When we returned to Fajardo on the morning of March 2nd in search of Marcus (aka The Black Dog), we found him lying in the sun with his pal, who we (in all our originality) differentiated him from Marcus by deeming him “The White Dog”. It quickly became apparent that The White Dog was not merely a companion to Marcus; he was also his friend, groomer, and most importantly, his Protector.
As a severely disabled dog who was unable to fend for himself, and struggling to find food, Marcus was blessed to have The White Dog to fill the roles of friend and protector. The fact that The White Dog also made it his business to groom Marcus and remove the tics from his face was an added bonus.
Kneeling down beside the two dogs, we slowly reached out to let them assess us and within seconds, they were both wagging their tails with delight and attempting to cover us with kisses. We had brought food for them and were anxious to provide them with what was probably their first real meal in a very long time. Before we could fill a second dish, they were eating eagerly from the same container of food, neither attempting to gain an advantage by pushing the other away. We were humbled as we witnessed these two starving creatures who so readily shared what little they were given, demonstrating the true meaning of love.
The reality that we could only afford to take one dog with us was truly demoralizing. We knew that it would have to be the one who was in dire need of medical care; Marcus. After all, he was the one we had returned for, and we had no way of knowing that he would be accompanied by his best pal.
It took over an hour of attempting to build trust, and not a small amount of thrashing, to finally get Marcus into the back seat of our rental car. The White Dog was visibly distressed, and although he had placed himself strategically between us and Marcus several times, he never showed any signs of aggression. Rather, his expression implored, “please don’t hurt my friend”. Once inside the car, an exhausted Marcus lowered his tired head onto his outstretched front paws, and let out a deep sigh. We were elated to know that we had successfully enticed the beautiful boy into the vehicle that would bring him across the miles, to a new and better life.
Needless to say, it was soul-crushing to close the door in the face of The White Dog, who would have gratefully – and gracefully – entered the backseat to join his friend on his new journey into the unknown. The image of him in the sideview mirror is burned in our memories, and haunts us as we count the days until we can return for him.
Xavier and Melanie will be heading to Puerto Rico in a few weeks, and The White Dog, who we have named “Liam”, will be their first priority. Liam is the shortened version of the name William, which means “resolute protector”.