Cuidarlo was my cousin Joaquim’s half-brother, born and raised in Oviedo. As you probably know, Oviedo is one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, with a multitude of old buildings, winding streets and cobbled streets, and lots of historic architecture. We also had some Spanish friends from Barcelona, so one day Joaquim and I took a trip to Oviedo to see it all for ourselves. I’d heard that it had lots of interesting architecture, but it didn’t really interest me. My cousin and I ended up going to the Santa Maria de Gracia Church, which is one of the most beautiful churches I’ve ever seen.
Cuidarlo lived in a little flat on the left side of the street, not far from the train station. The only other person living in the flat was his dog, Ponsor. One day, as we were sitting outside having a lovely evening, we noticed a rather elderly gentleman coming up the street. It turned out he was an engineer, and that he was looking for someone to help him with something. He introduced himself as Cuidarlo, and asked if we needed help. I said we would be happy to help if we could, and he invited us in.
I didn’t know him that well, but I couldn’t help noticing that he looked older than his years. His face was wrinkled, and his hair was slightly gray. He sat down in front of us, and asked if we needed any help. I said that we were just passing through, and he said he was staying with his cousin Joaquim, who lived just across the street. His cousin told us they were looking for a cleaning lady, but that she was too old to work.
Cuidarlo explained that he lived on the first floor above the store, and that he only wanted to go down to the bottom floor for some work. I thanked him, and asked if he knew anyone by the name of Joaquim. He said he did. So, we asked him if he could give us a call and see if he could take care of our ailing dog.
Cuidarlo showed us his credentials. They had given him a workers’ license, with a gold star certificate. He showed us his credentials, and assured us that he would not let anyone else take care of our dog while he was busy. (As it happened, Joaquim was not a registered pet owner, but he was a licensed construction worker.) Thus, Cuidarlo took excellent care of our puppy, doing all the walking, feeding and taking care of any other chores we may have taken on ourselves.
Once we got home, my husband told me how much he loved our little pup. I was really touched by his gratitude, which caused me to cry. (This is probably because, in all honesty, I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like at home – I’m always busy doing work – and therefore, I don’t get to see my pets as much.) Anyway, I was so thankful to have such a kind, patient and caring friend. This made me think of Joaquim and all the things that could have been done if he’d chosen to become a dog owner.
Cuidarlo and I fell in love pretty quickly. There must have been something unique about our relationship. We’ve been married for about 25 years now. In those years, I’ve never found a more trustworthy and caring partner. But this was different – this was love. Cuidarlo was the perfect partner for me.
One day, while I was washing dishes, I noticed my dog Cuidarlo standing next to me. He seemed to be looking at me in a familiar way, as if he were proud of me or maybe trying to tell me a story. When I asked what was wrong, he said that it was just the usual routine – that he and his mate used to do it every day. Then, as an act of affection, he jumped on me and gave me a big hug, as if to say “love you very much”.