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Solange Welch

It's a Dog's Life

Posted from: Gold Mine, Grota Rica
This evening Russia went down to the riverbank to meet her daughter who lives in the nearest town, Apui, 80km from the mine. It had been raining heavily the last few days and Russia was anxious because the road was bad and Sasha was already a few hours late.

As the sun went down we tried to distract ourselves and started talking to the group of guys who take people back and forth over the river from the road to the mine. During the banter I was introduced to one of the founders of the mine, Rodado, a very handsome stray dog. Rodado means traveller in Portuguese and he definitely had an element of littlest hobo in him.
Rodado has been in the mine right from the beginning of the gold rush. He does just as he pleases and all the garimpeiros (miners) are more than happy to oblige to any of his requests. By now they all know him so well he rarely has to ask. For example if he fancies spending a few days in Apui, to visit a friend maybe, he'll just get a lift in a truck going that way.
On the way back he'll wait by the road and wait for a garimpeiro to stop who's on his way back to the mine. He usually gets the front seat as he is not expected to share with the humans in the back.
Back at the mine he roams free, patrolling his domain. A normal day's work could include saving small children who have fallen down badly secured wells, gathering bullets so that trigger-happy miners have no means to harm others, gently guiding frail old men home after they have had a shot of cachaca too many, sniffing out areas of concentrated gold and only telling those who have fallen on hard times.

Rodado helps load the boat
Rodado helps load the boat

All in all, the mine is a far better place because of Rodado. In turn the community shower him with their best cuts of beef and more attention than a canine could ever dream of. All work and no play make Rodado a dull dog. Rodado being Rodado has got the play side of life sorted too. He has a girlfriend on both sides of the river and divides his time between them fairly. To do this he needs to cross the river. But not any old boat will do, he will only travel on the boats with the largest engine capacity so as to impress the ladies.
Viva Rodado!


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