While living in the Dominican Republic, I had the privilege and honor to care for three beach dogs. When I arrived, their routine consisted of spending their days across the street in a vacant lot. In the evenings, they would cross the street to the beach and spend the night with the night watchman in front of Beach Palace.
I really didn’t want to get involved with these dogs but felt that they needed to have food. Initially, I would buy hot dogs and have the guards feed them. Gradually, bowls and food were purchased, a nightly routine of feeding them was established and they spent their entire days on the beach.
In this picture, Nellie is the one with the blue harness on. Next to her is Buddy and to the right of Buddy is Poco. Each dog had their own personalities. Nellie loved to be cuddled but was very aggressive towards pets being walked along the beach in front of “her territory”. Buddy was very sweet, loved everyone and was friends with people and dogs alike. Then, there is sweet Poco, who doesn’t allow anyone to touch her. However, she was always the first of the three dogs to greet me, so energetically and joyfully. She would come close enough to sniff my hand but don’t try to touch her. I called her “Poco a poco” because I believed that “little by little” she would eventually learn to trust me and allow me to touch her. That never happened!
When I left the Dominican Republic, I brought Nellie back to the states and she is now in her “forever home” in Michigan. She is doing extremely well living with Petey, another dog the family rescued and Kingston, the cat! I never thought that she would adapt to living with a cat but Ms Nellie has turned out to be an amazing animal. She adapted to every new thing, that was sent her way, with grace and acceptance. I believe that she is very happy in her new environment.
I left Buddy and Poco on the beach as were their wishes. I have a pet psychic that I consult when I have an animal in my life. Through Louise, these dogs made it clear that, although they appreciated all that I do and did for them, they were “their own dog”. I wasn’t always good at remembering this and Louise would have to gently remind me.
Raffi, an employee at Beach Palace, who has a long history with the dogs, agreed to feed them. I left them in his care with plenty of food and money for any emergency that might arise. Raquel, who works in the office, has been kind enough to send me occasional photos and updates on the two dogs.
Sadly, the recent news of Buddy wasn’t good. A week ago, he became ill. The vet said it was distemper. I don’t think it was as he had been vaccinated. Louise, who did a body scan, detected a mass in his stomach. So, maybe he had some form of cancer. Buddy said that he wasn’t in very much pain and when asked if he wanted to go to the spirit world, he said that he wasn’t ready and that he would make the decision. He loved me and thanked me but he was still his own dog 🙂 !!!
Two days, after that conversation, Buddy died suddenly on the beach in the morning. Raquel said it was almost as if he had a heart attack. I like to think that Buddy made the decision that he was ready to go to the spirit world.
What can I say in this post to describe what an wonderful dog Buddy was? He was gentle. When I had my first conversation with the dogs, through Louise, I asked what their names were. They were very much like names of our native Americans….Buddy said his was “the gentle one who farts”! He was gentle and fortunately, we didn’t have many experiences with the farting. He ran like the wind. Each night, I would feed him and then walk the three dogs on the beach. Buddy would wander off and to catch up, he would book it down the beach. He must have had some Greyhound in him!
Another part of the nightly feeding routine, is I would sit on the beach with them. Buddy would be on one side of me, Nellie on the other side and Poco would lie close by. Sometimes, I would sit with them for an hour watching the waves and people go by. Eventually, they would wander off and I would return to my condo.
Buddy LOVED David and vice versa! Every Friday, David would come home from the mine for the weekend. He usually arrived during their feeding time. Often, I would be walking them on the beach and he would come out and whistle to the dogs. Buddy’s ears would perk up and off he would go, lickety-split down the beach. David would sit on a chair and Buddy would hop into his lap. Whenever David came to the beach, Buddy demanded all of his attention and wouldn’t share him with anyone!
I am not certain exactly how old he was. The Dominicans claimed that he was at least 10 years old or older. The vet thought he was more like 7 or 8. Regardless, he lived a long life for a beach dog.
There aren’t enough words to describe his wonderful spirit. He charged into my life head-on. He had a profound impact on me. I knew when I said good-bye last June that it would be the last time I saw him on this earth. I look forward to seeing him in my next life. I am at peace that he is no longer suffering and is at the Rainbow Bridge running happily, no longer in pain, playing with all his beach companions who went before him. Wait for me, Buddy….I will see you someday. I love you, Buddy…..