That dog

28 March 2006
4:15 PM

Dog blood comes out of clothes with hydrogen peroxide, just like human blood. I know this because of Memo. Last night he got into a fight with another dog. “So Memo was the loser,” observed the veterinarian. Indeed. He came home whimpering and missing a not insignificant piece of his right ear. This makes the fight doubly a shame because I have long thought that Memo’s ears are one of his best features.

This morning, faced with a bloody dog, I made an embarrassed phone call to Fr. Fermín. He graciously agreed to help us take Memo to the vet—not the first time—in Los Andes. Emily found some old towels to put down in Fermín’s truck. I, in a rare moment of foresight, changed into my dirty work shirt.

At 10:00am Fermín arrived and we made the 25 minute trip to the vet. Luis, the vet, greeted Memo. I was relieved to learn that the vet wasn’t a stranger; he works part-time at Pascual Babaurizza, the agricultural school where I volunteer and we had become friends. I had no idea that he was a vet too.

Luis muzzled Memo and lifted him onto the exam table. I held Memo, half for comfort, half to keep him from moving, while Luis cleaned the wound. He trimmed the fur off Memo’s ear, sanitized the wound, and applied an antibiotic cream. Then he sprayed Memo’s ear purple with a chemical to keep flies for laying eggs in the wound. I was interested to learn that this precaution was especially necessary because Memo can’t lick his ear—dog’s normal method for keeping cuts clean. Memo wasn’t interested at all. He struggled to escape, pressing his ear against me several times in the process. Which brings us full circle to why I had dog blood on my shirt. I hope you’re pleased to find that it came from helping our dog, not from some psychotic story that I can’t even begin to imagine.

Now Memo is recovering, which is good for him. Lately he’s received more international attention than is healthy for his little dog ego. After I wrote about Memo here, Cristobal, a former associate here, left a comment describing Memo’s origins and younger years. If that weren’t enough, my friend Amanda’s dog Ralph sent a couple doggy snacks to Memo—care of me.

For the brave few, you can a picture of Memo’s ear.