Day 16

Little Miss Annie slept on the bed with me last night from about 8:30 to 3am, when she got down. She wanted back up at 5am, and then we slept another hour. Still trying to catch up from turtle patrol… And then I made a huge mistake. Jennifer cooked some chicken legs for her dog and brought 2 over for Annie. I was going to pull the meat off, but thought that with those little puppy teeth she couldn’t get though the bones. Gave it to her, literally turned around no more than 10 minutes later and it was GONE. Like GONE! There were 2 splinters, each about 2″ long left. I freaking panicked! Contacted Jennifer on Whatsapp. When to Dr. Google to figure out what to do. So cooked chicken bones are WAY WORSE than raw ones! Kill me now for being such a horrible puppy mom!!!!!!!!!! Google mentioned “cushioning foods” such as bread or rice to help surround the sharp edges as they went through the digestive tract. Rice was on the stove before I could finish reading the sentence. This dog is going to be the death of me. OH! And today is the first day you can’t see her ribs or hips sticking out anymore!!

Website. Website, website, website. Trying my damnedest to get 2 weeks of work done in 3 days. I have to face the fact that a) it’s not going to happen  b) it’s not my fault. Getting this website done was part of my duties here, but getting access to the site ended up being a complete nightmare that took forever (no one’s fault, the domain and hosting was just under someone else’s email). So that’s what Day 16 consisted of- in addition to trying to get my own work done, and trying to find Annie a home. Possible lead on that…. Dogs and Cats of Antigua is the organization here that tries to save strays and get them good homes. Most of the time, those good homes are abroad. They work with a network of rescue and adoption organizations on the east coast of the US and Canada to get these babies a forever home. Well, one of the ladies from an organization in Canada saw my post on the Dogs and Cats of Antigua facebook group about Annie, and thinks she can get her a home there! I am willing to leave right after my housesit in Guadeloupe ends on July 27 (I did get another housesit in St. Lucia for August, but I haven’t confirmed yet and won’t until I know Annie’s situation). I would then come back to Antigua and fly to Canada with Annie to make sure she feels safe and secure and gets settled in! That said, I’m still working the angle to find her a home in Los Angeles and save myself the unexpected trip to Canada. If you know of anyone wonderful that wants the most adorable, sweetest, gentlest, SMARTEST pup who loves nothing more than bacon, other dogs, and following around the person she trusts- please let me know!!!

Playing with her baby is a LOT of work!

We went for one of our multiple daily garden walks, and she immediately pooped when we got off the path! Had to be a coincidence. I mean, she’s pooped outside a couple of times, but I’m fairly certain they were accidents! We went back out later in the afternoon, and once again, and immediate poop! No poops in the house today!! We have an entire happy poopy song about it. I’ve been overly praising her for going outside the past few days (on the rare occasion it happens), but not reprimanding her in the house. I just don’t feel like that’s my role in her life right now. I don’t yell at her for chewing shoes, I keep them away from her reach. I don’t yell at her for chewing cords, I keep them up high. She’s had enough trauma, the person she trusts most in the world right now doesn’t have the heart to give her anymore. She’ll be housebroken easily, she’s too smart not to be. Just not with me. Funny thing is that the house keeper got on my case yesterday because Annie pooped in a part of the house I never go into, so I didn’t see it. Annie saw me getting reprimanded. That is the last time she pooped in the house. Is she so smart that she wanted to save her mother that humility by never doing it again? Doubtful, but it’s a nice thought. 🙂

Oh, and the videos we took the past few days of the turtle nests and the red mangroves…RUINED BY THE DAMNED WIND! Can’t hear anything I’m saying. I’m so upset about this, because it means going out and refilming everything and sucking up even more time that I don’t have. Sigh. I swear, I feel like I’m constantly 1 step forward 3 steps back around here…. I ordered a wind microphone from Amazon- Brian’s going to bring it when it comes. Too late for Antigua videos, but I’ll have it for any others I do.

We went to bed early. She wanted up on the bed and I obliged. We played a game where my hand would grab her face and gently shake it, while I growled. A game we never could have played a few days ago because she was so scared of hands. After a few minutes, she laid down next to me, still as could be, and just stared right into my eyes for the longest time. Just looked at me with this pure love and trust. I broke down bawling again….Little does she know that I’ll have to abandon her soon. I hate me for it.

DAY 17
I woke up at 4:30. That means my body has recovered from turtle patrol!! Annie slept in bed with me ALL. NIGHT. LONG!!! That means no getting down to pee. So she can hold it all night now! We went out into the garden as soon as we got up. It was really dark, so I’m not sure if she went to the bathroom. Time (tile) will tell….

Today is my last Dr. Pepper. I had to double up a couple of days because I was so tired and stressed. And speaking of stress…. So I had this TV interview on Antiguan TV this morning. I didn’t arrange it, I didn’t choose the topic, and I didn’t even talk to a single person at the station before hand. Originally, I was supposed to go to the studio live. Then, because of my transportation situation (I have none), we decided on Skype. They sent me an email yesterday at 1pm. I responded within 20 minutes giving them all of the information they wanted, gave them some talking points, sent the videos and pictures, and asked some questions. Zero reply. Ok, I’ll be ready for my live interview at 7:00am. At 6:30, like the little efficient, professional, businesswoman I am, I got in front of the computer with Skype on. Had my slideshow all prepared. I expected they would call me a little before 7am to make sure everything was good and we could connect. 7am passes, 7:05…I’m getting kindy bitchy. First of all, I don’t like feeling unprepared, and for this, I really had no clue what they wanted exactly and what was expected. 7:10….7:12ish the phone in the house rings (there’s a land line here- like a phone connected to a wall with a cord!!). It was the studio, they couldn’t connect to me on Skype. I ran back and forth between the computer and the phone trying to troubleshoot, to no avail. They said ok, we’ll do a phone interview. I do not operate well like this… But fine, we’ll go with that. Waited for the call back, and was super nervous that I wouldn’t be able to understand their accents over the phone- it’s much easier when I can watch their mouths. I needed 3 more Dr. Peppers- STAT! Phone rings, they ask their questions. Of course I couldn’t see their faces so I can’t judge reactions (I never would have agreed to a phone only interview for TV). So I just blah, blah, blahed and I guess it went as well as could be expected. They really were lovely interviewers. If I lived here, I’d weasel my way into a regular segment!! You can watch the video of my audio here. 😄

After my brush with international fame, it was back to my main priority…Annie. In my never ending quest to find her a home, I have sent out messages to everyone I know. I even told my son and daughter-in-love who live in Colorado that if they would take her, I’d pay her food and vet bills for life! Lara wanted her!! Dylan, who is unfortunately as pragmatic as his mother, said 2 pets max, so if I shipped Annie there, I’d have to send a ticket to ship Lara’s cat OUT! Are children too old to be grounded at 27?? I asked Brian’s sister Angela, Karen (the lady who runs the program where I teach), and Tina (a friend who I met at that program about 7 years ago). Between the 3 of them, they know everyone in Los Angeles. Hell, I even asked my ex-husband on the east coast!! #nostoneunturned  Well, Tina messaged me to just bring her to LA with me and she’d definitely help me find her a home- and that turned into TINA IS GOING TO TAKE HER!!! Oh my god, Tina and her family will be the bestest!! Why? Here’s a partial list:
1. They already have dogs. Annie ADORES being with other dogs.
2. They have two kids. Annie needs playmates!
3. Those kids are homeschooled, so they’ll be with little Annie all of the time!! (Plus, that means her kids are smart. I know. I used to teach one of them. 😉)
4. They have a big yard with a pool!
5. They have huge, kind hearts and I know this will be a forever home.
6. And this is the biggie….they live like 15 minutes from me so I can be Aunt Mary and take Annie on adventures and watch her grow and thrive!!!!!

When I realized what Tina was offering, I burst into a blubbering mess (my go-to state of emotion these past few days….). But this time it was out of pure relief and joy- not sadness and fear and uncertainty. I could literally feel the burden rise off of me. Leaving her with her future up in the air has been weighing on my heart and mind constantly. Now, I can relax!!

Relax meant WEBSITE! I got a ton done today, and am finally at the stage where the framework is done and it’s time to start putting on the paint (images/content). Got the homepage 80% done today. We’ll start filling in content tomorrow and Saturday- then I’ll be back at Seatons with questionable wifi, so I really want to crank as much as possible before I go.

Jennifer picked me up to go to the store. Annie was thrilled to see Lily as usual. I got a pack of bacon (yeeeeesssssss!), a big bag of chicken breasts, a pack of coconut cookies (a different brand, they’ve been out of mine the past 2 trips), a slice of that fresh banana bread, and a Snickers bar- imported, yes, but much needed at this point, especially with the Dr. Pepper stash being gone. Jennifer bought a pack of smoked turkey deli meat- the thin sliced kind in like the 1 lb plastic bag. She gave some to Lily and some to Annie. Annie was like, “WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE???!!!” (all 10ish weeks of it), and scarfed it down even faster that Lily, who is approximately 20 times her size! We take off down the road, Jennifer looks in the rear view mirror, and that little toot bug had opened the box, got into the box, pulled out the pack of lunch meat, opened it, and was head deep in it!! We pulled over and got it away from her- but not before she ate a ton of it! Her belly looked like a butterball turkey!! I swear to god, she had literally eaten 4 times already today. She acts like I starve her….

We went to Turtle Bay and walked the dogs a bit. Came back, did a little website work, and called it a night. Tomorrow is a big day for Annie…a trip to the vet for her first shots!

Annie with her hero, Lily, at Turtle Bay.
My little beach pup!

DAY 18
When I left the house this morning for Annie’s vet appointment, I had no idea what I was in store for… Joy, the SAINT who runs Dogs and Cats of Antigua and has rescued thousands of animals here (with over 800 getting rehomed in the states and Canada last year alone!!) picked me up. She brought along her 2 dogs, Marina and Domino, who Annie immediately fell in love with, and sadly…as is the case most of the time…they did not return the 🐶❤. Luckily, Annie is content to calmly just sit on my lap wherever we go, so we headed off. Joy said that we needed to stop off and rescue some puppies who had been abadoned in a field nearby. Someone reported them. There were 6, but 2 had already died of exposure and starvation. JESUS. On the way, Joy’s car overheated, so we had to stop at the gas station and put in some coolant. John, the guy who knew where the puppies were, met us there, and we followed him to the field. And what we saw, I wasn’t prepared for. 4 tiny little puppies, about half the size of Annie so probably 5-6 weeks, hiding in tall grass, starving, and covered, I mean COVERED in mosquito bites, ant bites, fleas, and ringworm. It was awful. They were so young and weak that is wasn’t that difficult to catch them. I caught 2 and John caught 2. You have to understand- I picked them up by the scruff of their tiny necks. That little bit of flesh to flesh contact I had with them- their skin felt like it was covered in hard pimples- ant and mosquito bites. I can not even imagine the horrors these little dogs have been through. We put them all in one crate and loaded them into the back of Joy’s car to take to the vet with us. It was something I never want to see again. How these people do this EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. (and believe me, they’re out there rescuing dogs every day), I don’t know.

With the puppies loaded up, all 9 of us (2 humans, 7 dogs) headed to St. John’s to see the vet, Fiona. There were several people in the waiting room. Annie just sat on my lap, calm as calm could be. She knows I wouldn’t put her in a bad situation. We were called in and Fiona dealt with the puppies first. They only weighed between 2-3 lbs each. Oh my god, they were so much worse off than I imagined. Huge ringworms. Fiona tried to feed them- all but one ate. He was just lethargic and disinterested. And he had a fever. I hope he makes it…

Those markings on its head? Bites.
It’s this little brown one that isn’t doing too good…

Next it was Annie’s turn. She tipped the scales at a whopping 7 lbs!! Little roly poly puppy belly! Fiona gave her her first set of shots (she didn’t even flinch, because mommy was holding her!) and another dewormer. I paid for it, because I don’t want Dogs and Cats of Antigua to spend money on Annie- she’s my responsibility and god knows they have enough animals to take care of. Anyway, it was only $15.

Back out to the hot car. We had to stop and get puppy food and then drop the 4 pups off by another saint’s house who would foster them- in addition to about 12 other fosters he has at the moment. I can barely keep up with this one…. Dropped them off, then a long car ride back home. Is this how normal people spend their Caribbean island vacations????

I talked to Joy about how we get Annie home. She’ll come back in 3 weeks for her 2nd set of shots, rabies, and to be chipped. Her information will then be taken to the government to receive a health certificate so she can travel. So she’ll be ready to go when I get back from Guadeloupe at the end of July. Now, it’s about arranging flights. Normally, I book based on price. Now, it will be based on what can get Annie to LA fastest.

Worked on the website more and it’s really starting to come together! Hopefully I can have it live by Monday. Brian gets here Tuesday, and the whirlwind begins!! Went to bed early, per usual. Seriously, we were both exhausted after that long morning….

DAY 19
Last day at the villa!! Got up early, because today is a busy day! Started working on the website and setting up the Adopt A Coastline YouTube channel. I made bacon for breakfast. Annie was THRILLED. Got laundry going and worked on a final cleaning of my room and bathroom so I’m not a burden on Sharon, the housekeeper. More website, then because I’m such a celebrity in Antigua that a TV interview isn’t enough, I had to prep for my radio interview! This was a 15 minute interview all about home education around the world. Really nice chat, and hopefully it will be online in a few days and I can post it.

Annie helping me sweep! She literally dragged this broom in from the living room to put in “her” pile. It’s a hard knock life for us!

After that, more working on the website, then Jennifer came over. Then real estate agents came over because Farside House that I’m staying in is for sale- they took pictures. Before they were done, the next guests who are coming to stay at the villa arrived from Germany. SUPER NICE mom, dad, and 10 year old son! There is a slight possibility that they will foster Annie after I leave, and I would love for her to spend time with that nice little boy that is about the same age as the boy who will be “her” boy back in LA. But Annie is a lot of work right now- it’s like having a toddler who doesn’t wear a diaper!! I don’t know that people on vacation are ready for that kind of commitment. We’ll see. Bottom line, they seem like lovely people and I would be happy for Annie to be with them (that says a lot coming from this mama bear!!).

While all of that was going on, Jason arrived. He’s a taxi driver and was there to take me to back Seatons. Piled everything in and headed off. Jason is so nice. He told me about the land his grandfather leased from the government, and how a piece of it was passed down to him. We talked about places where houses were for sale, who lived where, and drove through some beautiful scenery.  Got to Seatons and got Annie settled in (as long as I’m here, that doesn’t take long). I decided to sleep inside rather than outside this time. Easier for Annie to get into/out of bed with me without a mosquito net barrier! 3 more sleeps, and Brian will be here!!

EXPENDITURES
Groceries: Bacon, Chicken, Coconut Cookies, Banana Bread, Snickers Bar: $17
Vet: $15
Lodging: FREE!…with about 30 hours of work.
4 day total: $32
19 day total: $657
19 day total if I didn’t fall in love with a puppy:  $640

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