Letter to the black dog of Embacadere


Dear Black Dog of Embacadere,

That is the name I had given you before I learned that you were ‘Madison’ – –a name possibly given to you by the individual who tortured you to death by hanging.

I saw you only in the two seconds I could watch of the video footage of your murder. In those brief seconds you twisted and writhed, dangling from a high branch by the rope around your neck. I thank God I did not hear your tormented cries. The image alone made me nauseous for a few days after. This feeling was intensified whenever I saw, on social media, the circulated screenshot of the individual who orchestrated your suffering...large and grinning as if in a toothpaste commercial, hands gripping the rope with which he laughingly elevated you to your death.

I hear that you ‘belonged’ to him. Regardless of how he may have treated you, I have no doubt that, being a dog, you consistently loved, forgave and trusted him. You would have guarded him with your life.

I know this about you because I grew up with dogs as close companions. The two with whom I now live, Venus and Sheba, are beloved family members of mine. I adopted Venus as a pup from the TTSPCA (Tobago) and rescued Sheba (also a ‘Tobago Terrier’) from a life of neglect.

I love and care for these dogs and am privileged to enjoy their unconditional love and close companionship. Venus in particular loves beach walks and runs. Prior to leaving home, all I need to do is lift the leash and she goes wild, running excitedly in circles. My mind is not capable of thinking, even for a nanosecond, of using that leash for a purpose other than one of her greatest pleasures.

My heart breaks to think that you might have thought that your ‘owner’ was tying that rope around your neck to take you for a walk, a gesture of love. Although, it is possible that you may have thought the rope was being placed around your neck to tie you to a kennel 24/7. A treatment meted out to so many dogs, that too is a form of torture, especially to a being whose nature is to enjoy freedom.

I would like to rename you, to set your spirit free from the heavy weight carried in ‘Madison’. Despite the associations the area known as Embacadere now has with the crime committed against you, I like the sound of the name and will shorten it to ‘Emba’. I will re-spell it as ‘Ember’ (a glowing fragment of wood or coal in a dying fire), inspired by what an older friend once told me:

“Whenever a pet dies, it becomes a new star in the sky.” Stars are like constantly glowing embers in the vast coal black of the Cosmos – where you now sparkle.

They say that the pen is mightier than the sword. I pray that my words today be their mightiest ever – invested with the power to touch the heart of even one person in this nation whose authority will command immediate approval of the updated domestic animal cruelty legislation of TT.

Until this happens, thousands of animal lovers and advocates throughout TT are left hanging by a seemingly never-ending rope of increasingly heinous animal cruelty cases which have never known justice through weak, century-old legislation and lack of consistent enforcement.

There is an explanatory text that accompanies the Carib’s clay dog artefacts displayed at the Tobago Historical Museum (Fort King George, Tobago):

“Caribs believed that the souls of the dead met with many obstacles on their way back to the Father Creator. Among these were the Protector Spirit of several animals (frogs, fishes, etc). One of them was a fierce dog who would destroy the person’s soul if during his lifetime he had been unkind to dogs or had killed one. Thence many Caribs were buried accompanied by dog images to lead them on their dangerous way and to prove to the said Protector Spirit that the deceased has not sinned against them.”

May the great ancestral Protector Spirit act now, ensuring that highest protection is established for this nation’s animals. No more shall they suffer. Full justice must be served.

Yours truly,


On behalf of all animal lovers/advocates of TT


"Letter to the black dog of Embacadere"

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