I included the videos because I think they so clearly depict what a regal and controlled dog he is. He captured my heart.
As I spent more time there, I also noticed the bond that he and LaGuera (the smallest dog there) had. So whatever plan we come up with for the relocation of these dogs, Tontin and LaGuera must remain together. Learn more about Guera.
It took some time, but Tontin finally began to accept me. I still could not approach him, however, but when I would come at feeding time, eventually he would wag his tail at me.
Tontin and the rest of the dogs have been living at the complex for four or five years or more. They ignore the people who come and go, they slink away when owners and their dogs walk by. But they vigorously chase away other street dogs who try to come into the complex!
Solovina is the shyest and wariest of all the dogs. The impression I got of her is that she lives in fear, almost all the time. It was heartbreaking to watch. I tried very had to earn her trust. It took two years for Pepe (the man who takes dogs off the street, sterilizes them, lets them recuperate at his home, then releases them where he found them) two years to capture her. She is elusive and smart.
I believe that she could be socialized, but she would have to be captured, contained and the person would have to be very patient while earning her trust. I would like to see this life for her. Dogs want to be loved, they want to be social and be part of a pack. Solovina has found her pack and I think she likes being around the people, she just can’t bring herself to fully trust.
She does not interact with the other dogs. She stays near, but not too close. She often goes off on her own and she tends to want to eat away from the others. She will pick up her bowl and move it farther away. This video shows one of the few times I saw her express something close to joy.
And then there’s Mancha. A completely sunny, joyful, friendly and peaceful dog. I guess I would call him the clown of the group. He runs up to me baring his teeth–that is his smile! He’s pretty lazy, too. He is often sprawled on his side, seemingly without a care in the world. He likes to sprawl like this next to the guard shack, oblivious to the comings and goings, the clanging of the gate and the never-ending stream of cars.
I spent 35 days at the complex and my only “job” was to interact with and observe the dogs, while trying to figure out a way to improve their lives and make them safer. They are still living on their own. Some people don’t like that they are there and I worry about their safety. Which is why, even though I had to come home without them, I’m still working on a situation for them.
All four of them became very precious to me and it was quite emotional as I pulled out of the gate for the last time, unsure if I would ever see them again. I hope you have come to know them a bit, and love them, as I do.