Batatinha Dogs of Athens 14
acrylic and gold leaf on canvas
1 in stock
Batatinha. Lover of: ham, avocados, raspberries (only if you break them in half).
Favorite Toys: hedgehog, lambchop, and her pheasant.
From Batatinha’s human: ”
From Batatinha’s human: “In 2013 I was a field researcher in Guanacaste Costa Rica working for a primate ecology field project from UCLA. The focus of the project was White-faced capuchin monkeys. To study these monkeys, we spent our days from 4am until about 6pm following groups of monkeys to record their ecology and behavior. This entailed following individuals and vigorously typing every behavior we saw, collecting urine and feces, and counting every bite of the food they were eating while trekking the forest through wasps, cliffs, rivers, and the other intense moments that the forest would through at us. We would move in groups of two or more researchers, working together to collect data and track the monkeys through a rather thick tropical dry forest. Searching for monkeys, however left us alone in the forest sometimes with a group of monkeys or sometimes alone listening to the forest music in search of a monkey sound.
The forest itself was a mosaic of human and nonhuman landscapes including a protected forest (Lomas), a corporation (Tio Palon), and privately owned farms in Guanacaste Costa Rica. Most of the time, we felt secluded from human society as we crossed large rivers and came face to face with jaguarundis, ocelots, coatis, and countless other wildlife. But the reality was that we were constantly walking through a complicated territory of nature and humanity. All of this led me to my dog.
I had been at the site for a few months when a co-worker began to experience issues with a local man. For a while we realized than a man (Marvin) who worked for the corporation was stalking my friend, even breaking into our house to steal field equipment. This co-worker and I were avid dog saviors during out time there. We spent a lot of time taking stray dogs to the vet and caring for them in various capacities. This mainly involved coaxing dogs to allow us to de-worm them and shuffle them to a veterinary clinic if there were any major issues. All of this is to say, that when we came across a hungry or sick dog, we compelled to stop and help them out any way that we could.
This led to the day that I met Batatinha. On an all-day follow with the monkeys, Marvin found my friend in the forest following a group of monkeys through some farmland. Marvin started a conversation with her and warned her that there were people fishing in the forest and that she should be careful. She was feeing a small group of sickly-looking feral dogs at the time and politely said okay as she fed each dog the little food that she was carrying that day in her lunch. After a few minutes, he left the area and the dogs followed.
Within a few minutes, my friend saw one of the dogs again and then was quickly grabbed from behind. Marvin pushed her to the ground, tied her up, and held a machete over her body telling her that if she screamed or tried to get away, he would kill her. But as he tried to position himself to de-clothe her, my friend though fast and told him that people knew who he was and where she was, as she had recognized him as the man who had been following her in the weeks leading up to this day. With this, he momentarily backed away and my incredibly brave friend got up and ran into the forest, dropping down to grab the smallest and skinniest dog in her path, Batatinha (pronounced Bah-tah-cheen-ia, meaning small potato in Portuguese).
When she got back to our house, my friend handed me this tiny dog skeleton, covered in mange and ticks. Her hears were callused from the heat, her tail and chest were furless, and her adult canines were growing in over her puppy teeth giving her a toothy expression. Her eyes and ears were restricted by hundreds of ticks latched into her skin, and… she was kinda smelly. But each day, we bathed her, pulled out the ticks one by one, and gave her treatments for her mange, and with each moment, Batatinha transformed into an annoying puppy. She slept with me at night, despite the ticks, but during the day, she ha a towel in the common room to nap on and keep her toys. But to Batatinha, this meant that anything on her towel was hers, and each day, I would come home from the forest to return socks, eggs, latex gloves, and other field equipment to their rightful owners. Unfortunately, Marvin was arrested, but let go on a complicated technicality what was a product of an imperfect policing system, but my friend is doing well and continuing a bad ass career as a conservationist.
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