Sombra, rescue dog of my dreams
By Froma Harrop
So you’re the German shepherd so good at sniffing out stashes of cocaine that drug traffickers in Colombia want you dead. Your story — how your laser-guided snout helped the Colombian National Police seize at least 9 tons of drugs, leading to 245 arrests — has gone global.
You are also a gentle girl. You are happy to pose with strangers for their selfies. You’re good around children.
Sombra, you are the rescue dog of my dreams, and yes, you need rescuing. The anti-narcotics police say you have become “el terror” of the criminal organizations, which is why Colombia’s biggest drug gang has offered a reward of about $7,000 for your big furry head.
Alarmed by the threat, the police have moved you to Bogota’s international airport. That may put you outside the traffickers’ traditional territory, but it’s too close to would-be assassins for my comfort. That the police have assigned several humans to protect a German shepherd is not a good sign.
You need a witness protection program. You need to be moved far away and given a new identity.
Here’s where I come in. I live in a leafy neighborhood in a medium-sized U.S. city. We have lots of fire hydrants and friendly canines. I’ll call you Bruce.
“Sombra” is Spanish for “shadow.” Bruce turns you decidedly male in the public’s eye, and also Scottish.
My offer is nothing to sniff at, though this may be a problem for you. Your powerful nose may need full employment. I think we can accommodate that to some extent.
Some illegal drugs no doubt pass through my neighborhood. Nothing in your league, of course. We read that you found over a ton of cocaine hydrochloride hidden in a box of bananas headed for Belgium. In June, you sniffed out a shipment of 5.3 tons(!). We don’t have challenges of that magnitude.
But there’s other work to do. For one thing, the squirrels are again attacking my tomatoes. I used to have a darling mutt who was afraid of her own tail but ferocious in pursuit of squirrels. I’m sure you’re up to the task.
Then there’s guard duty. You have sympathetic shepherd eyes and an adorable hanging tongue, but your bulk could easily scare off anyone up to no good. German shepherds are super smart, and your police training has probably sharpened your ability to distinguish friend from foe.
The reports don’t specify whether you get along with cats.
If you don’t, that’s OK. I have nothing against cats except for the fact that left outdoors, they turn into killing machines, devasting the bird population. If you wish to mark my bird-nurturing backyard as a no-cat zone, that works for me.
As for your canine neighbors, know that you would not be the only one gearing down from a more strenuous work life. We have greyhounds, for example, who used to race at tracks. They seem to love their retirement as they happily stroll on leashes. And frankly, you’re pushing 7. That’s 49 in dog years. Middle age is upon you.
We have all kinds of dogs around here — everything from rescued mutts to purebreds crowned by kennel clubs. But none of them seems to put on any airs. They’d welcome you. They’d even ask for your paw-tograph, if they knew who you were.
Sadly, we can’t tell them that in a previous life, you were Sombra, the drug-hunting scourge of the worst drug clan in Colombia.
So, Sombra — I mean Bruce — a forever home awaits you. You are invited to start a new life as a woman’s best friend. Y hablo espanol.