Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Puppies

There are only a few indigenous wild animals in the Turks and Caicos Islands and most now are endangered or extinct. The Rock Iguana used to inhabit 90% of the islands, now its range of habitat is 5%. The Red Footed Bo0bie was eaten to extinction hundreds of years ago. In the 16th century, the Spanish introduced cattle to the islands as a food source for ship wreck survivors. In the 17th century the Bermudians left horses and donkeys to reproduce for draft animals. Because the original genetic pool was so small, today there is actually a separate breed of donkey known as the Turks Island Donkey.

These are now the wild animals that roam freely throughout the island. There is also just one breed of dog on the island of Grand Turk, the potcake. These dogs live wild throughout the island. Most are very ugly. Some are cute. They are like squirrels. They just run around and no one really notices. I notice tourists having compassion over them. But after about two weeks you just see them as squirrels. If you put a collar on one you can claim it, and then feed it. Animal control traps them and removes animals without collars from the population.

In November, before we came, a dog had seven puppies in the bush (the overgrown undeveloped part of the island) behind our house. These puppies have been running around our compound looking for food and sleeping under cars. We have two trucks parked in our yard (remember, this is a separate blog) so we have had the puppies sleeping at our house for the last two weeks.

There are five left. One has a hurt leg, one is a runt, one is black, and one is creamy. The fifth must be the alpha. It is mean and never comes up to the house.

I have been trying to keep the boys from messing with them. Our neighbors have called animal control several times. The one with the hurt leg is not fending for itself and has gotten very skinny. I told the boys not to become attached because the puppies are not going to last long. Last week Davis gave the one with the hurt leg some leftover pancakes. So we named it Pancake. Then we named the others Cupcake, Poundcake, and Patty. Well, that got the better of us.

We have started operation head-of-the-pack. Every night for the last three nights we have fed the puppies and tried to get them to come up on the porch. Three of them, Pancake, Poundcake, and Patty, are very receptive. Two nights ago they ate food from our hands. Last night only Patty and Cupcake showed up, but Patty ate from Deneen's hand and let Davis touch her.

We have decided that if we can get the three cute ones to cooperate, we will collar them and keep them. I went to get dogfood, but it was $40 a bag. Deneen said we should get the dog food and give it to Davis for Christmas. But last night when Pancake did not show up, we thought that we should wait to see if the puppies will be around long enough to domesticate.

Davis called work today to say that Pancake had returned. I think I am going to go get dogfood and give Davis dog collars for Christmas.

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