Dead Dog Sting

A true anecdote from our early years of arriving here. Thought worth repeating since there are so many new readers. Dog lovers, which I am, please do not take this personally. Remember, we were new to the neighborhood at the time.

Darrell Bushnell

It is a Saturday morning and as I leave to run some errands I noticed a dead dog in the gutter in front of our home. It was obvious it had been moved to that spot since it was on a large sheet of cardboard. I thought it odd that someone would make the effort to move the dog in front of our house instead of using that same effort to move the dog to a less visible spot, the dump or in some ravine. You can see from my comparative thought processes, I still have the razor sharp evaluative senses honed from 40 years of working with computers and once, was thought even to be a geek. Though a manly man, I could not bring myself to pick up the bloated carcass and dispose of it.

Using further my cognitive thinking abilities, I deducted that with the hot sun, in a few hours (1) the dog would either be dried out and mummified (I hoped but not very likely): (2) the guilty party would feel bad, return to the scene of the social crime to remove the body (even less likely): or (3) the bloated body would explode and Amy would hose down the outside of the house and flush the remains down the gutter to the drain. Knowing all of this, I stepped over the carcass and walked downtown to perform my errands.

Returning hours later, I noted all of my calculations were incorrect and that the carcass was still there though somewhat bigger with the skin stretched very tight. It looked like possibility #3 would occur later in the day and we did not have a water hose that would reach the scene of the expected explosion. I went into our house and hoped that the problem would just go away. Little did I know that we were being set up in a very elaborate sting operation. Years of poring through text books, decades of working in the labyrinth of corporate America and a lifetime of wresting freedom from the control of others would wither in the wind compared to the needs of a street-smart Nica neighbor wanting some extra money.

Sitting in the safety of my home I tried not to think of the slowing expanding canine carcass outside the concrete wall when there was a knock on the door followed by a “Hola, Senor”. Upon opening the door I was greeted by a pleasant young man who began a torrent of Spanish words. Due to his constant repetition of several sentences, I was able to use my formidable grasp of Spanglish to discern he would, for a price, remove the dog carcass to his waiting horse cart. Thinking in a mix of Spanish and English thoughts, I then knew I had been set up for the old “dead dog in front of the gringo house” trick. It was so devious. A young man with a pleasant smile appearing to do me a favor for only 50 córdobas (about $2.70).

He had me and he knew it. What could I do? Accuse him of putting the dog there, perhaps even first snuffing the dog then putting it in front of my house? Ask him where he lived then telling his mother what he had done? They’re very family oriented here. Laugh at him and say I can handle a rotting carcass as well as the next person assuming I could determine how to say that in Spanish? If I cowed to his request, would there be another dog in the morning perhaps ending with a new dead dog every morning? There are more dogs in Granada than córdobas in my pocket. Would the Granada dog population be reduced significantly as I battled my wealth against their ability to produce more dead dogs? I was new in the neighborhood and this might establish my reputation as a strong or a weak gringo. It was a most difficult decision to make and it would obviously set a precedent which could affect my remaining life in Nicaragua.

All of these possibilities flashed through my mind and in the end, I weakened. I offered 30 córdobas instead, he agreed and the dog was removed to the awaiting cart. That night as I tried to sleep, I wondered if he would have taken 10 cordobas and if there were more dead dogs in my future. A mental note was made to set aside money in our household budget for this latter possibility.

Final score Gringos 0 – Nicas 1.


  1. pauline jackson

    June 30, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Wonderful story, and wonderfully told.

  2. Pam

    June 30, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Great story. And it could have been worse!