A free spirit is good until it means wandering the neighborhood without a leash. This was AJ the other day.

I was even more distraught because I never put her collar on first thing in the morning. She had always been good about doing her business and coming back upstairs to hang out or eat. That was until Monday. Suddenly it meant she was roaming the streets without ID.

Pepe put an end to that happening again.

Pepe uses bamboo to secure the property line next to the vacant lot so AJ doesn’t get out. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

He is my sister’s gardener at the house here in Todos Santos. He is also the one who found her sauntering along the adjacent side street. Fashioning a leash of sorts, he led her back to her confines.

I thought I had plugged all the holes. This was over the course of multiple days because I kept finding her in the empty lot next door. Obviously she was better at getting out than I was at keeping her in.

Pepe had the more permanent solution. He came back that afternoon with two bundles of bamboo. Barbed wire already existed in a horizontal direction. He put in the bamboo vertically. No longer are there gaps in the fence for the dog to go through.

The fence is working much to AJ’s chagrin. It’s not like this is a small yard. There is fencing around the whole property, so she has access to the front, back and sides all at once. Plus, she can be upstairs or downstairs. This is the most amount of open space she’s ever had.

AJ no longer gets to be on the other side of the fence. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

For the last few days AJ has been acting like she is patrolling the yard, but in reality she is looking for another escape route. Pepe won that contest.

Clearly, Pepe is much more than a gardener. I had bonded with him last fall when he was first hired to do work here. We spent several days together cleaning up the yard. At the end of each day I’d give him a beer. On days he was without a car I’d drive him home.

His English is better than my Spanish. Still, we communicate well enough.

Earlier this year he brought over two lovely plants for the yard. He wouldn’t let me pay him for them. He said he has many. We agreed to where he would plant them. His kind gesture in the long run meant more work for himself.

Pepe’s work ethic is incredible. His personality is always upbeat even when he is exhausted, sweating and probably ready to collapse. He came recommended from two neighbors who also employ his services. What a treasure he is.

The minimum wage in Mexico is about $5 a day. He makes more than that here at Casa Luna.

When he gave me the bill for the fence work – 300 pesos, about $15 – he got a lot more. Protecting my fur baby really doesn’t have a price tag.

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