His name is Virgilio

My friend Rosario, a filmmaker and organizer of La Pause cinéma project based in Paris, sent me this email from her hometown of Salta, Argentina where she is visiting family:

My dear Christine,

I woke up today and decided to go read the newspaper and have a good cup of coffee. On the way I found a dog looking very sad and hardly able to walk. I saw he had a horrible wound on the leg. I didn’t know what to do. There are a lot of street dogs in Argentina. I decided to take him to the vet. A friend of my mom’s saw me and kindly took us in her car (she’s another animal lover).

The vet gave him antibiotics, washed the wound, gave him something for the pain, the parasites and the fleas. We took him back to my mom’s house. He’s outside because my mom already has two dogs and a cat, but he’s safe and has a roof to protect him from the rain. I fed him, gave him water and took care of him all day.

I wrote a few messages to some friends here. I can keep him for a few days but I need to find him a home. He’s old and he needs to get off of the streets. Everyone answered something, saying they will ask around. One of my friends that just moved to a house outside the city with a garden (she has two dogs, a cat and a turtle) told me she will take him this weekend.

I was surprised to have all these people helping just because I stopped to do something. It made me think of you and what you are doing with your blog and I realized that good has to start somewhere.

Fabio saw the picture I sent and said: “His name is Virgilio?”

Mr.V3

In some cases dogs like this have always been on the street, but sometimes they were lost or abandoned. During the holidays, people use fireworks and doggies get really scared so they run away. That is how they end up in different parts of the city. According to what people in the area told me, Virgilio is one of them. He arrived in the neighborhood just after the New Year. Everyone agrees he is very kind. Some street dogs are aggressive and you have to be careful.

He looks like a dog who had a family once because he likes being around humans. But I cannot know. He has been on the streets for quite some time now. He looks happier today but doesn’t like not being able to go out for a walk. I will take him for a walk once I buy a collar. His leg is very wounded. I have being taking care of it with sugar. I didn’t know that it was useful to heal a wound (everyone here knows that).

virgilioQuerida Christine,

Hoy me desperté y decidí salir para leer el diario y tomar un café rico en el bar de la esquina. En el camino, me encontré con un perro que tenía una cara muy triste y que casi no podía caminar. Vi que tenía una herida muy fea en su pata. No sabía qué hacer. En Argentina hay muchos perros en la calle. Decidí llevarlo al veterinario. Una amiga de mi mamá que me vio, se ofreció amablemente a llevarnos en su auto (es otra persona que ama a los animales).

El veterinario le dio antibióticos, le lavó la herida, le dio algo para el dolor, para los parásitos y para las pulgas. A la vuelta, lo llevamos a la casa de mi madre. Está en el jardín de afuera porque ella tiene ya dos perros, pero está a salvo y tiene un techo que lo protege de la lluvia. Lo alimenté, le di agua y me ocupé de él durante el día.

Escribí algunos mensajes a amigos que viven aquí. Puede quedarse unos días pero necesito encontrarle un hogar. Está viejito y necesita salir de la calle. Todos contestaron algo, diciendo que preguntarían a sus conocidos. Una de mis amigas que acaba de mudarse a una casa fuera de la ciudad con un jardín (y tiene dos perros, un gato y una tortuga) me dijo que podía llevárselo este fin de semana.

Me sorprendió que todas estas personas ayuden solamente porque me detuve a hacer algo. En seguida pensé en lo que estás haciendo con tu blog y me di cuenta de que lo bueno tiene que empezar en algún lugar.
 

Fabio vio la foto que mandé y me dijo: ¿Se llama Virgilio?

En algunos casos, perros como él estuvieron siempre en la calle, pero aveces se perdieron o fueron abandonados. Durante las fiestas de fin de año la gente tira cuetes y los perritos se asustan entonces se escapan. Así terminan en distintas partes de la ciudad. Según la gente de por aquí, Virgilio es uno de ellos. Llegó al barrio justo después de Año nuevo. Todos están de acuerdo en que es muy bueno. Algunos perros de la calles son agresivos y hay que tener cuidado.

Parece ser un perro que tuvo una familia alguna vez porque le gusta estar entre seres humanos. Pero no puedo saberlo. Se nota que hace tiempo que está en la calle. Parece más contento hoy pero no le gusta el hecho de no salir a la calle. Lo llevaré a pasear cuando le compre un collar. Su pata está muy herida. La estuve cuidando con azúcar. No sabía que sirve para cicatrizar (todos lo saben aquí)

Thanks to Rosario Gallo for this post in two languages! She wrote again this morning with an update: “I had a day when Virgilio wanted to leave and I thought I was keeping him like a hostage! It was the day you wrote about the lady and the street and I felt the same thing, I didn’t know if I was really helping. Today was better and Virgilio is very happy. My friend who is taking him this weekend came to visit him and she’s already in love with him. I went two other times to the vet and she didn’t charge me at all. She was happy to see Virgilio again.”

Uno de estos días Virgilio quería irse y pensé que lo estaba teniendo como un prisionero. Fue el día en que escribiste sobre la señora en la calle y sentí lo mismo que vos. No sabía si lo estaba ayudando realmente. Hoy fue un día mejor y Virgilio está muy contento. Mi amiga que lo adoptará y se lo llevará este fin de semana vino a verlo y ya está enamorada. Fuimos dos veces más a la veterinaria y no nos cobró nada. La doctora estaba contenta de ver de nuevo a Virgilio.

This story reminds me of an art project I once heard about called You Am I Am You. The artist made collars and put them on as many Thai street dogs as possible. Although his gesture was not a cure-all, it was a sign of care and belonging that apparently helped a lot of the animals avoid being rounded up by the dogcatcher and taken to death row.
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