This winter, when my old school friend from veterinary college invited me for to visit, I didn’t have a second thought. Her home is on the island of Grenada in the West Indies, land of white sand beaches, blue ocean and the sunshine. I had no idea what a journey it would end up being — from a tropical holiday to a rescue mission in one day.
It all started when I went to explore a village up in the mountains. And there I found her, a pathetic skeleton of a dog covered in mange and open sores in a little pen. Her eyes were saying, “Please help me, I am dying.” At first I didn’t know what to do. But I couldn’t get her eyes out of my mind. Finally, I got gathered my courage and went back to talk to the owner.
It was immediately clear to me that there would be no co-operation. They told me that their former dog had died from poisoning. But I think it just starved to death. I knew I had to do something, so I grabbed the terrified little dog from her cage and ran. The owner was too embarrassed to chase after an old white woman with a dog and we got away.
But now what? I didn’t have a car and the dog needed a doctor. So I stopped a local bus full of villagers and got on with my stinky dog. The driver wasn’t happy, but realizing that I was not going to leave, we were on the way to capital city. There I found the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and thought my part of the rescue was over. But no! There is no animal protection law in Grenada and they can’t do to much. They gave the dog first aid treatment and advised me to take her back to the owner.
There was not a chance I would do that! She would be dead in no time. So now I had a dog and nowhere to go. My friend let me stay few days but I didn’t want to get her in trouble. On the small island, everyone knows everyone and as the only white woman in the area, I was easy to find.
I went back to the village and I offered to buy the dog from the owner. He accepted the money, but then I learned that he was still looking for me and wanted his dog back. It was getting scary and I didn’t know what to do or where to go.
I gave the dog a name, Manicou, which means opossum in the local language. She looked like one, no hair and big ears. But within one week she gain four pounds from her original eight pounds. Her tail started to wag when she saw me and we bonded.
We were hiding and I had to think fast. Then I remembered that on the island Carriacou, there was a veterinary hospital that I had researched while back in Canada. I phoned them and next day we were on our way, a three-hour ferry sailing to the island. The ocean was rough and we were soaked in salt water as the waves crashed over us. But Manicou never stirred in my arms. She knew we were on the way to safety.
At the hospital they accepted Manicou and were happy to help. It is a non- profit clinic run by volunteers from all over the world. At the moment there were a veterinary nurse from Canada and a doctor from Britain. They started Manicou on an aggressive treatment for mange, malnutrition and generalized infection.
I started planning to bring her back to Canada. Dr. Rob McLeod, my employer of 15 years, and the Pet Adoption and Welfare Society were my mental support. A visitor from Canada sent me a travel kennel from Ottawa because there was nowhere to buy one on the island.
The medicine and care of the doctors was starting to show. Manicou was becoming a dog. She was 23 pounds and was learning to run and play and love people.
After four weeks of treatment and obtaining all the necessary veterinary certificates and documents for travel, we were ready to come home. We said our sad goodbyes to the friendly volunteers at the Carriacou Animal Hospital. They didn’t take any money from us, and that is a real reason why I am writing this story. I would like to raise money to donate to these wonderfully dedicated volunteers at the Carricaou Animal Hospital.
Manicou and I are now safe at home in Canada and she is learning not to be scared of people. In the future, I would like her to be a therapy dog and serve in the community.
If you can help to buy the food and supplies for the dogs like Manicou, please give your donation at Creston Veterinary Hospital, Sunset Seed Co., PAWS or directly to Carriacou Animal Hospital online.