Perla was “presented” to us at one of our feeding stations. She’s definitely homeless, but she is very close friends with another dog who does have a family.
One day as we were making our rounds, a young man walked up and asked us who we were and what we were doing. The young man’s reaction was a very heart warming appreciation. His own dog was running around and playing with a group of other dogs, mostly male, who were showing a great deal of interest in a young female. The young man told us that the female was a street dog that he knew very well, and how she accompanies him and his dog on their travels around town. He had given her a name, Perla, which is the Spanish word for “pearl”.
Over time, and despite her very young age, Perla had already had several litters, and the young man knew that this was not a good thing. Judging from her scars and badly chewed ears, it was apparent that Perla had experienced some pretty rough treatment from feral male gangs during her vulnerable moments.
The young man also pointed out the obvious. Perla was on the brink of yet another heat.
We made arrangements for Perla to see Dr. Miguel on the following day, and the young man agreed that he’d meet us at the feeding station with Perla during our next set of rounds. All went according to plan. He returned the next day with Perla by his side, helped us get her into the truck, and a day and half later Perla was returned to where we first met her; vaccinated, sterilized, and ready to rejoin her canine and human friends.
In Guatemala there is an expression that is used very often for getting things done. Poco a poco, meaning little by little.