Cozumel Town Dog Lola

A Tribute to Lola:  Cozumel’s “Town Dog” & Her Passing

Residents & Visitors Alike share touching stories…..

 

Photo Courtesy of Valerie Grogan

Last Sunday marked the passing of the “town dog” Lola. While no one really knows for sure how old Lola was, and reports varied, a best guess is that she was “more or less”  18 years old.  She was well known, popular in social media and even given her own video by the Department of Tourism last year.  Although Lola will never be known for her sunny disposition, or love of all strangers, she was a dedicated protector of the downtown square and remains a Cozumel icon.

In her puppy years, Lola took on the roll as the un-official mascot of the tourist police and would often accompany them on patrol.  Stories abound about her barking and alerting authorities when mischief was about.  Over the years, as her reputation grew, Lola was gifted not only a “sheriff’s star” which she

Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Hartman

proudly wore on her collar, but an amazing collection of sweaters and jackets to ward off those chilly Caribbean evenings.

 

Throughout her long life  many people offered to adopt Lola and give her a “real home,”  most notably Cheryl Hartman, who actually met Lola, and her soon-to-be-husband, at the same time, while they were on patrol together.  “I was walking Sanson, the German Shepherd, and it began to rain so we went to take cover under the roof at the bank. A Tourist Police, my current husband Jose, being accompanied by Sherriff Lola, took refuge under the same roof.   While we waited for the rain to end, Jose and I chatted and Lola and Sanson sat by. This was July 2006.  It’s often said that dogs can bring people together.   So in a sense, Lola and Sanson were our match makers,” wrote Cheryl.

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Whiteley

Lola would often visit her home for a brief visit but always returned to the park she loved.  She could oftentimes be aloof, especially if roused from a nap.  In her later years, it’s believed she was mostly deaf, and therefore wary of strangers, but could always be won over with an all-beef hotdog which she relished.

 

As Lola progressed in years, she was well taken care of and had regular medical check ups.  They say it takes a village and in this case Lola was cared for by Gen Hartman,  Dr. Julio the vet,  and several shopkeepers in the town square – most notably Luis and Chivo – who kept an eye on her let her sleep in their store, made sure she took her meds and wore the variety of sweaters that so many people were kind enough to donate.

Lola touched so many and our lives were brightened by having her in it. She was a shining example of what made

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Grunewald

Cozumel so special to so many.

Gen issued a brief statement when Lola’s passing was announced:  “Lola passed away today at 8 AM. She lived her life to the fullest doing what she wanted when she wanted to do it … Benito Juarez Park was her home since puppyhood. there she had her freedom and the life that she deserved. I will miss her terribly as I know you all will too.”

 

Homenaje a Lola, la “perra de Cozumel” y su deceso

Los habitantes y visitantes comparten historias emotivas. . . .

Photo Courtesy of Agustin Calata

El domingo pasado falleció Lola, la “perra del pueblo”. No obstante que nadie sabía su edad y que la información era variable, se conjetura que “más o menos” tenía 18 años de edad. Era muy conocida, popular en los medios sociales e inclusive la Dirección de Turismo hizo un video de ella el año pasado. A pesar que Lola nunca será recordada por un alegre temperamento o cariño a los extraños, era una dedicada protectora de la plaza del centro y queda como símbolo de Cozumel.

 

En su etapa de cachorrita Lola se adjudico el papel de la mascota no oficial de la policía turística y con frecuencia les acompañaba a patrullar. Abundan historias sobre su ladrido y alerta a las autoridades cuando habían actos malintencionados. Con el correr de los años y conforme su reputación aumentó, Lola fue premiada no sólo con la “estrella del alguacil” que orgullosamente portaba en su collar, sino también con una impresionante colección de suéteres y chaquetas para protegerse de esas frías noches caribeñas.

 

Durante su larga vida muchas personas ofrecieron adoptar a Lola y darle un “verdadero hogar”, en particular Cheryl

Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Hartman

Hartman quien conoció a Lola y a su futuro marido al mismo tiempo, mientras patrullaban juntos. “Caminaba a Sansón, el pastor alemán, y comenzó a llover por lo que nos cubrimos bajo el techo de un banco. José, policía turístico y mi actual esposo, acompañado por la alguacil Lola, se refugiaron bajo el mismo techo. En tanto esperábamos que pasara la lluvia, José y yo charlábamos en lo que Lola y Sansón se mantenían sentados. Esto fue en julio del año 2006. Con frecuencia se dice que los perros  unen a la gente. Así que de cierta manera Lola y Sansón fueron nuestros casamenteros”, escribió Cheryl.

 

Con frecuencia Lola realizaba una breve visita a su casa, pero siempre regresaba al parque que quería. A menudo era esquiva, en especial cuando se le levantaba de una siesta. Se cree que en sus últimos años estaba casi sorda, y por ello desconfiaba de los extraños; sin embargo, siempre podía conquistársele con un hotdog de carne que le encantaba.

 

Photo Courtesy of Cheryl Hartman

Conforme transcurrieron los años, Lola recibió buenos cuidados y revisiones medicas regulares.  Se dice que se requiere de toda una comuna para  lograr algo y en este caso Lola recibió los cuidados de Gen Hartman del Veterinario Julio, y de diversos comerciantes de la plaza del centro, particularmente de Luis y de Chivo quienes estaban pendientes de ella, le permitían dormir en sus tiendas, se aseguraban de que tomara sus medicamentos y que usara los diversos suéteres que amablemente la gente había donado.

 

Lola hizo la diferencia en muchos y nos iluminó al estar en nuestras idas. Era un brillante ejemplo de lo que hace que Cozumel sea especial para muchos.

 

Gen emitió una corta declaración al fallecer Lola: “Lola falleció el día de hoy a las 8am. Vivió una vida plena haciendo lo que quería, al momento que deseaba hacerlo… El parque Benito Juárez era su hogar desde que era una cachorrita. Ahí tuvo su libertad y la vida que merecía. La extrañare  muchísimo y se que ustedes también lo harán”.

Laura Wilkinson

Author at Cozumel 4 You
Laura Wilkinson is the Editor for Cozumel 4 You. An ex-Connecticut Yankee who has called Cozumel home for over 15 years, Laura ran away to the Caribbean years ago, bumped around the islands teaching SCUBA diving, lost some time in Jamaica, and finally stopped in Cozumel for a 2 week vacation that hasn’t ended yet. With a degree in Journalism from a fancy private college she convinced her parents to pay for, Laura writes, edits, and creates the weekly Cozumel 4 You news, promotional articles about the island, and her very own blog, which she finds hilarious. Her long suffering husband, the Fabster, has long since resigned himself to having zero private life, as he’s been involved in her various schemes and plots since his arrival. Proud parents to a variety of rescue dogs and cats, Laura continues to be the bane of her traditional Mexican mother-in-law’s existence, as she muses her way through life in the Mexican Caribbean.

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2 Comments
  1. Cozumel Carla 4 months ago

    Could a statue of Lola be sculpted and placed in the park. I think many would donate to the cause.

  2. stephen engelby 4 months ago

    I plan to become a citizen of Mexico, the culture, people, food has such appeal to my wife Dana and I. I’m retired but have much strength and desire for this upcoming adventure. I will enter the island as a resident with Mexican passport in hand and hope to become part of this beautiful community. Hope to make this peaceful isla my new home.

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