Friday evening, 7:30pm, I slipped into a bit of a staring jag after I paid for the piece of cake at Café Rama. A middle-aged Mexican couple caught my attention, eating their dinner at a small, window-side table. They were leaning in towards each other as she chatted a mile a minute, both eating their dinner, which is what caught my eye. The kicker was that the woman was engaged in an enlightening conversation on her phone, tucked under her chin, as she ate her dinner looking straight through her husband. “How odd,” I mumbled as I gazed at them both. “Aqui tienes,” the joven behind the counter handed me a piece of carrot cake and out the door I went.
Swooooooosh, I stepped into slow motion as my head spun around. I looked to my right, I looked to my left, Henry was not near the door, where I had left him moments ago. Just as I’ve done a million times over the years. Henry isn’t a roamer, he doesn’t trot away, he never leaves my side, well, not since I had him neutered in 1987 –errr 2004. He’s a very well-behahaved dog and he’s also 13 years old, so he’s in no hurry, ever. I stood there in a stupor; my fever was still high and I really was in no shape to be out in public; I had been battling the worst flu of my life all week, and in fact this trip out was to finally buy some drugs at the farmacia because I could take the pain no longer. My thinking was fuzzy. “Where did I leave him?” I spun around in a circle. I went back inside and asked if they saw my dog. “Yes, we allow dogs, he’s probably here.” I took a spin around the place, Henry was not inside, which I knew because Henry doesn’t go anywhere without asking me. I was speechless.
This is not a busy street, in fact it was about two blocks away from home. I went up one block and two mariachi fellas were practicing on a bench. “Have you seen a little white dog run by here, wearing a leash?” “No, no ma’am.” I went to the other side of the block where a family had pulled their truck over to sell their hand-carved wood headboards, “did you see a little white dog walk by here, wearing a leash?” No, no dog.
Henry had vanished.
I was in shock when I arrived back home a few minutes later and asked Reed if Henry had arrived before me, “What? No, Henry’s not here.” Holy crap. Henry was dognapped!
Dognapping is big, easy money in Mexico; our little pampered pooches are a big bullseye for easy money to desperate thieves. They know all they have to do is swipe a dog, keep it for a few days for panic to surge, call for ransom, then arrange a hand off.
The first thing I did on this rainy Friday night was make a sign to post in Facebook. Then I posted the sign in Adopciones Perrunas San Miguel de Allende and Rescue San Miguel: Saving Lives One Dog at a Time. It was a Friday night, so there was not much else I could do. Except worry. And toss around all night.
Were they being mean to him? Was he out in the rain? Will they feed him? Was a angry dog going to beat him up? Or rape him? All my fears became louder and louder as the weekend inched by. This is a nasty little crime, yet don’t expect any help from the police; there are actual people being kidnapped all over this country for Pete’s Sake. Ahhh, but the social networks are alive and kicking, and many of my friends and acquaintances shared the message of the missing Henry in no time. How grateful I am for lightning-fast stretches of the social networks. I met some new friends along the way too!
And now, the waiting game. A little time needs to pass; the panic needs to surge. This is Mexican time and do NOT try to rush it.
Saturday morning I put signs up all over town and placed an ad at the radio station. The entire town listens to the local radio station, so when you lose anything or need to make an announcement, the radio station is where you go. I spent the rest of the weekend pacing and trying to recover from the flu; it didn’t work out so well because I was a runny, sneezy, teary mess. Sunday arrived with no new news, except my panic was ramping up.
Oye Hark! The call came in around 3pm Sunday afternoon; the woman had Henry, wanted to know how much was the ransom, and to let us know we had to pay for her taxi to return the dog. (grrrrrrrr)
$35 Print a copy of the original sign
$20 Make copies for distribution in Centro
$480 XESQ Radio San Miguel ad ($120 per announcement; I ran 4 ads)
$1,500 Ransom, puta madres!
$60 Taxi for Coyote (this was when I wanted to slap her, the nerve)
$2,051 Mexican Pesos
$120 US Dollars
Although it only cost roughly $120 to get Henry home, it was a very stressful and long weekend of worrying about his safety and whereabouts. Mexico has a way of reminding you who is in charge and it is never you, no matter what measures, nor precautions you take. The very legs of this wild-west country are built on corruption, yet for the most part, I admire Mexico and am calling it my home, with Reed, for now. Henry’s dognapping was a reminder not get too comfortable, because Mexico will always pull the rug our from under you. Donnie Trump may want to watch his back because the country also has ways of exacting revenge that I wouldn’t even wish on that baffoon.
People move here because of a lack of rules (sure, there are other reasons), but there’s a price for that lack of structure, as in things that disappear in the middle of the afternoon. And then I find myself questioning whether or not I’m a fit dog parent, onto shaming myself for ignoring him all those times I went out carousing and left him on his own. Brutal. Henry didn’t reminisce about any of this nonsense; he, naturally, was THRILLED to see me when he arrived home
It’s no scene from Law & Order, but the moment Henry was returned by the Coyote:
It was a huge lesson in the importance of being aware at all times, something I take great pride in, as I am a big proponent of strengthening my six senses. This particular day was especially off for me because all of my senses were compromised due to the flu; my throat was super-swollen, nose plugged, eyes watering, ears jammed, skin crawling; my 6th sense was practically DOA, and yet Mexico chose to kick me when I was down, as it does. Still, awareness.
While in the restaurant, I focused on the odd couple and how they were so intently ignoring each other, yet had I expanded my focus just outside the window behind them, perhaps I could have seen when Henry’s Captor made the dastardly move. Or not.
Aside from appearing a bit beat and dirty, Henry was the same Happy Little Neurotic Guy, although he did let me hold him a bit longer than usual. I’m getting back on my feet after this bout of flu (or whatever it is, Mexico) and will continue to ask of myself the following, “eyes-see, ears-hear, nose-smell, skin-feel, aura-interact.”
Gotta stay sharp! xx