Double deal, today only: Carnival of the Animals plus Pictures at an Exhibition, all in one post

For the past nine or ten years Stew and I have volunteered two weekends to work at a spay-and-neuter clinic sponsored by Amigos de Animales, a local not-for-profit funded almost entirely by the expat community of San Miguel, with additional support from the Guanajuato State Health Department.

Our jobs are to sit by a table at the entrance, weighing all the dogs and cats people bring in. This weekend we weighed about 230 animals. Since Amigos started their campaigns, it has sterilized approximately 20,000 animals. The number of unwanted animals thus saved from a precarious existence on the streets of San Miguel is staggering.

This Carnival of the Animals is a overtly speciest event, only for dogs, about 70 percent, and the rest, cats. Sorry, no lions, elephants, kangaroos, tortoises, and certainly no fossils or swooning swans are permitted.

Yet each year it becomes more difficult to find something to say about the campaigns, dubbed “blitzes.” This year I thought of posting pictures of the patients with captions projecting what they might have been thinking about as they waited their turn.

But this approach has limited potential: A dog, I’ve recently read, has the IQ equivalent of a two-year-old human, and cats, if they’re awake, the attention span of a gnat.

Let me tell you a recent story about the brain power of dogs, or at least our dogs. Last week we had to replace the bottom glass pane of the side door of the garage. While I looked for a replacement, there was a hole at the bottom and we wondered if our five dogs, particularly the smaller ones, could figure out that, gadzooks!, we suddenly have unlimited back-and-forth access between the garage and the outdoors.

Nope. One morning we found our Domino, standing on the outside of the door looking in, and Ellie and Felisa, on the inside looking out, all three tentatively staring and sniffing each other. We wondered how long it would have take them to work out this riddle.

While, or before, scrolling through my carnival of dogs and cats, you can listen to Yo-Yo Ma perform “The Swan” from Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Carnival of the Animals,” by pressing this link.

Until the next blitz!

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