A Dog’s Day in Cuba

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — My uncle has a dog on a leash in his back yard. Though I’ve often heard him bark, I have never once seen him wag his tail. The poor creature has a very hard life, at the mercy of the rain, the cold and his fleas.

A bit of metal paneling on the ground is the only home he knows. He stands on all four for long hours to avoid lying on the panel, which enhances the surrounding cold or heat, whatever the case may be.

Not long ago, my uncle had the idea of trimming off all his hair, in the hopes of getting rid of the fleas and ticks that torment him (instead of taking him to the vet, or using an anti-flea medication).

Now furless, the animal’s malnourished body and bloated belly (quite clearly swollen by parasites) are plain to see.

I feel powerless to help him. Unfortunately for the dog, my uncle and I had a falling out and haven’t talked for years. I’m not the only one in the family he doesn’t talk to, so I can’t even get a word of advice about how to treat animals to him.

“In another country, they would have showered him with fines,” says a man who walks by and sees the dog, referring to my uncle. “The problem is that we feel we own animals, we’ve always been taught to think that way,” I reply.

My uncle had another dog before this one. It was a strong, healthy animal when he got it and, years later (before he managed to escape and we never saw him again) he was scrawny, bruised and sickly.

I am tempted to unleash the dog and let him escape. Perhaps he will have better luck next time and find a better human.


Osmel Almaguer:Until recently I would to identify myself as a poet, a cultural promoter and a university student. Now that my notions on poetry have changed slightly, that I got a new job, and that I have finished my studies, I’m forced to ask myself: Am I a different person? In our introductions, we usually mention our social status instead of looking within ourselves for those characteristics that define us as unique and special. The fact that I’m scared of spiders, that I’ve never learned to dance, that I get upset over the simplest things, that culminating moments excite me, that I’m a perfectionist, composed but impulsive, childish but antiquated: these are clues that lead to who I truly am.

17 thoughts on “A Dog’s Day in Cuba

  • January 21, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Like most HT writers Osmel does not have a regular place to check his e-mail and only today (January 21) did he receive the messages posted here. He does not have Internet access so this is his reply second hand. He has some sad news to report.

    “A few days after sending you my post, my uncle decided to attend the little dog,
    influenced by a conversation I had with my grandmother, that is, his mother, to
    do something about it.

    “Unfortunately his decision was to treat the dog’s parasites himself giving him medicine.

    “Apparently the animal’s body was too weak and could not resist the dose given
    by my uncle. I don’t know what kind of anti-parasitic he gave him and whether
    it was incorrect or bad medicine, but the result is that the dog died.

    “I appreciate the assistance offered by the various commentators who love
    animals as much as I. If I had known in time of your offered help I would have
    accepted it.”

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