|Chica – three years after she adopted us.|
“I like this place!” That’s the attitude we got from the skinny, pregnant, and as it turns out very near-sighted, tabby cat that strutted into our kitchen three years ago, sauntering past our horrified seventeen-pound male cat, and over to my place at the dining table. “Meorroww!”
It was a command not a question. “Food! Now!” Lawrie laughed; “I guess you’d better feed her.” And so we were adopted by Chica.
Whether you have visited Isla occasionally, or live here year-around, eventually you will be adopted – by a cat or dog. They are equalitarian opportunists. We have a number of friends who have been chosen by an animal to be their servants, their primary-feeders, their companions. Some of our friends end up with three, or four, or more.
|Pretty when she was younger liked rooftops|
|Tan, very comfortable in Michigan|
Then came dog number two for the Davisons, Tan, who resembles the Vishla breed. Four years ago Dave found a frightened, skinny, tan-coloured pup curled up in the plastic swimming-pool chair.
They decided to help him out, but not to keep him as they already had their hands full with caring for the first dog, Pretty. They took Tan back to Michigan where he lives, happily, with their son Todd.
|Bella and her new dad.|
Dog number three, a panic-stricken little scrap of grey and black fur with a dramatic under-bite, not weighing more than a few pounds was seen racing along the street in front of the Davisons’ house.
Unable to catch her, Janet worried about what would become of the dog. No worries, she later found the dog fast asleep in their garden. After a few half-hearted attempts at trying to find her a new home, they gave up – she had won them over. Bella is also an experienced jet-setter, joining Pretty in her annual trek between Michigan and Mexico.
Another friend who must put out good animal vibes is Jackie Walker. When she bought her restaurant more than ten years ago it came equipped with Mama Kitty, a black and white, broken-tale stray who to this day rules the downstairs level of Jax Bar & Grill.
|Mama Kitty rules the lower level at Jax|
About a year later a tiny bundle of grey fur was located stuck inside the cover for the beer cooler. It was a male kitten. Jackie freed him, and turned him loose.
The next day she found the same kitten had hidden inside the beer cooler again. Jackie threw up her hands: “Now what?” Tom-Cat became a permanent resident, who lives, quite well, in their upstairs apartment.
|Smiley, the star attraction at Jax.|
Then Smiley, the little butterscotch-coloured mutt with the big grin, arrived when things were not going well at Jax Bar & Grill. Jackie and Michael were in the midst of a conflict with a local politician. Jackie had fired his nephew. The politician wanted him reinstated. She said: “No!” The restaurant was closed. Finished.
While the expensive legal battle raged on for over a year, Smiley became Jackie’s solace – cleaning, brushing, removing ticks, and nursing her back to health, forgetting for a few minutes her legal woes. Eventually Jax Bar & Grill prevailed and the restaurant re-opened. And Smiley, some guests make dinner reservations specifying that she share their table. She’s the star attraction.
|Chuck and Sombra on Playa Norte|
Around the same time, Chuck and Marcy Watt were smitten by an island beach dog. They had recently lost a dear friend, Casey, their German Shorthair Pointer and escaped to Isla, their magical-feel-good place, to restore their spirits.
As they relaxed on the loungers at Playa Media Luna, a black dog arrived and hopped up onto Chuck’s lounger, a big, sloppy, doggy-grin on her face:
“Buenos Dias amigo!”
During their island holiday Chuck and Marcy became very attached to her, feeding her canned dog food daily, improvising with an empty coconut shell for her food dish.
They checked with Alison Sawyer Current, at Isla Animals the rescue society, to see if the dog had an owner, but were told no. Sombra as she was called by the locals was a beach dog, living off the scraps from various vacationing tourists. The defining moment came when Sombra spotted them one morning at a different beach, Playa Norte. She streaked towards them, running flat out, grinning the whole time.
“There you are! I’ve found you again!”
And so it was done. Alison and Jeff Current gladly helped out with the paperwork, the airlines and customs – two weeks later she arrived in Canada. Sombra is another fortunate, jet-setting pooch, spending pleasant winters in Mexico, and warm summers in Canada.
|Sombra happy in her Caribbean casa|
As Marcy says; “Our Sombra has won the lottery. Chuck and I feel the same, as well.”
I think we’ve all won the lottery: pampered pets, and the lucky human companions.
Chica, our stray cat, continues to amuse us with her eccentric personality.
On the other hand, the two beach dogs Odd and Missy, that deign to live with us when all of their winter friends have left the island, well, that’s a story for another day.
|Let’s see what those people are offering today.|