Dogs, Dogs, and more Dogs

Posted: February 12, 2009 in Uncategorized

Dog faceDogs are a necessary part of
life in Haiti.  Since most of us live in walled in houses there is no
need for walking the dog, leashing the dog, chasing the dog or losing
the dog.  This is pretty convenient until they need to go to the vet. 
Then things can get pretty interesting.
Almost everyone in Haiti has
a dog for security.  Since dogs are pack animals I am of the thinking
that one dog is just not enough.  So each of our houses has multiple
dogs.  I’m also of the thinking that if you are going to get a dog you
should get a DOG!  My idea of a dog is that it should weigh more than
me and just the sight of the animal should send a would be thief
running.
I do have dogs, several of them, that weigh more than me. 
They start out small and cute so I sort of sneak them in the door. 
Usually in twos remembering the "pack" animal thing.  Of course, I
don’t mention that the family becomes the pack and the entire herd of
dogs want to be where the people are at every waking (and sleeping)
moment.  As I write this I have three sleeping mastiffs at my feet. 
Giant, male mastiffs who panic at leashes, can open and close the house
doors themselves and think they belong on the floor at both sides of
our bed.  John being a night owl is constantly tripping over a dog in
the dark.  But, he values the happy state of our marriage so the dogs
guard inside the house and not outside.  Marriage aside, did you ever
try to put a 200 plus pound mastiff out for the night if he didn’t want
to go?  The mastiff wins every time!
Since
we have a lot of guests their dog loving or dog hating status reveals
itself pretty quickly when they visit.  The dog lovers ignore the
drool, pat, hug and take endless pictures of the giant beasts.  The dog
haters try to ignore the massive animals and of course doggie radar
tells the dogs to zero in on those folks.  Telling them to back off is
like telling them to try to sit on the visitor’s lap.  Larry, still a
pup, yet big, just doesn’t get it.  "Larry go" means absolutely nothing
to him.  He just doesn’t get it and continues to annoy anyone who does
not adore him.  We love him and he annoys us!
The
female mastiffs live at the girl’s home and tend to be skinny because
they think they should live on leftovers alone.  They turn their
mastiff noses up at dog food.  We live with one sort of dog drama or
another at most times.  We have had  planned and not planned puppies
with delightful and sometimes sad results.  The kids and the workers
all get involved in these dramas.  The workers always seem to know and
relish announcing when they think a female is pregnant. 
Mastiffs have a great life in Haiti.  They chase rats
and lizards (rabies vaccinations are a must), they roam freely, sleep
away the heat of the day and keep their owners well protected while the
paid guard sleeps.  They drool, eat massive amounts of dog food (we buy
bulk – still cheaper than the guard) and entertain folks who have never
seen an animal that big before! 
They even come with built in
personalities.  We have the hyper – look at me,  Larry.  We have
dominant Marley who the others tremble at and drop their food for if he
demands it.  And we have Maguire, the most Christian like of all dogs
and we would do well to be like him.  He is low key, loving, faithful
and very sure of himself but never needs to prove it.  He could crush
the others in a heartbeat but it would never occurr to him to do so. 
He’s the real dog deal but doesn’t seem to care.
So, when you come
to our house you can feel safe at night that no thieves would dare
break in.  But, if you get up for a midnight snack you might meet your
end by tripping over a mastiff.  Bring a flashlight!Dog face

Beth McHoul

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