This island is absolutely covered with free-running cats and dogs! They call island mutts Creoles on the French side of the island and coconut retrievers on the Dutch side. Some are not so nice– like the scroungy mutt who nips at the heels of runners– and some are generally loved and just hang around. There’s a yellow dog who lives on the sidewalk of the small shopping district of Maho. He is just a regular fixture, and nobody minds him.
Many of the students at American University of the Caribbean have adopted a stray or shelter animal. Our neighbor had a cat for a while– she was the sweetest. She used to sit on the window sill and wait for me to walk by and scratch her head through the cracked window. My friend Stacey has two cats from a shelter here. Several students foster animals. I know of at least one who takes puppies home every trip back to the States and finds families for them. Other expats and locals take care of the strays, too. The little league team I help out with adopted a dog who wandered on the field one day. She lives with their coaches, who have two other rescues.
I had been begging Ben for a puppy all last semester, but as far as I could tell, he wasn’t too interested in that idea. I had pretty much given up on the idea by the time Christmas break rolled around.
Two days before Christmas, while my family was visiting us, Ben slipped off to “run some errands” and didn’t get back until dinner time. He came back with something in a bag. I opened it, and there was a sweet little puppy face looking back at me! We named her Kito, which means “precious gem” in Swahili.
Kito has been busy keeping us up at night, peeing on the floor, and eating rocks. We’re a little more tired and a little less tidy than usual, but she’s more than worth it. There’s something nice about having something warm and fuzzy to cuddle with. As Lucy Van Pelt would say, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” I’m glad that God made puppies; they certainly are nice to have around.