Associates' Best Friend

13 February 2006
4:55 PM

In the afternoon heat, Memo lies down for a nap. See more photos of Memo on Flickr.

This is the second in a series of snapshots of life in Pocuro.

Through the years that associates have come and left out house in Pocuro there has been one constant: Memo. Memo (“Bill”), short for Guillermo (“William”), is our enduring house dog. And what a dog he is: after 10 years, he’s got unchangeable idiosyncrasies that you tend to associate with age. He lives outside and liberates himself from the yard through an unpatchable—we’ve tried—hole in the back fence to stroll around the neighborhood. He hates water and baths, but regularly douses himself in the irrigation ditch by our house. He likes barking at and sniffing other dogs, but he’s really a big coward. He makes a more diverse range of sounds that just about any dog I know.

So they have a dog, you think, big deal. The funny things is that Memo really is the community’s dog as much as he is ours. Everyone in our small town seems to know him. When Memo follows me into the nearby store where we buy bread (which is always—I tell him not to, but he doesn’t listen to a twenty-something whippersnapper), the storekeeper shoos him out by name. When I was walking through the neighborhood I heard a little girl say to her mom, “Look Mom, it’s Memo!” I even heard that Memo was on TV. During a special on Pocuro, a shot showed the Calle Larga plaza when Memo was on one of his roaming fieldtrips there. Now he’s practically a television star.

Everyone also knows that Memo has a mind of his own, so we don’t get blamed for the crazy things he does. Even so, it’s a little embarrassing when Memo strolls through the chapel on Sunday during Mass. But that only happens every now and then. Like on Sunday.

Jack, the Santiago house’s dog.

While I’m talking about our dog in Pocuro, I should also mention Jack, the Santiago house’s dog. Jack is widely acknowledged as the better looking of the two. That’s not saying much for Memo, since Jack has just three legs; I don’t make the facts, I just report them. Jack is also more stranger-friendly than Memo. While Memo only lets established friends pet him, Jack will jump on anyone’s lap indiscriminately so long as you’ll pet him. I suppose the moral of this story is that people will like you if you’re friendly, even if you’re one leg short.