While being a perpetual nomad may sound glamorous, after living on the road for three years, there are things that one begins to miss. The inability to purchase knick knacks and souvenirs, for one. Gorgeous tapestries in India! Hanging lanterns in Morocco! Wood carvings in Indonesia! All sadly passed by because of a lack of four walls in which to put them.
Another thing I missed was the comfort of having a small, furry creature to sleep at my feet while I was writing. In my pre-nomadic life, my dog Tallie was my constant companion and foot warmer, keeping me company as I turned out book reviews and blog posts from my home office in Northern California. But you can’t carry a dog in a backpack, traveling with it through the remote deserts of India or leaving it to languish in an Australian quarantine for months on end. Thus, I have remained dog-less since the sad time that I re-homed Tallie in order to set off on said nomadic lifestyle.
But these matters all changed when Steve and I made the decision to purchase a home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. We moved into our home base in mid-June, and one of the first orders of business was to get ourselves a new pup. Our only parameter was that it be small enough to fit in a carry-on bag for when we resume our travels early next year. We also knew that we wanted to adopt a dog from the local shelter.
We arrived at the Sociedad Protectora de Animales (SPA for short) eager to meet our new baby. We’d heard that this excellent, no-kill shelter in San Miguel was the perfect place to begin our search. The shelter houses about 50 dogs and as many cats, and as we walked in the door I was already sad that we could only adopt one. We’d imagined that we’d come home with a Chihuahua, this being Mexico and all, but surprisingly there were none. In fact, there were no small dogs at all. But as we told Megan, the kindly volunteer assigned to help us with the adoption, about our small dog requirements, she immediately said, “Kiki.”
Kiki, she said, was their smallest dog, but she was out that day as the show dog at the SPA information booth in the Plaza Civica. “Why don’t you go to the plaza and see if you like her?” Megan said. So go we did. And like her we did too. In fact, when we walked up, Kiki immediately ran up and jumped into Steve’s lap. It was love at first lick.
We brought the little schnauzer terrier mix home, renamed her Vera (after Steve’s beloved grandmother) and she is now emBARKing (heehee!) on her new life. Perhaps because she was previously a street dog, she went a little crazy at first—eating rocks and running circles around the garden in seeming disbelief that she had a new home and people to love her. But she’s settling in well, and Steve who’s never had a dog before is completely smitten.
For me, it’s been unexpectedly difficult. Little did I know that getting a new pup would throw me completely into reminiscences of my last dog, and one little sideways glance from her set me into tears of guilt and sadness thinking about Tallie. But it’s been nearly ten days, and I too am falling in love with Vera on her own merits, and coming to realize that what’s past is past, and I did the right thing for Tallie at the time.
Though she’s not fully grown (she’s six months old), we anticipate that she will only gain three or four more pounds on her currently 12 pound frame. Larger than we had originally planned, but she’ll definitely still be traveling with us one way or another, no matter how large she gets. We’re getting her passport ready—because with The Twenty First Century Nomad and The Chic Adventurer for parents, you never know when she’ll be setting off on her next adventure.