I want to talk to you guys about the one time I “kidnapped” a dog and how I think I’m paying for it in Karma.

Taking a brief trip into yesteryear, there used to be a bar and restaurant right next to the condo I live in. Said restaurant would host loud parties which angered the natives (read: the wealthy owners of the condos we rent) and earned themselves a lawsuit and forced closure. The owner of the property allowed two men to “move” [squat] onto the property where they enjoy the simple life of sleeping in hammocks, fishing off our bay, peeing on the fence separating our property from theirs, and feeding the wild dogs.

It started with Max.

Max was an adorable little puppy that showed up with the two brothers who “moved in”. At the time, I had a golden retriever puppy and they became best friends. As Max got older, Max got bolder, and Max followed me and Reagan, my golden, inside. I had a friend place him back in the fenced off area several times but each time he would escape and follow us in. Worried that he would run into traffic, and having plans to hang out at another bar down the beach that evening, we decided to have Max join us. I left the guys a note that we had their dog with us and to come find us later that night.

It was not a ransom note, despite popular belief.

We fully planned to give the dog back, I swear. Eventually, the owner came and found us and I learned he doesn’t speak English. He is from the Island of Chuuk which is the next island southeast of us. He took his dog without saying a word and disappeared into the night. We had our drinks and went home.

Three days later, I saw a post on Facebook from a friend that lives further down the bay. She had posted a photo of Max who followed her into her apartment which wasn’t pet friendly. If she couldn’t find the owner, she was taking him to the shelter – a kill shelter – because the wild dog problem on Guam is REAL.

I called my friend from the few nights before and informed her that sweet, sweet Max found himself in jail and his disposition was not meant for that hard life.

She rescued him that afternoon.

Then my neighbours got Max 2.0., who I later learned was Max’s mom that the older brother brought to the property because “Max disappeared.”

Insert awkward “OMG, that is terrible, I wonder what happened?” comment from me here. Also, let’s discuss that at that point I was dog sitting Max 1.0 and I had to make a conscious effort to avoid the bar next door, lest they try to take Max 1.0 back.

So, Max 2.0 is not fixed. The moment Max 2.0 came into the scene, is the moment that the “boonie” pack of aggressive dogs showed up (we call things here boonie. I think it’s bc we live in the boonies). When Max is in heat, these boys come and wreck havoc on our quiet little beach. I’ve called Animal Control and they have come and set traps but they caught Max 2.0 and her puppies instead of the wild dogs who are only around during the night/early morning. Animal control only comes out during daylight. The neighbours next door took the traps and turned them into cages for their dogs  We have a saying here “OOG” (only on Guam) Eventually Animal Control just gave up.

Now, I can’t walk my dog at night any more for fear of being attacked by the boonies. I do all the right things when they’re on the prowl. I make myself really big and I scream and I kick sand and they just come around me and attempt to bite my ass. No Joke. This is Karma for rehoming Max. It has to be.

Anyway, the pack has been back for about a week and they’ve kept to themselves. They bark at passersby but thankfully they have been staying put in the yard next to mine. It was raining at sunset and Reagan decided his dainty feet could wait to drop his evening load after the rain passed, which was after dark and when the Boonies are the most aggressive. But they had been relatively cowardly lately so out I went with Reagan the Wonder Dog, who will only poop on sand. My condo is on the beach but we have a yard with a pool which opens to a lawn with palm trees before you get to the beach. It’s a bit of a walk but as long as I don’t go to the left or right of our property, the boonies leave me alone.

Not last night. Last night we didn’t make it to the beach. The boonies were waiting for us on our lawn and they chased me into the water.

I was stuck.

I had no phone, no shoes, Nothing to throw except maybe a piece of coral. Reagan was losing his mind because he wanted to be their friends and I was left debating if I should start screaming for help or not.

After about five minutes of debating what to do, the dogs retreated to their shadowy deck at the abandoned bar and I decided to make a run for it.

I got to the tree line and the dogs blocked my path. They stood between me and the entrance to my yard growling, barking and inching their way to us.

Once again, I found myself slowly backing my way to the water, this time screaming “HEY, ANYONE AWAKE UP THERE? HELP!” to the empty balconies of my condo building.

Then, out of nowhere, a tiny grey blur came tearing down from the condo lobby – my 10 year old Shih Tzu, Gizmo! He decided to remove himself from his perch in the AC and be done with the nonsense. He came flying toward the pack of no less than eight large dogs, barking his face off and chased them into the jungle.

What an emotional roller coaster because my brain went from FEAR THE DOGS to HOLY CRAP THEY ARE GOING TO EAT GIZMO!

I charged after the boonies screaming Gizmo’s name.

This is the exact moment that Reagan decided “Nope. Nope. Nope.” and was throwing on the breaks with me pulling him along trying to rescue my tiny partner in crime.

I couldn’t see anything. The boonies were gone. I heard a yelp from somewhere in the distance and I prayed it wasn’t Gizmo. I spent the next five minutes shouting his name close to tears while walking the perimeter with the boonies barking in the distance.

Just as I decided to take Reagan back upstairs and return with a flashlight and a baseball bat, Gizmo rounded the corner of the beach – head high, strutting his stuff and stopping every few feet to mark a palm tree or lump of sand.

Because Gizmo is a thug who doesn’t give a damn.

Karma’s a bitch. Tonight I’ll be more prepared.

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Guam

Island Girl Since:

2015

Originally Hails From:

Virginia

Stephanie wasn’t born on her island, nor did she really have a calling to it. Actually, she had no intention of living on a rock until she could afford to retire to one. And then Guam found her. Stephanie came to Guam in 2015 to help open a new hospital as the Executive Director of Operations. Now, she is the VP of a group that subcontracts for said hospital with the beauty of working from home. She likes to call herself a “scrappy girl from Virginia” (where she grew up until her father got her a passport and she found her desire to see the world).

Stephanie’s been a bit of a nomad, feeling claustrophobic after being in one place too long. She has been known to pack up and move to England, get back and have a taste for the sea and move to the coast. During the Polar Vortex (Is that still a thing? Or have we moved on to bomb storms? She can’t keep up!), she decided that negative temperatures and her did not get along well. So she moved to Southern California. When it was time to plan her wedding, she and her now-husband decided to meet on the island of Maui for the simple purpose of being able to say, “We got Maui’d.” And she thinks that’s what started her island fever.

A month later, she moved to Guam where she awaited her next anxious itch to go somewhere uncharted. It never happened. In all her wanderlust, Guam has somehow anchored her. Maybe it’s the culture. Maybe it’s the depths of the sea, the pristine beaches, and the magnificent sunsets. Or maybe it’s the short flights to exotic places, the ability to spend Halloween in Taipei, Thanksgiving in Bali, and snowboard the New Year in Japan. Or the fact that she lives in the future from her tribe back home, which basically makes her almost a psychic. Or maybe it’s because her husband’s in the Navy and they’re keeping them here.

Obviously that’s 90% of why they are here now, but she is not saddened at the prospect of spending upwards of another 5 years on Guam. Because somehow this rock has become her tiny island in the sun and she will forever be an island girl. With her career now based out of her home, and reporting to many islands, many hospitals, and many people globally, she will always have a presence on this island, even when she no longer resides here permanently.

When she’s not managing doctors (which takes a certain amount of coffee, insanity, good humor, and then wine), she is hiking with her Golden Retriever, paddle-boarding with her Shih Tzu, taking in the sunset, and exploring the world with her husband and travel partner in crime. And when the sun has set and the mosquitoes chase them inside, she takes to her travel blog between working on the novel every writer should say they’re writing.

Living on an island has taught her to give up a lot to gain even more. She gave up Starbucks, Target, malls, consumerism, and empty material things to gain culture, sunsets, adventure, and memories. She’s gotten pretty lost along the way, but managed to find out new things about herself and the colorful world we live in. Island life will drive you a little nuts, she thinks we all end up with a little too much sand in our brains after a while, but with enough humor, you can kick back in your hammock and remember to enjoy the strange, wonderful dynamic of island life.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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