
I am an unashamed dog lover and fell in love with Blanquita when I lived in Tarara, east of Havana. She was about the friendliest dog I had ever seen and never seemed to stop wagging her tail. I never saw her angry and rarely heard her bark.
I fed Blanquita - or Blan Blan - and other strays whenever I could. She evidently appreciated that and came to my house along the beach when she felt the need to give birth to a new litter of puppies. And she evidently felt that need quite often.
Blan had 18 puppies at my house - three batches of six puppies each. We kept two puppies and gave the others away.
But Blan wouldn't stay in my yard. She continually hopped the fence, even when she was pregnant and her soft parts were practically dangling along the ground.
The way I figured it, she was a restless soul and missed life on the streets.
Or maybe she was a just a floozy, I used to joke.
Either way, I couldn't tame her, so I let her run free, but not before paying a Cuban vet to spay Blan so she wouldn't have any more pups.
I left Cuba in 2005 and a Canadian woman and her husband managed to adopt Blan Blan and renamed her Dulzura. The way I understand it, they pretty much shut the dog inside the house, so she had no choice but to stay. And before long, Blan got used to this new life, forgot about her vagabond ways and came to appreciate her new owners.
Not knowing Blan had been spayed, they took her to a vet for the same operation. The scar was small and the vet didn't notice until after he put Blan to sleep and cut her open.
That saved the dog, as it turned out, because she had developed some nasty tumors and the vet wouldn't have discovered them without the operation.
I'm telling you all this now because I just got an e-mail from Blan's new owners, Judith Saunders and David Carlin. They tell me Blan - I mean, Dulzura - is fine in Canada. She's quite the snowbird pooch and travels with them to Cuba every year.
Of course Dulzura...has her own fenced yard although she really is totally a house dog and our bed is her favourite place. She does enjoy going off leash to the woods and runs freely for the sheer joy of it. However she is careful to keep us within sight, not wanting to lose her meal ticket.
Judith also sent pictures, posted above.
If the U.S. and Cuba had normal relations, I wonder how many Cuban dogs would be adopted and sent to America?