|Chico on His Way to Recovery|
Unfortunately, Chico (Spanish for boy and small) took a fall from a cliff recently. He dislocated his leg and he got some bad scratches. His leg is in a cast and the scratches are superficial, if impressive. He's on his way to recovery now and in a couple of weeks he should be his usually happy self.
This incident prompted me to write about the differences in culture between the US and Mexico when it comes to animal treatment.
Animal treatment is not a priority in Mexico. In fact, it could be compared to the way animals were treated in the US back in the 70s. It's not uncommon to see abandoned dogs or their progeny. Do not be surprised if you see a dog owner, usually in low-class neighborhoods, tying up his or her dog with a 2 feet leash and leaving him with no water, food or protection against the weather all day long.
Even in high-class neighborhoods, people often buy full-breed dogs, like French Poodles, in the same way they buy a portable video game console: as a toy to keep their children occupied. I once saw a family whose children pinned the dog to the ground and pulled its hair out right in front of the parents without anyone (but me) raising an objection.
In the countryside, you can frequently see horses or cows walking on their own on the road, as if they had no owner. In truth, their owners can't feed them or water them, and so they release them on the road so they feed and water themselves. The author and I once stopped and bought water from house nearby when we saw a group of horses trying to drink from some soapy puddle next to a laundromat.
But the worst part is that bullfighting and cock fighting are still legal in Mexico.
Not everything is bad news. Attitudes are slowly changing for the better. People who like bullfighting have to hide their "hobby" from others. And practices like vaccinating your animals, treating them well, and sterilizing them are becoming more common.
Here's the other good news. In Mexico, as the dog whisperer Cesar Millian points out, dogs are allowed to be dogs. In general, they are not treated like human children, but more like family friends. While not as lavishly well-treated as their siblings in the US, this is a much healthier mental attitude for a dog.
Fortunately, almost all veterinarians are true animal lovers. A veterinarian in Mexico makes very little, so only people who have the call for it will dedicate themselves to taking care of animals.
If you have a furry friend, you'll want to know a good veterinarian in Mexico. This is one more reason why it's a good idea to know about an expat community before moving here. It's also one of the best reasons to learn the language. In case of an emergency, you will want to go to the nearest available veterinarian if your regular veterinarian is not available, and you will need to communicate what happened and understand what needs to be done.
Monica Rix Paxson is the author of The English Speaker's Guide to Health Care in Mexico, a must-have guide for anyone considering living or visiting Mexico.