Tuesday, June 4, 2013


A photo of a photo of Foster from the El Milagro palapa's bulletin board
When Nan and I were checking out all the marinas on Isla Mujeres last September, El Milagro was the only one with a resident mascot, Foster, an elderly Australian shepherd belonging to the marina's owner, Eric Schott, who splits his time between here and California. Foster did not travel back and forth but rather spent all of his time at the marina, lounging under the palapa, barking at the local fishermen's dogs, and taking hand-outs from marina guests. He has been a fixture here since Eric bought an old shrimp processing plant about eight years ago and converted it into the marina and resort that El Milagro is today.

Foster died yesterday. He was fourteen years old and was suffering from deafness, near blindness, and terrible arthritis in his hips. He had been to the veterinarian last week for medication to ease his pain, but it had the effect of rendering him glassy eyed and immobile. After a bad weekend, during which he also became incontinent, Eric and the marina's manager, Jaime, decided over the phone that it was time to put Foster down. Yesterday afternoon, during a steady rain, Jaime and other marina workers moved Foster gently into the back of a pickup truck for another trip to the vet. It was hours later before they returned. Jaime was very emotional when he called Eric to tell him that Foster was gone. He asked Nan to talk to Eric, and she spoke with genuine affection for a dog we had known for only a couple of weeks.

Foster is buried now, down near the beach, next to sheltering palm trees. The rain has smoothed the mound above his grave, but there is not yet a stone to mark it. I am sure there will be one soon. Foster was a true Isla character, and he will never be forgotten.

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