Buying a dog in Paraguay is tough. Well, buying a dog that isn’t inbred is tough. The pet stores are filled with dopey-eyed puppies. They are cute; there just isn’t much going on upstairs.
We found a legitimate bred German Shepherd through a student. His father doesn’t do anything half-heartedly, so when he decided to breed he did his research and got the best female he could find in Switzerland and the male came from a heritage line in Chile. We got the runt of this litter. But we could see immediately in her eyes, she was intelligent.
We spent a few days trying to come up with a name for her. I came up with some really clever names like Perra and Princess. But Mark came up with Luque. Pronounced Lou-kay. So, again, we compromised and named her Luque.
It’s actually a really cool name because it is a city just outside of Asuncion and we figured going back to the States it would be unique to the fact that we got her in Paraguay. The only bad part is when we lived there, it was really embarrassing to tell a Paraguayan her name because they would look at us quizzically as if we were stupid. I guess it would be like if we met someone in the States and asked their dog’s name and they said something like: Compton. We would be like why would you name your dog after a run-down socio-economic challenged city? Which was Luque.
But we had some complications with Luque; the dog, not the city.
Luckily, we found a great vet. Sometimes finding someone great was based on the sole fact that they could speak English. However, it was because of this vet that Luque is still alive today.
When we took her in to get fixed, we told him that she had been having trouble the prior week; slow to get up, limping, whimpering when we touched her. I thought it was because we had just moved into a house with lots of tile and she had been sliding around chasing her ball and she had pulled a muscle or was just sore. But right when the vet saw her he said, “We need to run some tests.” He took her blood and we waited. Three days later he told us she had Canine Leishmaniasis.
I got on Google: “… is very serious and infectious. It is difficult to diagnose, difficult to treat and the outcome is rarely good.” Our vet told us Paraguayans put their dogs down immediately when they have this. But, he said, “Luque is very strong and I would like to try to treat her if you want.” Of course, we wanted. Even though we had only had her for three months, she was already our family.
But, it was not easy. We had to wait for the medicine from Spain (since it is illegal to purchase in Paraguay—dog control, I suppose). Then we had to administer a shot in her neck every day for 30 days. We cooked her steak (it was actually cheaper to feed her steak than dog food) and rice and we watched her slowly gain weight and become more lively.
Our vet ran the tests again and it came back negative.
Luque is one of very few dogs out there that can say she survived Leishmaniasis! I guess that’s why she feels entitled to every toy in the store.