This story is a bit long, so Part II will posted Thursday, it’ll be worth the wait. — You can read Part II here.
Many years ago, I’d say around 2001, my mother and I came home one day and found someone abandoned a dog in front of our house.
He was lying with the bottom half of his body inside a broken carton box, barely a bunch of bones, he only lifted his head when we approached him. Then we heard a rhythmic bang against the box, he was wagging his tail. I lost a piece of my heart right then.
We knew he was a mixed breed; black, with longish ears, long snout, very small brown eyes, relatively short legs. He couldn’t walk. He just dragged himself when he wanted to move (one of the reasons why this story resonated in my heart last year).
We were coming home from the grocery store and had a bag of dog food in the trunk (we already had our boxer) so I opened it and with my hands poured some food in front of him. He began to eat immediately. I told my mom I just wanted him to have a full stomach if he died.
I poured much more food before he stopped eating.
Later that day we went back outside to check on him and didn’t see him. We walked the whole street and found nothing. Since he could barely move, we thought we were going insane. Maybe the dog was a vision. Maybe it was like a heavenly moment, “because I was hungry, and you fed me” or something.
But the next day, he was in the same spot we saw him the first time. He had dragged himself back to us for food and we were delighted to see he was alive. I fed him again and while he ate I had a long conversation with him where I told him: “if you don’t die, I’m going to give you a home. You’ll never be hungry again, and your name is going to be Triunfo.” Triunfo means Triumph. I thought it fit.
Several days passed, and then weeks and he continued to gain weigh. Eventually he started walking. We discovered he hid in our front yard at night and carried his plate of food and water in his snout -without dropping anything- to the corner of our house and covered it in leaves, camouflaging it so well I replaced his bowls almost daily because I couldn’t find them.
He began to feel territorial about the space in front of our house, and began to bark at people when they stepped too close to our home so we took him to the vet, treated him for scabies, gave him all his vaccines and when it was time, we took him inside.
Our boxer and Triunfo fell in love through our gate. They cried for each other and gazed lovingly into each other’s eyes; until Triunfo was inside and it was time to decide who was the boss. They fought for two days straight. I was terrified either of them would be injured. I don’t know who won, to this day, it’s not clear who’s the alfa, but they stopped fighting and finally Triunfo officially became part of our family.
He is incredibly smart.
I thought, since he was an adult when we rescued him, it would be harder to teach him new commands. One day I had both our boxer and him in front of me waiting for treats, I commanded the boxer to sit and when she did, I gave her the treat. Then I jokingly commanded Triunfo to sit, laughing even, and while I lowered my hand with the treat; he sat down. I was flabbergasted, but that day he learned to sit and stay.
We had a bit of a challenge with him when it came to broomsticks. Whenever we touched one, he fled, hiding for hours. The vet told us that’s probably how his previous owner broke his hipbone. We also gave up on trying to tie him up on special occasions because he can escape from any type of brace or collar or gate, even, that we’ve tried to put him in so when someone visits he gets to hang inside the laundry room where he plays with any piece of dirty or clean clothing. I bet if we left him there long enough he would learn how to open the door.
He’s sweet, decent, thankful and turned out to be a great guardian. He’s never had any issues with people or animals, as long as they don’t come too close to us or he feels they are a menace to our safety. We’ve always suspected he would put himself on the line for any of us.
On the morning of February the twenty first he confirmed it. Triunfo saved my life.