So about 2 weeks ago I decided to join the long line of Peace Corps Volunteers before me by getting a pet, in my case a puppy.
When I got back from my great Lake Hopping adventure at Laguna Parón with some other Peace Corps Volunteers in Áncash, I headed straight home to my host family. I was pretty tired, so I ate some food in our kitchen before going up to our tienda to just relax a bit. When I was up in the tienda, a few of the neighborhood kids came into the store to buy some food; eggs, tuna, oil, limes, tomatoes, gum, candy, etc. One little girl was holding an adorable brown puppy, but despite my questions, she shyly avoided telling me its name or even where she had found it. My host-mother eventually came up the tienda (store) and got the little girl to talk, and found out they had just found the puppy on the street, presumably abandoned because she was an hembra (female).
Then, surprisingly, the little girl thrust the puppy in my host-mom’s arms and said “Tómala, mi mamá no la quiere” (take her, my mom doesn’t want her around). My host-mom turned to me, handed me the puppy, and said “Mira, acá está tu perra” (Look, here is your dog!). I had been wanting a puppy for sometime, so I was thrilled by this unexpected turn of events. The funniest part of this moment however was when my host-mom decided to regalar a la chica (give to the girl) a huge bag of mangos; I got a puppy in exchange for mangos. Only in the Peace Corps would something so odd and funny happy haha.
She was very shy for the first few days, skittering away at any noise or sudden movement, but over the next few evenings I would sit outside reading my Kindle with her on my lap to try and get her accustomed to my presence. She was a shy little girl, but in time she began to come out of her shell.
When I first saw her, I was just drawing blanks about what I would call her. She looks like a chocolate lab mix, so I wanted to avoid all of the chocolate lab cliché names like chocolate, hershey, mocha, etc., but I couldn’t think of something that seemed to fit. Finally, after about 3 days of thought, I settled on a name for my new pup: Hazel Leia (had to get a nerd reference in somewhere with her).
Now almost 2 weeks later she is quite well adjusted and no longer runs at every noise and sudden movement. For the first 2 weeks, her diet consisted of food scraps/bread, but she is now making the transition to real dog food, despite the questioning glances of my host-family. I fed her the dog food for the first time last night and she immediately ate it without hesitation; she was extremely hungry. She is a little underweight and seems to have some fleas, so as soon as she puts on some weight, I will be off to find a vet and some anti-flea shampoo in Caraz so I can get her happy and healthy.
I plan to document her growth over the next 18 months on this blog to the best of my ability. But in the meantime, I plan to just get her healthy and properly trained.
Until next time,