Remembering the Day I Found Taco
(San Diego CA, USA)
It was an Indian Summer day, late in the afternoon in early October 1999, when I listened to my phone machine. I realized several neighbors were concerned with a lost, scared white dog. I went to the service road near my building where I found many people who were trying to get this dog on a leash, but he looked as though he would bite them because he was really very scared.
I took "Taco" to my apartment after several hours of coaxing, food and water. I even got my harrier beagle to show the dog that I loved dogs and therefore he might not be so afraid.
It was very rough because the management of the apartment building had let me keep one dog. Two would be something else. God and St. Francis of Assisi were helping when I got provisional permission to keep the newly arrived dog, which I named Taco. He was unusual looking. Large eyes, one brown and one blue. I noticed that the blue one looked like it was empty when the sun shone on his face. In fact, it was an "albino eye" and he didn't have much vision in it. He was about 1 or 2 years old.
Soon I deduced with the help of the veterinarian that he was used to bait large dogs in illegal dog fights. He had marks on him. A lifelong fear of all dogs would continue. He knew that at home he was in the territory of my first dog Reggie and acted cautiously. Outside, however, he growled, barked and became enormously fearful of all other dogs.
I realized immediately that he must stay with me because he was unadoptable and I could not bear to think that he would be put down, especially after all the misery from the beginning of his life. I also started to belief that he was originally rejected by his mother, possibly because of his partial blindness and because throughout his life he kneaded a blanket on my bed as if he were a newborn dog being fed by its mother.
Taco was also aggressive to people. If someone got too close, he would try to bite them. I learned to keep him tethered on the leash but he managed to get to a few people. After he knew someone
he actually showed them love and affection.
As time went on I began to analyze his rare looks and personality, wanting to know what type of mix he was. With mixed breeds it is very difficult to know and more difficult to be sure. But again Taco was so original that I saw he possessed the Basenji trot when walking, the Husky who uses his front legs to push the snow under him and the obvious Corgi front legs which turned outward just like Corgi legs do. To add to this unraveling mystery his multi-colored eyes were Husky and his body shape and tail were very much like a Basenji. Taco was really a mixture that never blended. He was just several individual dogs in one.
It was often difficult to walk the two dogs together as I had to be very proactive in keeping Taco out of the reach of everyone. But I came to love him in spite of his faults, for which I understood the basis and reasons.
During the blackout on the East coast in August 2003, Reggie started to walk with difficulty and then yelped in pain when he had to get up. Within 24 hours he was not able to stand at all. The vet that I used made house calls and he gave Reggie some steroids. His condition got worse.
I had to have him moved by a special vet ambulance to another doctor because mine told me he would be on vacation. The following Tuesday I had to let my beloved beloved Tick Beagle go to Heaven. I felt heartbroken and was in great despair.
Taco helped me just by being there.
Three weeks ago he started walking with a limp. He was examined by a vet, and seemed to walk well for several days. Then he limped only to walk better later. Last Thursday night he went under the bed and groaned and whimpered all night.
X-rays at the vet hospital were taken and the vet told me he had a tumor on the spleen and that because of his age and the kind of tumor he had the prognosis was very poor. I stayed with him at the hospital all night long. I allowed them to give him transfusions as his spleen was bleeding out into his viscera.
He seemed to perk up but on Sunday just before I was going to see him and with the intention of "letting him go" as he was failing in the morning, they called to tell me he was gone.
This is Monday evening and I am still in shock and of course I have cried, and yes, cried out his name. I am just starting the process of grieving him. I came to love him so very much, this little dog who was so "unadoptable."
I will love him eternally. I hope and pray that I and all my dogs and pets can spend Eternity together.