School of engineering
It’s early in the morning, and I am not sure if this is part of my dreams, but I am walking through the classroom. The professor is at the front of the class, analyzing all the faces in the quorum, all 60 of them. Although it seems crowded it is something usual for us in the School of Engineering of the Central University of Venezuela, the place is clean and warm, after all, we live in a tropical country, you can hear whispers now and them and the smell of the chalk moving, displaying knowledge, is prominent. Even when the teacher can see how most of us are still sleepy and fatigue, he also notices our passion for learning. That morning the door opened abruptly and this small and smelly creature entered to the classroom, the students laugh when they saw the animal, but the professor was so furious that he just stopped the lecture and did what most student fear, he counted the class as done and without more words left the room.
These dogs are part of the college
The dogs have always been part of the college from what I know; there are some of them that have more than 15 years In some of the schools, students usually take good care of them: with food, veterinary assistance and the most important, love. These animals are defended and protected by the community, making them our beloved pets. Some of the schools have even confirmed groups dedicated to the care of the dogs, such is the case of the school of science, and it is unusual to see someone acting with displeasure toward the animals.
Sadly the U.C.V has become the best place where to abandon your pets, no matter the reasons, more and more dogs are let behind, at the beginning of the year there was only 2, but a couple of months later, I can count 7. Now the campus became a louder place were barks passed to be part of the background noise of every class.
All my classmates were angry at the professor for his attitude, but I could not stop thinking, why he did that. I am more than happy with having pets in my school it is relaxing, and you can play with them, and after a tough exam, your pet is always there for you, no matter the grade you got. But that day I saw them different, with the eyes of my professor.
There is a myth in the campus about the origin of the many dogs that live in most of the schools, it says that once ago Medicine students were experimenting with dogs, but they could not just get rid of the animals, so instead, they release them in the campus. Maybe that’s the reason, but I believe that the dogs abandoned by their owners, that are not satisfied with the reduction in the cuteness of their puppies. That used to be the most believable origin history, in my opinion, but recently Venezuela it has been going through one of the world’s top inflation disasters for most of the population the ability to provide a meal is challenged, prices are going up daily affordable food is rationed so if human food is hard to come by dog food becomes a luxury for many of these families.
Many mornings you can wake up without and just skip the breakfast before going to the first class, but no matter how tired you feel due to the hunger you can bet that everyone is making their best to get all the knowledge.
That day I understood what was what felt my professor and it was not displeasure, for him and for that moment in that class, the dog symbolized the misery making his way through the college, the last beacon of hope for a future Venezuela. Dogs are also hungry, and they need to feel the love of other creature, that is why they like to remain in the nearby, innocent animals, that act under the most primitive instinct.
The black and white sentinel
Recently the whole semester was paused due to the instability of the capital city, where the U.C.V is at, there were entire weeks when the free transit blocked, and this situation makes impossible that the students can make it to the classrooms. The halls of the school are currently empty but an exception a single dog that remained, loyal to the place, guarding it against any stranger’s face. Other dogs disappeared, there used to be between 20-30, but since there are not students to take care of them and feed them, they had to go to a better place I guess. he only guardian that is still standing, no matter the hunger or the lack of company, if you pass by the school of engineering, you are going to see him.
Some of the students are still on the campus even though there are no classes. We want to avoid leaving the U.C.V alone since the college is well known to be mostly in opposition to the government of Maduro and is likely to be targeted for a populist invasion. I am pretty sure that coming the day our Sentinel will defend its school until its last breath, the loyalty of a dog has no equal in the animal world.
No one knows until when; the semester is going to remain paused if the halls are going to be full of people and dogs once more, if there is going to be a solution for our dilemmas, and after a couple of months it doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
Today I went to visit my college dog, but I could not find him. I wonder what happened to him, maybe he got tired of defending a lost cause, he could also be taken in adoption by some student, but I doubt it, having an animal is a luxury that a student cannot afford, or maybe the school of engineering still there thanks to him.