You can see it in his eyes when he lays in the middle of the old neighborhood cobblestone street in San Miguel, Mexico. He's kind, gentle, patient, fit, strong, tough, wise and scared to death cautious. I make him to be maybe two at best. His breed is lab mixed. He's the blackest of black - black as night - a black hole with white highlights. From the beginning, Deb called him Luna. He may have as many as ten names as he patrols this Mexican neighborhood, and multiple good people up and down for maybe a mile or so know and respect the black moon street dog. People put food out for him. People toss bones from passing cars. People stare and call for him. He will not answer. In the Mexican heat and the Mexican wet season deluge rain, he lives and sleeps on these neighborhood streets. We don't know his background. Certainly, something bad happened back then. Houses scare him. Someone or something hurt him. Someone most certainly has thrown rocks at him. They may still throw rocks. Somebody hurt him and he never forgot. He won't let you get near him. He's somehow survived because he quickly learned to be cautious and smart, and even though he is desperate for attention, he will not let you touch him.
Admittedly, there's a certain romance associated with the rugged individualist, the self-supporting tough-guy loner who survives by choice on wits and will. Some of us are old enough to remember The Marboro Man in cigarette ads. The same kind of dog - a breed apart. The last of the great American heroes. Let him be they say, and they have no idea what the stakes are like for these dogs. The Marlboro Man was, in fact, the first guy emergency room docs expected to die from a heart attack. Life on the streets for this or any other street dog in San Miguel is gonna end badly most of the time. There are so very many desperate and homeless dogs that might get rescued and might not get killed by other cruel dogs or inhuman humans, or get mercifully put to sleep at some shelter. Maybe they survive, but most likely they do not. For Luna, his case is even harder because he won't let anyone near him, and will not live in a cage, and at this moment anyway, he will not even walk willingly into a house. He's terrified of people and houses. How does that story end? Ah, the rugged individual survives? I doubt it.
The story began about two and a half months ago at this writing. Deb would take Atticus on long walks through our neighborhood and one day she came home and mentioned there was a black street dog who stood at a distance, watching them walk. He was always there. Almost as though this was his neighborhood. Over a period of time, he started to come closer. Atticus seemed to be the key. The black dog was focusing on the charm of the gentle Atticus. I joined some of these walks. He was clearly not pleased with a male presence, but he persisted and came closer. For a while he had a gaping wound on his rear end possibly from a dog fight or someone throwing a rock. It managed to clear up without care. He started to follow Deb and Atticus on almost every walk. Then he'd be gone. Somewhere. She started calling him Luna, and then all of a sudden on one walk he came right up to Atticus. Atticus lay down. Luna came closer. Atticus rolled over. They exploded in play. Instant friends because of the way Atticus behaved. Atticus calmed Luna's fear. An angel of mercy on four paws, less wings.
To cut the story into a manageable bite, it's now been two and a half months of patience and love and gentle prodding. No one had been able to get near him, but with the help of Atticus and Deb, Luna has come closer and closer. The first sign that change was on the way was while he was playing with Atticus. Luna ran past Deb chasing Atticus and suddenly turned toward Deb and briefly licked her hand as he ran by. Since then we have been working with him every day. We feed him and give him preventative medicine. We sit on park benches and Luna will walk up to us, sit on the bench and allow himself to be petted. Amazing stuff. We have neighbors who are very friendly and supportive and now Luna lets some of them actually pet him as well. He's getting closer now. He actually walks up to our door and will step a few steps inside and then run back outside. Every day a little closer now. At this writing, he still refuses to come in. We put a dog blanket outside our front door, and he chooses to sleep on the dog blanket, outside, all night long. He still sleeps in the middle of the road under a street light as well. I think he prefers the lit areas because he can see what's coming. His real sleep seems to come in the daytime. At night I'm guessing he only closes one eye. Three days ago, we decided to try to put a collar on him so the city would not pick him up as a stray. Dog collars sort of mean "hands off" to those who round up dogs to be taken away. We thought it would buy him some time before they came for him. For my money, it was a miracle Luna allowed Deb to put a collar on him, which once belonged to our beloved pup Flanagan. Flanagan's name tag now dangles from the neck of Luna the street dog named Moon. Luna did not flinch when Deb put the collar on him. Almost as though it was supposed to be there. Almost as though he's a little proud to wear it. Unbelievable. People now come to us and say "Im so glad to see that collar. It means he's now with someone and now has a chance to live."
I"m so worried for him. You can tell he craves attention and is desperate to have his ears scratched. My guess is he's never had a bath, and until Deb reached out, I'm certain he'd never been touched with a loving hand. He's a wild animal on the verge of love. It's truly one of the more astounding events in our lives. We don't know where this is headed. We don't know what happens if he actually does walk into the house. Then what and how? We simply don't know. We just know this is happening almost as though we have no choice. As though we were chosen by something bigger than us. Maybe this has a happy ending. Maybe it's good. Maybe Luna suddenly disappears. Maybe he dies. Maybe he chooses another path. Maybe he's got a clean shot at it. The only thing we are certain of is that his future is his choice. We will make some suggestions to him and offer the option of shelter, love, and care, but he's got to do this on his own. We can't simply trap or take him. Based on his fear, that would be a disaster. He would not survive it. He has to think it through himself. All we can do is open the door and invite him in, and to the limit of our ability to do so, that's exactly what we intend to do. God bless and keep you safe sweet dog. We and Atticus will be waiting. Wherever you are on the street tonight, we'll keep a light on for you. Luna,,,,,,, come. Please.