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Ramirez

Clarita survivor


Clarita was a doggie that was present in my life for a little more than a year. She was one of those black mutts with yellow eyebrows.

Some given Saturday, when it was beginning to get dark, I was returning home from downtown Medellin in the Twingonette. Things were quite calm that day, and I wasn’t doing more than 60 km/h on the way home.

Nonetheless, while on a curve almost reaching home, Clarita jumped onto the road from an angle in which I couldn’t see her

I managed to react and maneuver somehow, and I avoided her with the front wheels. But I felt the rear wheels “thumped over something”.

After one or two slow motion seconds, I realised that I had run over the little dog. Honestly, it’s the worst thing I’ve felt ever since my grandfather died. I can’t describe the filth I felt inside.

Clarita.
Clarita.

Ramírez.

I stopped where I could, made a 180 degree turn, and returned to the place where it happened.

The little dog was lying there on the side of the road. There were some people beside her that appeared to be her human family of the moment.

I think they were walking along the road returning home or something, and she had jumped to greet them in excitement, like dogs do.

She was lying there, totally in shock and unconscious. Her little tongue was sticking out, even though she had no external sign of catastrophic damage. I mean, there was no blood, no open wounds, no visible broken bones, or any such thing.

For a moment, I thought I had killed her, and I wanted die for that. But her little belly was expanding with her breathing! The little dog was alive mate!

So, I told these people to get in the car with the dog. I told them we were going to the veterinary RIGHT AWAY.

In the place, there were the father, the mother, and a little kid that was the most affected by this. He was crying a lot, and I felt like an arse threefold.

I don’t really like children, but I don’t want to run over their dogs either. I only want them to not cry in the Aeroplane, to behave in the restaurant, and if they would keep shut in the cinema that would be just fine.

The kid was going to get in the car, but his mother told him not to, and started nagging. She started to ask who was going to pay, and who was going to take her back home.

She began to say that “she had to go to Jorge’s house”, and a myriad other things.

Obviously I was going to pay! (however I could). Obviously I would bring her back!

She kept talking shit, and I started to see her in slow motion as if it was The Matrix. As this was going nowhere, and the little dog was still alive, I just uttered:

-“What is your name, where do you live?”.

She gave me her name (Blanca), and pointing to a mountain, said:

-“And I live up there”.

It didn’t occur to me to ask her for a phone number, I just said:

-“Ok, bye”.

I carried the little dog however I could, and went in the car. This time, indeed, I begin to drive like a bat out of hell in search of some veterinary doctor.

In hindsight, our exchange shouldn’t have lasted more than two or three minutes. But it seemed like forever to me with the little dog there, every minute was golden!

Again, it was a Saturday at about 19:00, in the mountains. The two or three veterinary doctors I knew of weren’t working at that moment. Where the hell was I going to take the dog to?

I was ready to go back all the way to Medellin downtown to see her be taken care of. Nonetheless, it would have taken me one hour if I was lucky. Thing is, the little dog didn’t have one hour.

While on that, I remembered about a veterinary doctor that lived where he worked. That is, half the place was his clinic, and the other half was his private home.

I didn’t expect him to be working, but it occurred to me that maybe he was home just chilling.

During the journey, the little dog woke up, and she was still disoriented, but she didn’t show any clear signs of pain. She was just looking left and right, like saying:

-“What the fuck did just happen to me?”.

I reached the place, and indeed, the doctor was home but not working. In fact, he was dressed very fancy, and was about to go out and about.

His car was on already. Had I reached the place 5 minutes later, I don’t think he would have been there.

I told him what had transpired anyway, and he said that of course, that we should take a look at her.

He laid her on a small table. He took a look at her, and saw the tire mark where it had hit her, like between the belly and some side of the body, around the ribs. Then, he told me:

-“Mate, you ripped off his little dick!”.

I told him:

-“No, she’s female”.

He realised that indeed, and he began pinching her in several spots in her body. She would react to some stimuli, but not to others. The vet told me:

-“Alright brother, this is a sign of some damage in the spinal cord, but I can’t tell you how serious it is here and now”.

After that, he took a peek at her gums, and they were whiiiiiiiite as black is my soul, and we had this chat:

-“This is a sign of an internal haemorrhage”.

-“What can we do?”.

-“The only thing we can do is get her to surgery, explore her, and see if we can find the haemorrhage. Depending on how grave it is, and where it is located, we may be able to do something, or not. How long ago was the accident?”.

-“20 minutes or so”.

-“Well, it costs…”.

-“Whatever it costs, let’s do it”.

-“Alright, as you can see I am alone here. Are you afraid of blood?”.

-“No”.

-“Then wash your hands there, and put on this pair of gloves. You’re going to assist me”.

-“Alright”.

I washed my hands and put on my gloves, and we started the surgery. He put her under anaesthesia, and as soon as that kicked in, he shaved whatever little hair she had left in the sector (I had shaved the rest with the car tire). He made a surgical cut and we started exploring.

Clarita Surgery.
Clarita in surgery. My hand is visible in the lower part assisting.

Ramírez.

While we were on that, a woman arrived with another emergency. Perhaps, she had the same thought process that I had to reach that particular vet.

She had a small yellow dog that wasn’t reacting. The veterinary examined him right there as we were in surgery.

Apparently, the little dog had had a heart attack. Even though he tried CPR on him awhile (while we operated on Clarita), there was no way to bring the little yellow fellow back to life.

The woman started to cry, and shout:

-“My little doooooog, noooo!”.

Apparently, he had been with her many years, and she loved him to bits. The mood, as you can see, was not fun at all.

The woman left with her dead little dog, and we continued Clarita’s surgery.

The veterinary would tell me what to do, how to grab one instrument or the other, what organ to hold, etcetera.

We saw the vital organs and none was damaged. We reached the spleen, and he saw it was bad, but just swollen, not burst with a haemorrhage.

Cirugía Clarita.
Clarita in surgery.

Ramírez.

We kept exploring her little body, and we reached the bladder. The vet said:

-“AHA! It’s here! This looks tractable, let’s see”.

He made a suture, put some powder medicine, and it didn’t look as if it was that serious.

I mean, it was grave as hell because it was an internal haemorrhage. But not so much as to not to be tractable at that moment given the fact that not so much time had passed. And given the fact that it had that location in her body, and that intensity.

Cirugía Clarita.
Clarita in surgery.

Ramírez.

We took advantage, and spayed her. Then the vet closed her and the surgery was over.

He told me she was to remain in observation for the time being (obviously), and that he was going to give her medicine for the suspected spinal cord damage. The only thing left then was waiting.

Clarita en cirugía.
Clarita still under anaesthesia after finishing the surgery.

Ramírez.

I left her with him, and drove back home.

That night was a FUUUUUCKING SHITTY night. I was feeling like the universe’s arse, like the most despicable being in the plains, like evil personified. Obviously, I didn’t sleep much.

And thing is, I didn’t have any reason to feel like that after all. I mean, I hadn’t been recklessly driving, I managed to secure care for her as soon as it was possible, and I took responsibility.

What had happened to me is the precise definition of what an accident is. I would for no reason run over a little animal on purpose.

But anyway. The haemorrhage didn’t seem to be a problem any longer, and my worry now was whether the little dog was going to be able to walk again or not.

I went to the vet the next day to see how things were. She was alive, and apparently getting better, but she was still disoriented.

We still didn’t have any certainty about the spinal cord condition, and we left her in observation yet another day.

Clarita en Jaula
Clarita in her vet clinic cage. Bored and disoriented as hell, but alive.

Ramírez.

I returned the second day, and the vet told me she was better. She had eaten, and things were looking good. But still, we had no certainty on the spinal cord condition.

He told me she was ready to be discharged, and that we would see how she evolved.

I took her with me then. I put her in the very same copilot seat that had been her ambulance a couple of days before, and away we went.

We advanced some five minutes, and suddenly… she stood up to see through the window!

Clarita en Ventaneando
Clarita looking through the window. She was going to walk again!

Ramírez.

Mate! She was going to walk again! I can’t give a name to the happiness I was experimenting. This little mutt had made me go through the full roller-coaster of emotions in two days.

With that tranquillity, now I focused on searching the people who were with her the day of the accident.

I wasn’t very enthusiastic about giving her back to that woman who “had to be in Jorge’s house” while the little dog was dying.

But, I also remembered the little kid, and the fact that I don’t like to go around running over little children’s dogs. It was the right thing to do anyway.

So, I went “over there”, to the mountain she had signalled that day. I went in the farms like Profesor Yarumo when he comes to ask for lunch out of nowhere, asking if a certain Blanca lived there.

Profesor Yarumo
Oh hello there! Do you have lunch? Oh so tasty!

Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia.

I found two or three Blancas, but none of them was who I was looking for.

I drove that Twingonette over trails made for Kamaz. I was searching for four days, but there was no way to find these people. I tried, I really did, but just couldn’t.

So much so, that I got stranded on one of the searches, and I had to call the insurance tow-truck. They took two hours and a half to find me.

While on that, Clarita, on the copilot seat, relaxed. Then, she accompanied me on the tow-truck.

Clarita Carro
Waiting for the insurance tow-truck with Clarita. She was bored as hell!

Ramírez.

Clarita Carro
Waiting for the insurance tow-truck with Clarita. She was bored as hell!

Ramírez.

Clarita Carro
In the tow-truck, with the out of order car, and a just discharged Clarita beside me.

Ramírez.

So well, I took her home, and there she remained.

Claritacasa3.jpg

The first night she was a little lost. She wasn’t confident at all, and she was “skittish” about everything.

We managed to put her in a little bed, so she would sleep. Better days would come.

Clarita Casa
Clarita's first night at home.

Ramírez.

We named her “Clarita” (as you already know). Like the good mutt she was, she adapted fairly quickly to her new home, and her new human and furry family.

Claritacasa4.jpg

Well, days passed. I took her to the vet to have her stitches removed.

Clarita Puntos.
Returning from removing her stitches in the usual chair.

Ramírez.

Everything was fine, but her tail was stiff. You could notice she was happy, when we returned home after being outside. But the tail was just hanging there, she wouldn’t move it at all.

Claritacasa2.jpg

Suddenly, she would lie and her tail would point to her face. And she would say:

-“Look at this nice hairy toy”.

And she would start biting it. Since she couldn’t feel anything, she would get carried away and would just keep biting.

Clarita Casa
She hadn't been home more than two minutes and she was already relaxing in my bed. Mutts are like that.

Ramírez.

Of course! The famous spinal cord damage had IN FACT happened. But thankfully, it only affected the movement and sensitivity of the tail.

It didn’t affect her capacity to walk or control sphincters.

Claritacasa5.jpg

And one day, she was so happy biting her own tail that she bit one piece off.

Well! We had to run to the vet again. The tail is precisely the end of the doggies’ spine, and she had bitten a piece off. She had an open exposed wound, and it would have been her end if an infection got there.

We reached the vet, and obviously, she went to surgery right away to amputate her tail-toy. This surgery wasn’t as dramatic though, and she did just fine.

I didn’t take part in this one.

Clarita.
Clarita without her tail.

Ramírez.

After that, Clarita lived a happy normal life. She was a tender and playful dog.

Her big scar was covered by the hair she grew anew, and she was an integral part of the family.

Only because she didn’t have a tail any more, otherwise, you couldn’t tell anything had happened to her at all.

We would go out for a group walk, and she liked to lead. Sometimes, we would lose sight of her, we would shout:

-“CLARAAAAAAAA!”.

To no avail.
She would look at us from wherever she was, like saying:

-“Stop nagging!”.

And would continue her merry way. We would always find her ahead, just like that.

Clarita y amiguitos.  De esa foto solo queda una viva.
Clarita and friends. From all those dogs, only Nenorra is alive now.

Ramírez.

She loved to get under the sheets, or inside a jumper, or what have you. And, when you pulled up the sheet to take a look at her, she would bite you in the nose very tenderly and softly.

She could keep playing like that all night.

DSC_3290.jpg

She took her role as the property’s caretaker very veeeery seriously. As soon as she would notice anything suspicious, she would alert and bark right away. Sometimes, we had to go out and tell her to calm down.

DSC_3296.jpg

Her name was Clarita, but as usual here, she ended up with a thousand different names and nicknames. One of those was “Kaskitos”, and my mother composed her a song, its lyrics in Spanish were:

“La perra Kaskitos es una hermosura, va dando unos tumbos, va dando piquitos. La perra Kaskitos es pura dulzura” .

-( “Kaskitos the dog is very beautiful, she goes stumbling, she gives little kisses. Kaskitos the dog is pure sweetness ).

DSC_7938.jpg

One day, about a year and a half later, I went out to pick up my mother, as usual.

It took me one hour approximately to do that. When my mother and I returned, we were met with the worst scene (the photo is not of it -no photo is-).

claritachap1-2.jpg

Clarita was lying in a room, dead, on top of a pool of her own blood. Rigor mortis was already in place in her legs, and she had a bite mark in her neck.

I never knew what happened. I mean, it was obvious, she fought with someone, and she was badly bitten.

DSC_8679.jpg

I never knew who was it, nor why did it happen. She got along with everyone, she didn’t have known foes, and nothing had happened that would make me have any suspicion.

DSC_3298.jpg

But there was nothing to do, she was dead.

And I was invaded by an infinite sadness, and then, a “cosmic” anger that surrounded me. How the fuck does Clarita survive being run over by me and then dies like that? Fucking shit life!

DSC_3291.jpg

We buried her here in her home, where she was dearly loved all that year and something that she accompanied us. Now, she is a little tree.

DSC_0673.jpg

From time to time, she was naughty like the good mutt she was. The last thing she managed to damage was a Camelbak accessory.

DSC_0652.jpg

I cried like a motherfucker. I think she’s the furry friend I’ve cried the most.

I didn’t necessarily love her more than the others, but her way of leaving this world and her story hurt me deeply.

After all that she had been through, I was expecting to see the mutt white hair she was going to grow in a few years. And I was hoping for life to run its “normal” course.

DSC_5733.jpg

In fact, I am writing this story about four years and a half after it happened. And I am getting all teary-eyed as I remember.

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I gave her all the love that I could. I did all that I could to save her when she made her sudden entrance to my life, and she lived more than a year being spoiled like no other.

I still have the gloves I used in her surgery, and I don’t intend on getting rid of them.

DSC_6892.jpg

When I die, I hope to see you again my Clarita, I love you.

For me, the most likely thing when I die is that it all turns black, and it’s the end of the end for all eternity. But, if truly there’s going to be something after this life, I hope to see you and all our furry family that left us already.

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Dead but never forgotten my love .

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P.D: Since then, a couple of 24 hours veterinary clinics have opened relatively nearby. I just hope I don’t have to use them like that.


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