With the slight lift of her lip the tan and white dog sneered at the bowl of dog food placed before her: “Is this the best you can do? Dog Food?” She flicked her tail and trotted out of the gate, turning to stare commandingly back at the white male dog. “Are you coming?” He sighed, looking in dismay at a dish of half-eaten food, hoping to finish it after he had placated Her Highness.
Missy and Odd, or whatever name you know them by have been living on strip of the beach across from the Bachilleres school for most of their lives. Missy(a name we gave her due to her condescending attitude) was originally part of a five-dog pack.
They mooched at the vacation houses that were being built in the area between what is now the Mango Café, and the Bachilleres College. Delfino remembers spaying her before he started to use ear tattoos – so that would make her currently around ten years old. Two or three of the other dogs in the pack were eventually adopted by Americans. That left Missy, and her new friend who we call Odd, on the beach scavenging for their survival.Odd is very distinctive looking. He has one blue eye, and one brown eye. A friend of mine suggested we name him Od-eye-see. Due to laziness on my part the name has now been shortened to just plain Odd. We have been told that Odd was originally owned by a man who has a pack of fighting dogs, and Odd wouldn’t fight so he was chased away from the house. We think he is around seven years old, but that’s just a guess.
Out of necessity Missy has perfected her mooching act. She sidles up to a new prospect, with her adorable Border-Collie-type ears perked up and the tip of her tail softly thumping: “Aren’t I the cutest thing you have ever seen in your life?” The reaction is predictable. Out comes the food: scraps of meat, pieces of cheese, anything a dog might eat. If she is hungry or if the offerings are up to her standards she will eat. Otherwise the next act in her repertoire includes ears tucked in, shoulders slumped and a very sad look in her eyes. However, if Missy and Odd are treated to a tasty bit of leftovers - she will perform her Happy Dance, akin to a Dog Salsa. In the winter months they are pampered, for a week or two, and sometimes for a month or six weeks, by various sets of returning visitors. The dogs have learned to recognize their favourites, quickly re-establishing the friendship until the vacation time is over once again.
As servants to two demanding cats, we had no intention of feeding beach dogs, especially after watching how many sets of vacationers fussed over them. And then came the summer of 2009, with the Swine Flu scare, and few if any tourists on the island. The two dogs were starving. We couldn’t stand it and started to feed them, offering them food and fresh water twice a day.
I eventually asked Patricio to build a shelter for the dogs in our carport. That caused a lot of giggles amongst the crew. “A dog house. Seriously?” We now have a nice cozy place, complete with a padded bed from Costco, for Odd and Missy to curl up on during the inclement weather.
Food. Water. A safe place to sleep. Vaccinations. Monthly flea and tick treatments. Medications for various illnesses and injuries when required. You would think that these two dogs would be steadfast and loyal. No!
They have been loved and left many times during their lives. They have learned to adapt. When they see an old friend they disappear in a puff of dog hair, running flat-out down the beach - greeting their long lost pals.
And us, well we are just their fallback plan. Fortunately, our neighbours Ronda and Bruce have now taken on a shared responsibility for the two lovable scam artists.