By Elsa R Wasserman
He shouted out to me from across the grassy lawn at the LCS, while I was trying to walk, yanking and pulling my first ever dog. “That’s the best thing you have ever done, getting that dog!” I looked over in the direction of the shout, and there was Alejandro Grattan, smiling at me.
Little did he know my true thoughts about this little three month-old dog that came to me by chance. Even though I had raised three children and assisted with six grandchildren, I had no idea how to house train a puppy. I named her Esta Bien because when I first arrived in Ajijic, my housekeeper would say, “Esta Bien, Esta Bien” whenever I looked worried or upset.
My little house was filled with pee and poop everywhere. I put in a special “doggie door” and Esta Bien refused to use it. The only way she would use that door was when I left it propped open with two cans of tomato soup. When the winter cold started to invade the house through that open door, many kinds of wild life found their way into the warmth of my stove. The black rat family loved to nest near the heat of the gas pilot. Never mind the huge opossum that found a hiding place in my cupboard underneath my printer. It took two big, strong guys to get that animal out.
We went to Art Hess, the dog guy’s classes, which were really about training dog owners to train their dogs. Esta and I seemed to be performing at a very low level of obedience. Some classmates suggested that she might be too young. Maybe she needed more time to grow up. I could live with that.
Esta Bien was a pretty little puppy, a pure bred Mexican Street Dog. Many people asked me about her breed. Others told me that Esta Bien was not a dog’s name. “Of course it is,” I would reply. “You are looking at Esta Bien right now.”
Through a mutual friend, I was told that a newly single woman was looking for a small dog. I immediately offered Esta Bien as a great companion, not mentioning the hundreds of dollars I had to spend replacing two nearly new prescription glasses. We agreed to meet. The new potential owner took Esta Bien for a walk with our mutual friend. She was smitten. Evidently Esta Bien had remembered some of the obedience training.
There was one more step to complete the deal. The potential owner wanted to see Esta in her own home and then pick up her bed, toys, and food. I was delighted. I was already imagining my house the next winter without that open dog door.
The day before the final visit, the potential new owner called and said, “I have to ask you one more question. Does Esta Bien chew on furniture? I just rented a casita and the rentor said I could have a small pet if it didn’t scratch up the furniture.” I thought for a moment, and before I could stop myself, I blurted out, “Esta Bien chews on the furniture all the time.” That was the deal breaker.
What followed will always be a miracle to me. Suddenly Esta Bien did whatever she could to please me, except for pushing open the doggie door. Now it is about six years later and I can’t imagine my life without Esta Bien. So, Alex, you were right. She is the best dog/companion ever.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com