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Conchita Updates

Update...Conchita in Canada

     Conchita is in Canada. In her approximately one and a half years of life she has endured a lot. Yet she has a wonderful disposition.

Aside from being a little bossy she is loving, happy and is learning every day. Including gaining a knowledge of English vocabulary. Known to most as Spanglish.

     Our trip was difficult. She was carsick all the way to the airport. We then had to separate from her and her watch her go through the luggage compartment. Very distressing. I refused to board the Air Transaat plane until the stewardesses assured me that she was safely in the cargo hold. As we took off, I cried. I cried for all the people who are suffering in Cuba, I cried for all the starving, near death, street dogs. I cried for all the horses, oxen and donkeys that work 7 days a week, 12 hours per day, carrying heavy loads in 35 degree heat. Many of them whipped constantly. And I worried and fretted about Poor Conchita.

      When she landed she was absolutely delighted. She liked the airport and never once (even until now) soiled her bed or did her business inside.
     Customs checked her papers and we paid our $30 "immigration" fee for her. We had to give up her dog food.

     The Wyndham hotel were delighted to accommodate a Cuban dog and upon arrival we were given a dog package complete with bowls, a dog mat, a collar and leash and a huge down pillow for her to sleep on. This is one AMAZING hotel and I cannot recommend it enough.

      Conchita has funny quirks. She barks at lawnmowers and motorcycles. The noise perhaps reminds her of the noisy motorbikes in Santiago. When she arrived here she was somewhat put off by rain and wet grass. She does not like stepping on wet grass.

      Oscar, our other dog is extremely tolerant and it is almost like we have brought him "a bride". They play endlessly until bed/basket time.
She nibbles on his ear and is quite jealous of any attention he or the other cats receive.

      Conchita has been spayed but has some puzzling medical problems. So we are not quite out of the woods yet. But of course I do not regret bringing her for one second.


Olga was sad to see Conchita leave. Every day we came to visit her at Olgas. We brought her kennel and showed Olga and her son how to encourage Conchita to sleep in it, by placing food inside. Conchita would remain at Olga's until the last day and we jokingly said to Olga, that maybe we could find another dog to bring to her. We wanted to continue supporting her financially and I knew that if I could find a suitable, friendly street dog in one week, I would do it.

      Every night as we walked the streets, we saw lots and lots of dogs, many of them were busy scavenging food, or going about their business.
By the 4th day, I was beginning to think that we would not have a replacement for Conchita when I saw an extremely skinny dog a few yards away. I grabbed my bag. Pulled out some eggs, bread and cheese and threw it at the starving dog. The dog choked it down and I thought that maybe this would be a suitable candidate for Olga. I began to stroke his head. Suddenly he grabbed my arm and bit me. I'd forgotten that one must never disturb a dog whilst they are eating.

      His teeth had punctured my skin quite deeply and I knew that we must visit the tourist medical clinic. I needed 6 rabies shots in the course of a month.
      Two days before our departure from Cuba, we decided to head to our favourite salsa dance club. It had been stormy and it kept raining heavily.

It was warm rain, but nevertheless, the streets were slippery and drains were filling up. As we waited to cross the road, I felt a warm patch of fur on my foot. I looked down to see a small dog. At first I was hesitant to touch her. . But she refused to move from my foot and I touched her gently.

She looked like a cockapoo. Her body was wet, I scooped her up and said to my husband. "It doesn't look like we are going dancing tonight"

We grabbed a cab and got off out at Olga's house. Judging by the matted fur we reckoned that this little dog had been on the streets for a good few months. Olga opened the door and we handed the little dog to her. What do you want to call her I asked.

     "I shall name her 'Dorita' ," she said. (Dorita is a lady here in Vancouver, who had sent a card and some money for Olga and her family.)

     Dorita is living happily with Olga, Ruven and Family.

Update...Conchita's health

     Upon meeting Conchita, one would never realize that there are some health problems that have come up. She is gentle, active and lavishes attention on everyone she meets. However, after numerous visits to several veterinarians, a (generously volunteered) abdominal ultrasound and other tests Conchita was diagnosed with a round cell tumour.

     Having come this far, and with Conchita being a young dog, we decided that there was no turning back.

     Chemotherapy using the agent vinchristine is effective in shrinking such a tumour and the prognosis for complete remission is promising. Despite being probed and prodded, Conchita remains a sweet gentle soul. She enthusiastically darts into the animal hospital anxious to snack on liver brownies. So far she has had 2 treatments and the tumour appears to be shrinking.


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