If you’ve been reading the blog, you should be aware that I have a dog, her name is Shaiah. Whenever I walk into ‘town’ (the post office and a store that has baked beans and crackers) she always follows me because dogs are pretty cool like that. No one has a leash or anything so your dog just kind of follows you wherever you go, they’re pretty loyal even though they get treated so badly. I’m sure many of you at home who have dogs notice that if a car goes by sometimes the dog goes crazy and tries to attack the tire of the car, which is obviously a death sentence for the dog. In America dogs are usually on a leash so this is not a problem, but on Ambae (and Vanuatu in general) a leash would be ridiculous. As I was starting to walk home a truck was coming pretty fast and I noticed my dog running directly towards it and something told me it wasn’t going to end well.
It’s pretty horrific to witness your first truck hitting a dog experience, and this was no exception, especially when it was your dog. Yes the back wheel hit little Shy and sort of twisted her neck around and left her in a heap of her own feces and blood. That was the first time I cried on the island and I have no problem admitting that, I really love that dog and she’s been really great to me. I was crying quite a bit and yelling and was quickly surrounded by about 50 Nivans who’s first and immediate reaction was “quick, get him a new puppy, I think this house down here has one”. It’s times like this when the cultural barrier hits you like a truck. After making it very clear that I did not want anyone’s dog and hearing everyone saying she’s dead a truck came and I brought her on and took her back to my house.
It was a really low point for me, one of those times when the dog you’ve had for over 6 months is very slowly painfully dying and there’s nothing you can do. I’m on an island that has poor healthcare for people, the only solution to this problem for a Nivan would be to kill the dog. Little Shy seemed to have other plans because although it was a very rough time for her, she was actually surviving somehow, well she wasn’t dead yet anyway. For the next three days she didn’t drink water or eat food even though I tried. End of the third day she finally ate a spoonful of peanut butter and drank 3 bowls of milk and somehow she just kept getting better after that. It was pretty amazing and I’m still amazed she was alive.
She started walking around again but her coordination was so bad that she was constantly walking into walls and tripping on her own feet, I thought it was permanent damage but it’s been over a month now and she’s seem to have made a complete recovery! Everyone who sees her walking in town with me now asks if I got another dog and I have to explain that no, this is the same dog. They give me crazy looks and think I resurrected her using black magic but I just told them I’m an animal doctor and they seem to accept it and are just as amazed as I am that she’s OK and walking around! Klosap taem blo hemi gat bel! (Almost time for her to be preggers!), oh the joys of being a dog dad!