Before we came to live in Panama, we had a dog named Benson. He was a Bijon-Frise mix about 6-7 years old, adopted from the pound. We decided it would not be fair to him to transport to Panama after researching what we had to do and some of the stories we had read. So we gave him to my daughter, husband, and grandson and decided to adopt another dog in Panama once settled. Hence, Bella, a beach stray, joined us last October. Bella loves people, but not so much other dogs. She, of course, loves to run on the beach and jump in the water. She has turned out or be a good watchdog and companion to us, easily taking up residency in our new home in Pedasí which has lots of space both outside and in for her to run around.
When we moved into our present home, a cat was hanging around in the garden. We didn’t mind because she could help keep the unwanted critters away, especially at night. She was very friendly to me, rubbing her body along my legs and eventually letting me pick her up. So we started feeding her. Later we found out that our landlady called her “Priscilla”, but never could get too close to her as I. Then we discovered Priscilla had 3 babies, all totally different colors, who also hung around for the food, but would never let us get too close. Thus we now seemed to have 4 cats, even if they were free to roam the neighborhood.
A few weeks ago, there was a Spay/Neuter clinic in Chitre. Besides 3 other dogs from the kennels in Playa Uverito and 2 other cats from Pedasí, I bought Priscilla and her 3 kittens to have spayed or neutered. It was quite an adventure trying to lure and trap the kittens, but we caught them just in time before I was to leave with my friend Karen to Chitre. Come to find out at the clinic, Priscilla was pregnant again, but no more. Bella had already been spayed at a previous clinic before we adopted her.
In the meantime, our friends Lisa & Ted found and took in 3 very young kittens they found abandoned while walking around the pueblo. They took them to the local vet and then had to bottle-feed them until they were old enough to lap up with their tongues. Since they were going to Panamá for a few days, Mikkel offered to take them all home and feed them for the week. He did get them all to start lapping up formula from a dish before Lisa & Ted returned, but he also fell in love with one of the kittens we now call “Mia” and offered to adopt her. We also had to go to Panamá to get our permanent residence visa. So upon returning, we took Mia home permanently. She is our indoor cat. We did not take her to the clinic because she was to young at the time, but we will at the next available opportunity. Until then, she will stay indoors or in our sight, away for other male cats.
So now we have 1 dog and 5 cats, more animals than I have ever had since I raised rabbits when I was a child, and certainly more than I expected to take care of here in Pedasí. Bella gets along well with Priscilla and Mia. She plays with Mia, carefully not biting Mia’s head off as the “play-bite” each other. Just wish she would get along with our friends dogs so they could play together while our friends visit. But I don’t think I can change her disposition based on what we know about her history at the kennel where we adopted her. She was at the low end of the pecking order with the other 15 dogs, and got beaten up a little by the others. So now that she has her own home, she is very protective of her territory and herself. With all these animals, we are continually entertained watching them play; better than TV.