Roosters cannot tell time. At least, the rooster outside my window cannot tell time. He crows at 11 pm, 2, 3, and 4 am, and then every 7 minutes until 6:30 am. I’m living in the Dominican Republic, and my bedroom is in the back of the Pink House overlooking a large empty lot with construction materials scattered everywhere. Every morning, I’m awakened by this horrendous fowl. I’ve gone out there with a broom hoping to whack it into silence, but it’s always just out of my reach in a junk pile of unknown origin.
When the sun comes up, I take the dogs out for their morning walk. I secretly wish the dogs would find the culprit and “take care of it”. One day, I got my wish.
After another night of interrupted sleep from that stupid rooster, I took the dogs out early that morning off-leash up the unpaved side road by the house. Jazz saw the group of chickens, and took off after them. I didn’t have much confidence that my 12-year-old collie mix would catch any of the free-ranging fowls, so I let her get her exercise. When she rounded the front of the house I heard this horrible squawking. I took off running and rounded the corner towards the sound. I was utterly shocked to see Jazz holding the live rooster between her paws, ripping the feathers out of his tail.
I had conflicting emotions running through me. On one hand, I was elated that my old girl caught something, and not just anything, but THE rooster I wanted so badly to maime myself. And on the other, I was in a foreign country, and that rooster was probably somebody’s prized cock fighter. As much as it pained me, I went to the aid of the rooster.
Later I went to work and went about doing my responsibilities. I passed by one of the many construction areas of the park and a Dominican man slightly tubby and in his 30s gestured toward me to follow him spattering some indistinguishable Spanish. I told him I didn’t speak Spanish, but he kept on blabbing, “ Blah, blah, blah Papagallo”. Oh. He’s talking about the rooster.
I follow him to an abandoned building beside the park, and there on the floor was the rooster. He didn’t look too bad to me. He was standing, maybe missing most of his tail, but otherwise looked fine.
Tubby picked up the rooster and showed me the puncture wounds along the bird’s body. Hmmm. Maybe he wasn’t that fine. Tubby kept babbling on, and the only thing I could comprehend was pesos.
Maria and Paul, two other trainers were walking by, saw my predicament and came over to help. Apparently, Tubby wanted me to pay 3000 pesos for his prize fighting rooster. Paul and Maria argued Dominican style for several minutes with Tubby, even throwing in my Jefe status and telling him I could get him fired for not respecting my position. He backed down on that one, and we agreed that I would pay for the vet bills, but he had to show me the receipts.
Weeks went by, and Tubby never confronted me, but he did speak with Paul saying I owed him money. Paul told him to bring the receipts and I would pay, but Tubby said his wife threw out the receipt thinking it was just paper.
Don’t be concerned about the rooster. A few weeks later, he was back outside at 4 in the morning with a gargled crow, though further down the street.