DAY 10
So this morning I got up and worked on my stuff, and then Jennifer came over and we worked on hers for a couple of hours. I’m super happy- we really did a great job creating a mock layout of her website! But when she came over, she told a pretty disturbing story. One of her friends texted her and said that she had driven by the trash bin and there was a tiny puppy in there with a rope around it’s neck. She came home and told her housekeeper about it, who replied, “Yes, it’s been there a few days.” WHAT???????? Let me explain the trash bin. It’s the place where the village takes all of their trash for pickup. There’s a large locked chain link fence. Inside of that is another chain link fence with a roof on it- that’s where all the trash cans are. A few dozen of them. Anyway, someone dumped the puppy in there and left. I have two questions:
1. What kind of heartless mother fucker would abandon a puppy like that? Especially with a dangerous rope around its neck?
2. What kind of heartless mother fucker would see the puppy abandoned in there and be like, “eh” and leave it?
….I’m lighting a candle that karma returns the favors swiftly….

Anyway, after we finished, the plan was for me to go over and FINALLY see Jennifer’s studio (she’s an artist). Instead, we went down to check on the puppy. Pulled up, and sure enough- there it was. And omg it was soooooooo little! We could see it had a pink rope tied around its neck that was trailing about 3 feet behind it. It ran from us. It could go around the entire outside perimeter of the inner trash shack. I went one way, Jennifer went the other. There are a ton of bushes and stuff all the way around, and somehow it slipped past us. We then heard Lily bark- she let us know that it was in the trash bin area. By the time we got back around, it was right out front. Jennifer grabbed the rope. I went to the car and got a can of cat food we had brought from the house and a towel to wrap around it so we could get the rope off without her running away. Poor little thing ate some, and then we realized that the rope was so tight we couldn’t even slip a finger under it! Not even a finger nail!  Poor baby!!! A truck drove by, and Jennifer yelled at the guy by name and asked him if he had a knife or scissors. He didn’t, but he said to check and see if we could undo the knot. It was a slip knot!! #blondmoment We eased it off. We decided to leave her inside the trash bin until we could come back with more puppy food. Jennifer asked me if I wanted to take her home for the rest of the time I’m here, because the people coming into this house after I go back to Seatons actually emailed the owner and wanted to know if there was an organization on the island so they could foster a dog while they were here. That’s a big NOPE. Sorry, I have too much work to do. I never even do overseas housesits with dogs because they’re too much work. A 9 or 10 week old puppy like this one is way too much work + no sleep + constant pee and poo patrol + this yard isn’t set up for a puppy. Yeah. No thanks. They don’t speak Spanish here, but “No es mi problema”. I feel bad for the thing, but seriously, I have to be realistic.

So little and scared

We went to the grocery store to get some puppy food. I bought some more chicken, BACON!, some more bread (in the states, bread has so much preservatives that it’ll keep for months- the bread here lasted about 5 days.), two kinds of little cakes/breads that were sliced and wrapped in plastic wrap, and a little bag of potatoes. The chicken were those little styrofoam meat trays and there were 2 chicken breasts in them. To buy meat at this local store, you open a huge deep freezer and just start digging. There isn’t much organization. 5 of these trays were frozen solid together. I asked Jennifer for advice on how to handle this situation like a local, as I only needed 2 trays. She said give it to the man that was next to the freezer (he worked there). I told him I just needed two. He asked me to close my eyes. Like a weirdo, I did, no clue what to expect. BAM!! He dropped them on to the floor and one busted off. BAM!! Again, and another did. I said, “Ah! You do it the fancy factory way!”. He smiled and nodded.

So off to go get the dog. A little bit harder of a chase without the rope to grab on to. We cornered it and I put a towel around it. Jennifer said she wasn’t sure where she was going to take it. Oh holy christ on a stick… we go…..I uttered the words I’ll probably regret, “I’ll take it home.” She rode home with me on my lap. And I named her Annie for 3 reasons:
1. Jennifer insists my name is Annie and constantly calls me that!! I thought that if I would name the dog Annie, I could then retain rights to my real name again. (Spoiler alert: That was an illogical fallacy…)
2. Little orphan Annie.
3. ANNIEtigua! In fact, she has a first and middle name: Annie Teega.

We drove to Jennifer’s house to get some flea meds. Poor thing was literally crawling with them. We came back to the house, and gave her the meds. Jennifer left one of Lily’s stuffed babies with us, and then left. It was me and Annie (cue the song “We (I) Got Annie”). I haven’t had a puppy in about 20 years. And this wasn’t really a puppy- more like the saddest, most confused, vulnerable, and scared pup on the planet. She was so shy. I could barely pet her- she’d scoot out of the way. But I could feed her! I swear, I think she ate twice her weight in dry food mixed with boiled chicken broth I made her! She would literally only go from her towel (safe space) to her food bowl. That was it. Until the cats came around for dinner. They were equally curious about each other! It was bedtime. There’s a dog pen attached to the house, and originally I was going to keep her out there at night so I could sleep. Yeah, right. Originally I wasn’t going to bring her home in the first place…. When she was on the towel, that’s the only time I could pet her (and she was on the towel a lot). I scooped her up, towel and all, put her in the laundry basket, and went downstairs. Put the towel by my bed and we both fell asleep.

DAY 11
Last night she woke up once at 10:45 and whimpered by the door. Other than that, she slept through the rest of the night! I woke up at 4:45 and went upstairs. Came back down at 6 and got her for breakfast. She was still shy and I really could only pet her if she was on the towel. I tried holding a piece of food off the towel to teach her to come to me. That was a big NOPE. So I hand fed her a few pieces of food while she was on her towel. She could live with that arrangement. Then, once she understood I had food, I moved my hand further back. First, just the front paws off the towel and any further than that was the danger zone. Eventually, she stepped completely off the towel and ate from my hand! I let her have her food bowl after that, and she scarfed it up!

After breakfast I saw a tapeworm crawling on her leg!! ICK!! If smelling like the garbage dump she was found in wasn’t bad enough, this was the last straw. It was bathtime! I had to catch her when she was on her towel, because that’s the only place she won’t run from me. I wasn’t sure how she’d react, but she was great! Afterwards, I gave her a clean towel and laid her on it. It was windy out, and she was shivering, so I wrapped her up and she promptly took a long nap.

Those little eyes say it all

After her bath, I could tell she felt so much better! She actually started to play a bit! Jennifer came around 11:30. We were going to go to the tide pools to do some filming. Tide pools are MY JAM!! But I have to say, that leaving Annie made me a little nervous. The housekeeper (who is not a huge fan of dogs and informed me it couldn’t be in the house- sorry Sharon, love ya, but you’ve been overruled by the actual homeowner!!) and gardener were here, so I opted to lock Annie in the large dog pen in the garden. Jennifer brought Lily and Mini (her neighbor’s dog) and Annie was IN. LOVE. #jealous She wagged her tail at Mini and followed her around, it was so cute! And the first time her tail came from the locked position between her legs. I was hoping Mini would stay in the pen with Annie and keep her company. We tried that for like 2 minutes and Mini’s cries informed us that she was not in agreement with that arrangement. So we left Annie alone, and Jennifer, Lily, Mini, and I piled into the van and headed for the beach.

Chewing on her baby

First stop, food. We stopped at a place whose owner is a marketer after my own heart!! It’s a local joint called Grace Before Meals owned by a lady named Grace!! Jennifer got a veggie roti and I ordered stewed fish. $15 total for both- to go. We drove to Windward Beach, kind of a private area (you have to go in through a gate with a security guard), so yet again, no tourists!! Had our lunch shaded by some gorgeous cliffs.

The fish’s (whole) head is pointing toward me. Served with rice, pasta, cabbage, carrots, and plantain

After our yummy lunch, we started walking down the gorgeous secluded beach- not a soul in sight. There was so much life in the tidepools!! 3 species of urchins (black, red, and white), little fish (a blue and yellow damsel that was striking!), lots of different types of algae and seaweeds, snails, and even live coral!! It was so amazing!! We filmed 3 educational videos (sea urchins, seaweed, and coral) that we’ve named Mary’s Marine Minutes and will be posted on Adopt A Coastline’s website (if we ever get it going- I swear, the hurdles….). More to come!! I’m uploading them to the school’s YouTube channel as I get time.

There’s actually an underwater snorkeling trail here along the reef! There are signs underwater, marked by orange buoys that you follow!

Live green small polyp stony corals with sea urchins

After filming, we walked over to another beach. This one has tourists. Snorkeled for a bit around the dock and saw quite a few fish and some of the nasty, painful black long spine urchins. We made a few grocery store stops along the way, then headed back to the house. We had to be here to meet the vet at 3. Yes, vets in Antigua make house calls!! Chere came and was wonderful with Annie. She checked her temperature (normal), said she was really skinny (yup), and gave her some oral worming meds. I have to give her two more doses over the next two days. Side effect: super runny poop for the next few days #ohjoy She also said she was anemic and we should get her some liver. Jennifer wasn’t feeling driving all the way back into town for liver (and I don’t blame her). However, I was in full-fledged protective mode. My baby needs iron rich food? I’ll go kill a goat and let her drink the blood and eat the heart! No goats, we’ll find a tourist! Just get this baby what she NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDS!!!!!!!!! With no transportation, I lost the liver battle (and the goats and tourists won). Once we get rid of these damn worms, that will help a ton. Vet said bring her to the clinic on Friday for her shots. They have to start her paperwork. Because there are big changes ahead for Annie….
After the vet left, Jennifer wanted to let Annie walk with us across the property to the cottage to see what the workers had done (guests are coming tomorrow). I was leery, because catching her on the porch is a feat- on a 2 acre unfenced property???….. but she said Annie would follow Lily and Mini and she was right! Lily instantly became “momma” to Annie, and Annie wanted to follow her everywhere! #jealous Lily was not as thrilled with her newfound daughter and growled and snapped to prove it. But she never hurt Annie. So Annie would follow Lily and Lily would follow us, so it all worked out! Jennifer left and it was me and Annie again. I fed her dinner and took her down to bed, not relishing the idea of the super runny poop-poops I’d be cleaning up in the morning…

DAY 12
Last night Annie woke up twice- once at midnight and once around 2. Both times she’d make a little noise. I’d roll over to the edge of the bed, say something to her, and she would come over and WAG HER TAIL!!!!!! 😍 That’s a first at a human!! Not only that, she enjoyed me petting her! She’d stand there and lean in as I scratched her head. Normally, she just kind of tolerates it as if to say “I’ll let you do that if you promise not to kill me”. If I’d quit, she’d put her little paws up on the mattress trying to get up to me. 😍😍 That ain’t happening until worms quit pouring out of her butt! We woke up around 5. There were 2 runny poops (one with live worms in it- kill me now 😖 ). Then, she decided she was going to be my shadow- for the first time ever! She followed me upstairs, she followed me around the kitchen, she followed me back downstairs, then back upstairs! Breakthrough! Of course, if I stopped, she’d stop and keep that safe distance of about 2-3 feet between us. Because, you know, I could turn at any moment and try to kill her… I made her a breakfast of dry food mixed with warmed up wet food and a little chicken broth. She really didn’t want much of it. I thought maybe the Panacur was messing with her appetite. I made bacon for myself (and it’s real American style bacon!! Not that psuedo-bacon from Central America!!). I gave her a bite. Um, to say she liked it would literally be the understatement of the century! She immediately decided that bacon was the best thing in the entire world (who can argue with that kind of logic?) and put her paws on my chair, begging for more. I hid a piece at the bottom of her untouched dry/wet food mix, thinking she’d eat her way to the bottom. No, not Smarty McPuppyPants. She pushed all the “yucky” out of the way with her nose and found the piece of bacon! So what do you do to outsmart the smartest 8 week old pup-pup in the world? Pour bacon grease on the food! Wa-la…it then became edible. I hope whoever gives this dog her furever home is not a vegetarian…. But in case they are, she likes banana bread, too. 😀

So apparently bacon is puppy superfood!! After that, she actually became a real live puppy for the first time! I gave her more freedom by opening up the pool deck area for her and blocking off the dangerous parts. She explored all over that. Then, back to the porch to play with my swinging foot. I’m much safer when I’m laying down or sitting, and my foot was just the best toy! She mouthed it and chased it back and forth, and I petted her with it. You can tell she’s not scared of feet, but very scared of hands. Then, she barked at the plants blowing in the wind, telling them she owned this space and they better not get out of line! Then she ran and jumped and rolled and shook her baby back and forth and was just a puppy!! And the few times she would lay down to catch her breath between excited play sessions, it was no where near her towel. Because now, everywhere on the porch is her safe space. It was so good to see!! And that sad/confused/scared look in her eyes? Gone.

Since she had followed me around the house all morning, I felt confident enough to take her out into the garden for a walk. The cats even came along! She followed me, mostly. If she was being slow, I’d just hide out of her sight, and within a few moments she’d come looking for me. Getting her to follow me back into the pool area was the hard part, but I was eventually successful! At the time of this writing, she has been awake for 3 solid hours non-stop, and finally laid down on her towel and went to sleep. I wrote Jennifer about the people coming in next Saturday that want to foster a dog. I expressed concerns about whether they wanted a puppy this young because she’s up a couple of times a night and is too young to be dragged all over the place like they want a dog for- she needs her sleep. I offered to take her back to Seatons with me and bring her back here the next week before I leave. She agreed. Thank goodness, because I have done too much work with this baby and am too protective to turn her over to some dumb tourists for a week. Plus, I don’t know the laws for dog-napping in Antigua…

Worn out from all that playing and walking in the garden!

She slept like this for a while. She finally feels safe enough to not curl up into a ball.

I’m the pied piper of the Caribbean….

Crossing the bridge to the cottage

We hung out and worked until Jennifer came at 4. Guests are coming into the airbnb cottage at the bottom of the property, so we were putting on the finishing touches. Little Annie followed me back and forth about 4 times- lots of big steps! She’s going to be worn out!! The guests came- super nice people from Houston. They’ve done a good bit of traveling, so I enjoyed talking with them. OH!! And Jennifer must have known how crazy overprotective I am, because guess what she brought with her?? LIVER!! Annie had some for dinner and we went to bed early. I have a HUGE adventure planned for tomorrow and need my rest (and am already worrying about leaving Lil’ Bit alone for multiple hours….)

Groceries: $18
Lunch: $15
Lodging: FREE!! About 7 hours of total real work for these 3 days- doing some website stuff and educational filming
3 day total: $33
12 day total: $612

Continue to Days 13-15

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