By our friend Sol,
“As I write these words, I am swinging on a hammock on a warm sunny day, the perfect climate after a week of cold, rain, and tragedy. I am under the shade of the avocado and anon trees that the dogs of Finca Tungasuk liked to eat so much, from the top of the hill where the house where they played is built, overlooking the fields, the crops that that these dogs loyally protected. It’s a beautiful morning, almost too beautiful to think about writing this eulogy. But in the midst of this tranquility, there is a silence that I hear from this hammock that must be addressed. This is a post to say goodbye publicly to five dogs of Finca Tungsuk, who were poisoned in the last month.
Chaplin, Chela, Pirata, and Mini died on January 1, 2018. Chucho died in December of 2017. Their absence is felt every day, and we remember them and the impact that they left on our lives. Please read on, share memories and photos of your own, and join us in honoring their legacies as the first farm dogs of Finca Tungasuk.
On the morning of January 1, 2018, Chela, Mini, and Pirata went up the hill behind the house and came back trembling. Chela laid down immediately next to her puppies, who born a week before on Christmas Eve. Known as la maldita, Chela was strong in a fierce and kind of mean way. With the birth of her puppies, she showed herself to be a great mother, who always fed them and growled at strangers to keep them away from her babies. Her last act was to feed her babies before she died.
Pirata died quickly after Chela. Pirata, who probably never would have outgrown his adorable puppy face. When he wasn’t charming visitors with his floppy ears and mischievous smile, he would be sleeping in the best, most unusual spot on the farm. The other dogs would bother him and chase him off of his cozy sleeping nook, and he would simply go and find a better one. Pirata died next to Chela.
Minichucho fought off the poison for a long time, as an alpha dog would. Mini was actually no longer miniature in size. He was a skilled hunter who would even swim out in the reservoir, catch ducks and fish. Mini lever let his guard down and impressed all the neighbors with his loyalty to the farm. He was the third to die, under the shade of the piñón tree.
The biggest dog, the strong, deaf Dalmatian, the misunderstood, loving, capricious, trouble-seeking Chaplin, was with us all day – almost as if to console us in our loss of Chela, Pirata, and Mini. As we processed the horrendous morning and burned the bodies of the three dead dogs, Chaplin was with us, stubbornly refusing to give in to the poison. We tried all we could to save him. He vomited everything he had inside him and drank what we gave him to save him. He gathered up enough strength to go on a walk with us, and even ran. He withstood the pain and stayed with us all day. After a long day of fighting the poison in his body with us, Chaplin died, accompanied by Oscar, his first owner, and family and friends. We burned his body in the same place as the three young dogs.
Chucho died two weeks before the other dogs. He was just starting to integrate himself into the pack, learning the routines of the dogs. He was a loyal guardian and one of the original dogs of the farm.
In the past four years, Finca Tungasuk has become a rich, green, welcoming home for living beings, and the dogs are part of this creation. They made this place a home. The dogs’ ashes are buried on the edge of a planting of corn at the bottom of one of the hills of Finca Tungasuk. We will plant a tree there, so that the dogs continue on contributing to the work of life that this farm cultivates every day.
Which tree will grow from the ashes of the Tungasuk dogs? Perhaps a laurel tree, since they loved to rest under its shade during the hot summer days. Or maybe anon, a fruit they loved to eat. But I think we will plant an avocado tree, since they really, really enjoyed avocados. There are many different breeds of avocados that grow in Cuba. Visitors to Tungasuk often ask us which type of avocado is our favorite. The truth is, we don’t have a favorite. We like them all for different reasons. But whichever avocado tree we plant there, on the ashes of Chela, Pirata, Mini, and Chaplin – those will be our favorite avocados”.
Just Belle and Tuxe (Tuxedo) remain with us, and the 4 female puppies that Chela and Chaplin left behind