This week we had to euthanize our sidekick, our baby, our great traveling companion, our gorgeous girl, Lety. We are so very sad; she was only 7 years old. Complications of Canine Typhus from tick bites I had her treated for in Mexico 4 years ago, caused her mental state to deteriorate. Instead of staying calm, knowing we would protect her from confusing/scary situations, she began to respond to new sounds, sudden movement, and new dogs, with extreme aggression. The “Fight or Flight” response was triggered even when we routinely played with her in bed each morning. I am sure she never meant to hurt anyone, but was just biting to intimidate, to try to create a safe space around her. Unfortunately, with time, there was no place she felt safe, even with Steven, her true love.
My son Jacob and I met Lety during our year living on the Bay of Banderas in Nayarit, Mexico; Lety was the resident feral dog at a local salsa dance club, getting kibble and water there, along with a lot of french fries from the patrons. I treated her for fleas and ticks for 4 months, while Lety lived outside, hiding under cars, on cobblestone streets. Due to my sister-in-law’s kindness, we brought Lety inside to save her from the cab drivers….who had started a game trying to run her over. She flew back to the States with us 7 months later, and Steven met her for the first time a month after that. It wasn’t love at first sight; to Lety, he was an unwelcome intruder in “our” bed. Steven was patient, and plied her with treats, walks, and lots of play. He really won her over when he began to take her with him every time he left in the car. She was his baby.
Never was she happier (and better behaved) than during the 13 months we all lived together in our tiny motor home during our roadtrip. She matured, became confident and predictable, even around other dogs….as long as she was on a leash. Off leash, she felt she had to protect us, and her feral dog, “fight or flight” behavior, came right back. We tried to find trails and beaches with no other dogs where she could run free, streaking back and forth past us, stretched out low like a greyhound. She was flying!
She was a terrific traveler, loving all the new experiences: sea birds up close during kayak trips, moose and buffalo right next to the van, dead seal to roll in, eat, and then vomit onto our bed, lots of treats and pats from strangers, breaking her collar to take off after a deer into the Florida swamps for an hour, and countless hikes and beach walks, ferry rides, and sleeping with us on cold nights. We cannot imagine setting out on our next road trip without her. She loved us deeply, and gave us her best. We are so grateful to have experienced life with her these last years. We miss her terribly; we thank our friend Charlie Denson for the featured image of Lety, that caught her beauty, intelligence and intensity, and those amazing ears.