The Price of Beautiful Lawns: Our Dog Sammy

By Suzy Scully

Sammy our man


It took 35 hours for his death. After ingesting lawn poison on a walk Thursday evening in lower La Floresta, Ajijic, he died Saturday at 7:39 in the morning. Why did our dear 12-year-old dog, a hairless Chinese Crested, officially named “Little Black Sambo,” have to die such a painful death? Because many lawn lovers don’t appreciate ants, cutter ants, rats, or weeds. We wish our lawns to be free of nuisances, so we head to the hardware store and purchase a plastic bag of white power. Not always knowing how much to spread, handfuls seem to suffice.

Except when you’re a small dog.

Sambo was a fun-loving nine pounds of gratitude; a prancer, a sweetheart and a brother of three siblings. But that Thursday, he came home, licked his paws and rejected dinner. By Friday he was shivering, breathing erratically, and not himself. Alarmed, we called an amazing vet. I can’t say enough about the wonderful service vets like Dr. Laura perform by making house calls. She explained, “He may have been poisoned.” She has seen many dogs and even more cats poisoned over the last few months due to “beautiful lawns” especially in upper and lower La Floresta.

That Saturday our dog, a well-behaved little Chinaman in Mexican Culture, left behind some broken hearts.

A transplant from Oregon, in the U.S., where he learned to endure all forms of nasty weather, Sambo loved his new life here in Ajijic, I suspect for the same reasons many of us northerners gravitate to Lakeside Chapala. No more winter clothes, no confinement indoors, and always a sense of community. Sambo was finally a naked, hairless, happy man. He was in Mexican heaven, street sniffing, leg lifting, male marking, and making friends with street dogs.

For many expats, Mexicans have shown us the true meaning of solidarity. Why then not come together as a community to prevent these needless poisonings? A first step could be as simple as posting a sign on our lawns warning pet owners to “Beware of lawn chemicals.”

In memory of Sammy, let’s spread the word, not the poison.


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