I know that I am in paradise, but honestly, it is tough living down here. Everyone has a need. I have quickly learned not to ask how someone is doing because they will tell you how difficult their life is. It is hard to hear stories like this day after day after day. I know that they look at me living in my opulent condo and see me as rich. Heck, all Americans are rich, no? Look at the shows on television, look at how we live in the movies, look at the reality shows on MTV or the music videos! It just wears you down. David and I try to help the best and most that we can. However, it is never enough. They have a saying down here….you give them your finger and they will take your hand. It is true.
I don’t know what it is about living here but there are many ex-pats that feel the way I do. No one can quite put their finger on it but I, along with many, am struggling to find joy and a happy balance. Are the locals jaded by the tourism industry? Would living in an area with less tourist make a difference? It is something I wonder about. Or, does it have to do with the emerging wealth of this country?
When I was here 27 years ago, the middle class was trying to emerge. For the most part, people had money or they didn’t. Today, there is definitely a stronger middle class and an extremely wealthy upper class…..plus, there is still extreme poverty. Is it the emergence of the middle class that has changed this country? I don’t know….I am still trying to figure it out.
I try to be grateful for everything and every experience in my life. I always see the glass as half-full and make lemonade out of lemons. However, down here, it has been more challenging. I don’t particularly think that it has everything to do with my surroundings. In general, I have had extreme emotional episodes in the past few months with family members.
I am a firm believer that every experience has valuable lessons. Those lessons are not always readily discernible but eventually, one will have that “ah-ha” moment and it will be crystal clear why we made the journey that we did. I am still waiting for my “ah-ha” moments for the past few months.
I admit, I am fragile right now. Some days are better than others. I hang onto anything that makes me smile and gives me joy. It is easy for me to slip and lose sight of the joy. Recently, I had an episode with a puppy. I was walking to catch my ride for my Spanish class. A puppy of about 5 or 6 months was following me. I really didn’t want her to follow me and I didn’t encourage her.
The next thing I knew, I heard a car hit something and then a yelp. She had been hit while crossing the street. It was 7:15 in the morning, downtown Cabarete. There was no traffic at this hour. The a–h— driver could have slowed down or gone around her. He didn’t need to hit the poor thing.
She hobbled to my side of the street and took off running away from me on the sidewalk. I took off after her and yelled for people to help me and stop her. Finally, someone did, I loaded her into a taxi and off we went to Sosua (20 minutes west of here) to the vet. The first vet wasn’t open and didn’t open until 9:00. The second vet, said he would be there in 20 minutes when I called him. Fortunately, she didn’t appear to be in any discomfort.
The vet, Dr. Cruz, examined her and said that she was a lucky puppy as she had no internal bleeding or broken bones. He gave her a cortisone shot and then, gave both of us a ride back to Cabarete. I had thought that I would take the puppy to a lady who takes in strays but Dr Cruz said that I needed to find the owner. He thought that she looked to healthy to be a street dog.
Those of you who really know me, can understand the emotional pain I went through experiencing all of this. I love dogs more than I love children….it is a fact about me. I believe that dogs and children are on the same innocent level when they are young. We as adults are responsible for both the care of children and animals. We have the wherewithal to provide for them when they can’t provide for themselves. So, after experiencing this horrific event, I was an emotional wreck just trying to hold it together.
Once back in Cabarete, I tried to find the owner by asking people on the street if they knew the dog or the dog’s owner. Hindsight is 20/20….I didn’t look long or hard enough. A motorchoncho driver (young men who provide rides around town on motorcycles) offered to take the puppy for me, if I couldn’t keep her. Relieved, I asked him where he lived and he replied “El Play” which is the same neighborhood where my friend Julio and all of his family lives. I know that neighborhood, I know that good people live there. This was an answer!
So, I handed over, this beautiful, trusting and docile puppy to Anible, the driver and gave him about $12.00 for food for her. I returned to my condo and shared my morning events with Julio and asked if he would check on the puppy when he went home. He did and the next day told me that Anible didn’t live in El Play.
I went back to the corner where he was the day before and asked him where he lived and where was the puppy? He said that he lived in Sabaneta….a town 20 minutes west of here. When I said that he had told me yesterday he lived in El Play, he denied that he said that. He told me that the puppy was with his sister, Maria, her husband, Domingo and their three children and that I he would take me to see her whenever I wanted to. Plus, he asked if I would help in having the puppy neutered. Of course I would!
Not knowing this guy, I planned on waiting until Saturday when David could go with me. In the meantime, Anible, came by my building and told my maid, Josie, who also lives in Sabaneta, where he lived. It was right around the corner from Josie’s neighborhood. So, Friday night, she took a walk over there to check on the puppy. You guessed it, Anible nor his sister lived there and there was no puppy.
Since Friday, Anible has been MIA in Cabarete. I doubt if I will ever see him or the puppy again. I have since learned that there was another dog hit on the same Monday, later in the day and was killed. My friend told me that it was a small, black dog. Was it the same puppy? Did Anible take the money and just let the dog go again? My inquires of the other motorchoncho drivers have assured me that it wasn’t the same dog. However, are they just saying what I want to hear? I trust very few people down here now.
I can’t understand why this guy did what he did. There was no mention of money when I was initially looking for the owner. I explained how the dog had been hit by a car, the vet trip and how I was looking for the owner. I only offered money, for food, after he said that he would take the dog. Why did he offer to take the dog in the first place? Why did he continue to lie to me?
As I write this, I am sad. I am trying to make some sense out of this, but there seems to be no sense. The only thing I can come up with or grasp onto is there is a reason for that experience. Personally, I believe that my life is predestine. It was meant for me to experience that. There is some reason bigger than I can figure out for all of this to happen. Part of me thinks that it is part of my spiritual journey.
I have met a dear lady, Hannah, down here and she shares the same philosophy about dogs as me. When I shared with her my emotional pain she wrote the following: It’s not the location/country that is different, Sharalyn, it’s you that is changing and it is a good evolutionary change. People are evolving right now at an incredible rate consciously. It really helps to know more about it so you can understand it. Everything seems to be more intense. (She isn’t kidding with that statement!!) I am right there with you. I’ve read some books lately by Dolores Cannon that might help you. The book helped me to put things in perspective everyday and deal with the suffering. Suffering helps raise consciousness (if this is true, people around here should be extremely aware and sensitive).
I have another friend who said that as we become more aware the “splinters” get bigger. That is so true to me because it seems emotional things hurt way more and take a greater toll on me.
So, I am wondering if it was meant to be for me to experience this event with the puppy to push me toward a journey of awareness and growth. I mean, I have been very lackadaisical with any kind of spiritual study and my praying has been haphazard. Maybe this was a knock on the side of the head telling me to “get with it” and start exploring the messages that have been zinging past me.
I have just finished the book Eat, Pray, Love. There were many spiritual thoughts that Elizabeth Gilbert shared on her journey. Now, I have Dolores Cannon’s book, Between Death and Life, to read. So, my journey has begun. For the past couple of nights, I light a candle and put out to God and the universe all that I want to manifest for myself, my family, friends and yes, the puppy. For now, I don’t know what has happened to the puppy, but when I think of her, I imagine that she is running around chasing children and playing as puppies do. She is in a good place and she is very happy.
I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I do believe and know in the end, I will have learned many valuable lessons. Plus, as difficult as it seems to be sometimes, I am here in the Dominican Republic where I am suppose to be at this time in my life. I am off to read Ms Cannon’s book…..