AS TOLD TO BC PIRES
My name is Jessica Jaggernauth and I am the administrative assistant at the Trinidad Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
I am from St Helena side, the side with the flooding!
It’s a really nice village. Not too much crime, and you have a doubles stand everywhere you go!
My immediate family is just my mom, Nadira Morang, and my younger sisters Chelsea and Gabriella. My dad left, like, four years ago. We survived. Gabriella now going into standard four, so it hit her the most. We just try to be with her as much as we can.
Chelsea is one year younger than me so we are the best of friends.
All our lives, people have asked us if we’re twins, we look so alike.
Now, we embrace it and we just say, yeah-yeah, we’s twins! We even dress as much like one another as we can, deliberately, just to throw off people!
I have two cats: Static, that’s my boy, and Xena, my girl, is the cutest fur ball, with the most unusual black-and-white-mixed together.
I got her from the TSPCA for my “twin,” for her birthday. She came in as a stray.
People believe-believe-believe that the TSPCA is government-funded – but that is not true.
We are grateful to individuals who give a little $10 or $20. We are grateful for every little thing.
I’m the youngest in the office, so obviously, everything technology-wise falls on me. I update the system, all the forms people fill out to give up (or adopt) animals. I help run the Facebook and Instagram pages. Pictures of all the dogs and cats we have for adoption. I answer the phones. Take over the hard telephone calls from aggressive people.
The first thing I do every day at work is pray that it is going to be a day without drama from people because of their animals.
We expect everyone to come on like a bull with us.
When we get understanding customers, is like finding diamonds in coal.
People pick up a stray and, whether it bleeding, whether it injured, whether it minutes away from dying, we’re supposed to work miracles to bring that animal back to life!
They don’t want to hear about any contribution or how the animal getting food or veterinary care. Their mindset is, “I rescue the animal from the street, I coulda leave it there!” They just want to think that’s their good karma for now.
This couple was going through a divorce and the wife came to give up her dog because she said she was moving to a place where she couldn’t have pets.
It was a good-looking dog, we felt we could find a home for it, so we said all right.
Next day, the husband come to get back his “child,” because the wife was just spiting him, this dog mean so much to him.
Sometimes we don’t know what to do, we just have to sit down and laugh!
We posted a video online of “the Getaway Car.” A woman (claimed) she lived for 25 years in the States and was in Trinidad for vacation and took a puppy from a friend. Something was wrong with the eye and the skin had a rash: what could we do to help?
Now, we don't have a vet so we tell her carry it by the vet first.
She said she don’t have any money.
We said, would she be able to afford the $100 fee to put the animal down?
She went outside, sit in the car, talking with two other people. We watching them from inside.
(The others) thought she was going to take the animal to the vet but I just knew she was going to do something stupid. She reverse the car, they throw the box with the puppy out, and (peel tyres).
We always tell anyone who brings in strays that they can contribute anything they want to. If is $5, if is $10, if is a bag of chow, is all okay.
People phone us about people cow (mooing loud). We get calls about people’ goat in the road. People ring for us to come and move a caiman from they backyard!
I know it have “animals” in our name, but we really just deal with dogs and cats.
Not all, but most people in rural areas in Trinidad don’t know much about animal care. They want a dog in their yard just for protection.
That dog could get scraps. They throw it a bone and that dog have to survive on that one bone until tomorrow. They don’t think about it as a family member.
Someone brought in a dog with a whole limb eaten off by maggots, you seeing the bone!
I was sick, sad and depressed all at the same time. If I get a little paper cut, I crying for days!
Imagine the pain that animal went through! With maggots basically eating it from the inside!
It’s mind-baffling that the person could have left that dog there for so long for it to end up so bad!
We had to put the animal down! It was just barely hanging on.
Probably decades ago, we had a vet (on staff) but now we only have volunteer vets who come in to see about vaccines and spaying and such.
To get people to commit to surgery dates for spaying and neutering, we ask them to pay a deposit. No Trini going to pay money for something and not stick to it; that’s like wasting they $2, and they going to make sure that don’t happen!
The best thing about the job is I get to interact and play with the animals, obviously. And you get to meet a lot of good, lovely people.
The only bad thing is you get the crazy people who expect so much from you and start to cuss and quarrel.
Anywhere you go, a Trini will make you have the time of your life.
Once it have beers.
Nowadays, Trinidad and Tobago is scary-scary-scary.
Before, it was a lovely place to be, where you could play in the streets, walk anywhere, anytime of the night, enjoy nature, meet nice people. And not be paranoid about getting raped, robbed or killed.
I would either like it to go back to how it was, or I would like to move.
Read the full version of this feature on Wednesday at www.BCPires.com