26 June 2020 (2 years after Part 1)
We woke up early in the morning and booked a ticket back to San Jose del Pacifico. We had butterflies in our stomachs - we were actually doing this, adopting a street dog from Mexico and taking it on the rest of our travels to ultimately end up back in Germany! After the 3 hour ride, we were back in town. The plan was to find her, scoop her up and hop straight back into a van back to the city to pay the vet a visit. We walked up and down the main street. When we did this in the past, Daisy would always spot us and run towards us. This time that didn’t happen. There were plenty of street dogs around, but not our Daisy.
We went searching in the forest that we had met Daisy in and spent so much time together, whistling and shouting her name (as if she would even know that was her name!) We searched for hours and in the early evening we knew we would have to spend the night there. It turns out we spent another 3 nights, spending each of those days hiking through the forest calling, walking up and down the street searching, and showing photos of this dog to other backpackers and locals asking if they had seen her. We were so exhausted, we must’ve walked 20km a day. On one of those days, I remembered I had bought a drop of LSD from the local convenience store (yes it’s an odd town). After a long hike I took it and sat outside my room and took in the beautiful view. It was my first time trying it and it was an amazing feeling. I had this feeling of euphoria, very similar to the feeling with mushrooms. For a few hours I watched the clouds that appeared to be dancing in a parade just for me. Towards the end of the trip I started crying like a little boy and went to Alida and said ‘where’s my dog?’ She comforted me. It felt like the drug had caused my true raw feelings to come to the surface in that moment.
On the third day of searching, another traveller suggested we try the neighbouring town ‘San Mateo’. Often people would hike between the two towns and dogs would accompany them. Some people told us based on our photos that they had seen Daisy but not that day and soon after that we bumped into a skinny street puppy that was shivering and covered in fleas. We gave him some food and kept looking for Daisy. We couldn’t find her and after those gruelling 3 days we decided to call it quits and head back to the city. Sad, tired and deflated we sat in the van, turning our heads whenever we saw a street dog walking on the side of the road. I remember Alida looking at me like a little girl and saying in a cute voice “I want a dog!”.
We stayed the night in Oaxaca City and open the next day there with some fellow backpackers we met. It was fun, but I still had this itch to scratch. My Daisy was still out there! I decided to go back to San Jose for the third and final time. Alida couldn’t handle the emotional roller coaster anymore so she stayed put and I went alone. The plan was that I would search for Daisy one last time and if I couldn’t find her, I would adopt the street puppy (which we for some reason had named ‘Bebo’) that could also use a home.
I arrived in San Jose and checked the main street as well as the forest. No Daisy. I hopped on the back of a pickup truck and hitched a ride to San Mateo. I asked the lady who had seen Daisy a few days before if she had seen her again - she said yes, but not today. I asked for the little street puppy, Bebo and she told me that he had been adopted by someone else. I was disappointed but also glad that he had someone to look after him now. I went for another walk, and 10 minutes later I saw a group of backpackers walking toward me… followed by Daisy! I had just had lunch and had some left over quesadillas in my hand - I gave them to Daisy as I gave her a huge hug - I didn’t care that she was covered in fleas. At the same time I quickly put on the collar we bought and attached the leash - I’m never letting you go Daisy! I could tell the other backpackers were thinking… what the f… ? I didn’t care.
It was late in the day by now and I wouldn’t be able to make the last van back to Oaxaca. That night I found a cheap cabin to stay in. We would leave in the morning. On the way to the cabin, an American girl who had spent a few months in San Mateo said she recognised Daisy and in a throwaway comment said “I think she likes being a street dog to be honest… just saying…”. This really startled me. I mean, she did look like a happy street dog, able to roam the forest freely and put on a cute face for tourists who would feed her. She was in nature and it didn’t seem like her life was too difficult - she wasn’t in a big city. This wore on me all day and I started having second thoughts. I called Alida and told her I found Daisy, she was so happy but she could hear in my voice that I was questioning the decision… after all we’d been through! I confided in some other travellers who were staying in the cabin next to me. They said “Forget that girl’s comment. You’re her new family now.” That gave me enough strength to commit to adopting Daisy. That night, I bought myself another dose of mushrooms and ate them while sitting on the floor with Daisy and looking into the fire in the fireplace. Though I was so exhausted I just fell asleep before I could feel anything.
The next morning, I hitched a ride on another pickup truck back to San Jose, this time with Daisy. I bought a ticket back to Oaxaca but they said dogs could not be ‘loose’ in the van, they needed to be in a cage. I improvised. I went to the local fruit shop, gave him a few pesos for a cardboard box and cut holes in it. I placed Daisy in the box and taped it up. For the 3 hour ride, I sat on the floor of the van with my hand in one of the holes stroking Daisy’s head - as you can imagine she wasn’t so comfortable, but she dealt with it like a champ!
We arrived back in Oaxaca with Alida greeting us at the bus station.
To be continued…