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What gifts these mortals bring

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By Art Trujillo

If you want to drive to Camp Luna to visit, we live on the northwest corner (almost). But if you’re a dog-dropper-off-er, we’ve moved to Honolulu.

Let’s vary the statement somewhat: If you need us, we’ll be at home. It follows, then, that if you don’t need us, we’re elsewhere.

We covered this iffy kind of conditional mood a couple of columns back, implying that people’s intentions determine the physical location or even the name of the other person.

Let me explain:

Three times in the past couple of months we’ve been recipients of the that-looks-like-a-friendly-home syndrome, which means that those dog-gone folks who don’t want to take responsibility for recently hatched animals simply drop them off early in the morning — usually in the Camp Luna area.

That serves a dual purpose: the dog-dropper-off-ers don’t need to worry about spaying, feeding and otherwise caring for the animals, and second, making these matutinal deliveries a distance away virtually guarantees the Fidos won’t find their way back home.

Here are some insights: When our family lived in Cuba, N.M., in the heart of hunting country, the Nacimiento Mountains, we were amazed at how ill so many of the male teachers in our district became on the opening day of hunting season.

Those who returned with some form of wildlife usually effected a miraculous recovery; those who failed to shoot their limit remained ill a while longer. It’s amazing the curative powers of a 30-30 shot into a deer.

Many of the recovering hunters then would dump their dogs near our house, out of town near a forest. The dogs apparently didn’t serve much more of a function for the hunters, and this gave them an excuse to “gift” the rest of us with fine dogs.

In our family we’re primarily cat people, having had dozens of felines around the house, even a couple that reached age 22, or 154 in cat years. While in Cuba, we generally traveled with “Blooper.” One weekend, after Blooper started to make confetti of our carpet, we trimmed her claws.

And at that time, we needed to drop off two German Shepherd mixes at the animal shelter in Santa Fe.

Do we dare combine the trips and mix cats and dogs? We dared, but only after securing the cat tightly in a knotted cardboard box. As we went back into the house — just for a second — we heard howls and growls, and we feared the dogs had torn up the cat.

Well, they’d tried to, and they shredded the cardboard box, but even with blunted claws, Blooper made the hounds pay. They didn’t make a sound the rest of the trip.

At the time, the shelter on Santa Fe’s Cerrillos Road contained an after-hours depository, in which we simply pulled open an empty cage, inserted Rover then closed the self-locking door.

Life was simpler then, not like today, not with all that paperwork that has taken the fun out of the process.

The dogs people donate to us generally come more than one at a time, from the same litter. The latest batch contained four dogs not more than eight weeks old. They must have been dropped off in the field near our house, and we surmise one of the four made its way to our yard and explained that if we were interested, his/her three siblings were in the field, awaiting a whelping hand.

You need to realize that no matter how unattractive, ill-tempered, un-house-broken the animals are, grandkids demonstrate immediate infatuation with the varmints. “Oh, Pompah, can we keep this one, or maybe two of them, or all four?” we hear as the kids hound us with every errant errand the dog-dropper-off-ers make.

“No, we can’t keep even one of them. There already is a dog in the family, Zeus, and we don’t need four more,” we explain, doggedly.

Before the attachments become too strong, we contact animal control officials, who do a remarkable job of transporting and accommodating the animals. Last week, however, we personally carted the dog quartet to the county animal control office, where one of the public works employees, Gina Medina, arranged with the city counterparts for us to use the city dog pound.

It’s great that Gina — who genuinely cares for canines — and Thomas Garza, with the city, managed the animal transfer so professionally. They deserve praise.

But wouldn’t it be better still if people simply took responsibility for their un-neutered, unwanted animals instead of letting us at Camp Luna perform all the honors?

So, if you just want to visit us, we live at Camp Luna. But if you plan to drop off animals, remember — we now reside in Honolulu.

Art Trujillo is a copy editor at the Optic and a contributing member of the newspaper’s Editorial Board. He may be reached by calling 425-6796 or by e-mail to artbt@rezio.net or atrujillo@lasvegasoptic.com.