Proud Flesh

followed only by the plume of her tail

followed only by the plume of her tail

“In dark times, the eye begins to see.”

                                  Theodore Roethke

Shortly after I returned from the U.S., I set out with my dogs , Lilly and Moechi, on our favorite walk . The walk begins on a gravel thruway, turns into a farm road and ends in a mountain trail passable only on foot, or hoof. When I turned onto the trial I noticed Lilly wasn’t with us, I called her, and when she arrived she was shaking and foaming at the mouth. Somewhere in that remote and lovely landscape she’d found poison. She was dying.

I was memorizing Jane Hirshfield’s, For What Binds Us, as we walked.  I’ve had a very difficult time continuing with this poem, or even going for a walk since her death. But it is so appropriate, I wanted to share it. I admit I used a cheat sheet to make the video.

I’ve questioned my choice to allow my dogs to be free, since I’ve lost four in two years  to poison and disease.  I don’t know that the answer is sufficient or responsible, but, it’s because they are campo dogs. Freedom is their life.  I know, though not as safe, they are happier than the poor dogs I walked in the U.S. that spent hours in their crates every day.

Long ago, I decided my responsibility was to aid in the fulfillment of their daily lives, not the near impossible safeguarding of their future. After Elvis was implicated in the death of a calf and became a public enemy , I tried keeping him on a leash, watching him constantly if he wasn’t; I made him stay indoors at night (no one got a good night sleep). But it only took a rabbit sighting to send him deep into the woods if I wasn’t hyper-vigilant. Finally, I realized I could not watch my dogs all the time, and that even if I had a fenced in yard someone could and likely would throw poison over the fence again someday ; I could not protect them. So I let them live their lives, until it kills them.

I can imagine the look Lilly would have given me if I had tried to keep her on a lease for our walks. I’m sure she would have sat down in the dirt and refused to accompany me in such a degrading position, she was very good at getting her point across.

Good bye Little Bear…I will always save the heart for you…


I will return when I can feel that anything is very simple, very easy, or very good again.




19 thoughts on “Proud Flesh

  1. Aww, Abby. I’m so sorry to hear about Lily. I thought you might already be back home from the states. I wish your homecoming was more feliz. Life is so short, it’s a blessing they can choose to live it so fully. Living life as it should be lived, like an adventure. ❤ Sending you a big hug, Mana.

  2. I think my deepest loss as a child came when my dog died. I still think about him and know he had a good loved life. I feel your pain. Dogs show us a glimpse of Heaven- ever faithful, ever trusting and so happy to see us no matter what.

    • I enjoy the company of a dog much more than most people. I still have my Moechi 🙂 I call her the Amazon, she is the oldest of my dogs, 9 years, a veritable miracle in these parts. I think she understands poison is bad(I’m knocking on wood). She’s only been poisoned once very slightly. She has many other unique survival skills as well. We are walking again, but not on that trail. Likely I will use a leash there, when I return…someday. Thanks for your concern, shares and interaction Dannie.

  3. This and the links provided made very difficult reading. I am so sorry for your loss. Mexico seems to be a very difficult place to keep dogs but I know that there are many countries in the world that don’t share our love of these animals. I wish you well.

    • I feel sorry to write these posts that cause others pain too, Colin.(I assume that is your name form the email, please correct me if its not, seems we should be on a first name basis, no? 🙂 My objective here is to write about life in Mexico, so its sort of unavoidable. Life is difficult here, especially accepting that others don’t share my sensibilities about animals. But I have learn many lessons, many of them hard, though none the less valuable. Thank you for your well wishes, peace to you Colin.

  4. Vaya con Dios Lilly. I am so sorry to hear this. I wish your homecoming had been joyous. I still dream of my two – Noah (a German Shepherd) and Booker (a Vizsla) often even though they left this world over 25 years ago. As Elvis and the others Lilly’s spirit will continue to visit you I’m certain.

    I hope your heart knows peace again soon. Bless you.

    • That is so true Barbara! Lilly has stopped by a couple of times, Elvis often hovers in the periphery of my dreams, like he is keeping guard 🙂 I believe whole heartedly animals pass over, I imagine Lilly and Elvis are very busy taking down goats 😛 horrible I know, but they so loved to hunt. Thanks for your loving comment, besos a

    • Thank you Britt. I am feeling better, doing some walking again, though I haven’t returned to “that” trail. I still have my Moechi, that amazon I call her she seems impervious to the dangers here. peace to you Britt 🙂

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