Some weeks ago I wrote an article in honour of Daddy’s recently deceased sister, Jeanette (Auntie Jean)...her life, her love for animals and the homeless dog I had rescued around the time of her death and named after her.
This article is, in part, an update, for those who want to know what became of that dog.
After being rescued and spayed, she and her son (Reign) were lodged at the Canine Cottage, a spacious, rustic structure constructed to house dogs (usually one or two at a time) that we rescue until they are fostered or adopted.
Clearly a seasoned and intelligent Houdini, Jean kept escaping from the cottage which (except for one other Houdini who was adopted quite quickly) has thus far effectively secured all rescues.
How on earth was she escaping? Slipping into sleuth gear and discovering certain "clues," we deduced that she was climbing the slats of wood on the walls and jumping from the space between the top of the wall and the ceiling to the ground, about eight or more feet below. Knowing that food and attention were guaranteed, she hung around on the property, but, with the streets being her former haunt, she would sometimes wander back to the spot where she was found...only to wander back "home" again, unwittingly courting vehicular danger.
Her slightly twisted back legs, although being no hindrance, as she can run like Usain Bolt, suggested to us that she had been hit by a car (or some other heavy object) in the past. Not wanting this fate to be repeated, we decided that confinement would be safer until a loving home was found.
Several attempts to barricade apparent escape routes were futile, until one handyman volunteer managed to "seal the deal." With no chance of escape, Jean stayed put...but not for long.
Two English friends, who flew into Tobago early in December to stay at their villa for a few weeks, indicated in advance of their arrival their eagerness to foster a dog during their stay. The only dogs with which they have ever had the pleasure of sharing their UK home are Tobago rescues (thus far, three in total).
Their most recent, Frankie, was a small, half-dead, flea-ridden pup that someone had dumped near a dustbin, to which he was tied with a dirty piece of cloth. When a friend called me to come and get him, we had no idea who would foster him...until another friend suggested our English dog-lover, who was here at the time.
From the moment she saw the sad-looking, flea-ridden bag of bones, she swept him into her arms...and the rest is history. In London, Frankie is the kind of dog that people admire on walks, asking: “What kind of dog is he? A Labrador?”
“A Tobago hunting terrier,” his humans respond, using the name they have coined for their Tobago pets, all of whom stand out as unique in the crowd of usually "high-breed" canines who are also out on long walks.
"We will only ever adopt Tobago dogs," our friends told me.
Frankie and his Tobago "sister," Dolly, have a wonderful life and are loved as members of the family. "From streets to sheets" could be their motto.
It made sense to suggest that Jean be their vacation foster dog. She would enjoy constant human company (which she loves), a fenced yard, a comfortable villa in which to sleep and lounge, and nourishing meat-and-steamed vegetable banquets. We handed her over...
On January 3, "Figgy" (her new name, short for "Figgy Pudding," due to her rich, pudding-like colouring) will fly via British Airways from Piarco to her new home in London. Please wish her a great journey.
Many visitors to the island (international and domestic) adopt rescued animals from Tobago or volunteer (voluntourism) in rescue, welfare and fostering efforts. This is largely how I meet these visitors, develop friendships with many and see, first-hand, their undeniable love for animals that are ordinarily considered as not being worthy of love and attention. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
Many may scoff at the idea of "animal rescue tourism," but I continue to stand by my conviction (based on experience) that it could (and will be, I will ensure) an incredible booster for the Tobago tourism industry.
But this is a whole other article (or, more so, proposal) in itself.