Recently I met some Dutch visitors (one of whom I know) strolling along a quiet back street near to their vacation abode. A well-kept, good looking brown dog accompanied them.

As we chatted, they explained that the dog had arrived at their vacation rental on New Year’s Day, most likely having run off from home on account of terror caused by fireworks. He had "adopted" them, as they fed him daily, showed him love and their two toddlers were as thrilled to have him as a playmate as he was to have them as his.

The toddlers had named him “Doggie” ; their grandfather had named him “Toby – short for Tobago.”

The visiting three-generation family had fallen in love with the dog, and from all appearances, the feeling was mutual.

My acquaintance (mother of the toddlers) asked if I could help them find his owners.

I took some photographs of the dog and posted them to the Venus Doggess Of Love animal rescue Facebook page. Based on his gentle, friendly demeanour and well-kept, healthy appearance, I deduced that Toby was a much-loved pet. Somewhere out there, his human family must be frantic with worry – but perhaps had not thought to print "Lost Dog" flyers and place them around the community and environs.

Days passed and no one came forward to claim Toby. The visitors, who were soon to return to Holland, were concerned about their new canine friend’s fate. Who would feed and care for him once they had departed? Where would he find shelter and safety once the gates to their vacation abode were locked? What if someone else rented the space and did not want Toby hanging around what had become his familiar hangout?


One afternoon as I was driving home, I met a friend who said he had heard through the grapevine that Toby belonged to a man of East Indian origin with a business along Milford Road. This businessman had apparently been at the Bon Accord jetty quite recently, looking for a dog of Toby’s description.

Our search would have been more intense had we been in Trinidad, where multitudes of businesses are run by entrepreneurs of East Indian origin. We could think of only three such businesses along the Milford Road stretch – Bon Accord Food Basket, Canaan Food Basket, Dave’s Hardware. We enquired at each establishment, but no one had heard about a missing brown dog; neither had they been searching at the jetty.

Time was of the essence. The Dutch family was scheduled to leave on Friday, the day after we had gone searching for the mystery businessman.

That Friday, before leaving for the airport, the grandfather placed Toby in our care, hopeful that we would eventually locate his owners.

When additional posts to our regular social media channels were unsuccessful in bringing forth owners, the idea occurred to me to widen the reach by contacting Tobago Channel 5. As it was a weekend and they had no live programming, they posted Toby’s photo and relevant info on their Facebook page.

Within an hour someone who had seen the post contacted me via WhatsApp to say that the dog, named Max, belonged to his grandmother and cousin and that he had gone missing after Old Year’s night fireworks.

“It was just this morning we were speaking about him again and wondering if he would make it home,” he texted.

Soon after, I phoned the man’s cousin, Shaquille (who, as it turns out, is not a businessman of East Indian origin). He was overjoyed to hear that their beloved Max had been found and was alive and well. He had been missed, even by the villagers, all of whom respect Max and consider him a wonderful dog. The reunion was a happy one.

Upon rescuing Max, whom he had first encountered as a chained, unhappy pup, Shaquille had promised him that he would never be chained and unhappy again. As such, Max is free, allowed to roam, yet inclined to stay close to home. On Old Year’s night Shaquille, who had stepped out briefly, did not think that firework explosions would have taken place when they did. Had he been at home, Max would have been safely indoors.

Thankfully, even in his terror, Max was fortunate to run into the arms of love. Not all lost dogs are as lucky. Whenever you see a strange, possibly confused-looking dog in your area, be kind and do what you can to try and find his/her owners. Happy reunions are a joy to experience.



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