18 May, 2010
Who doesn't love puppies? Okay, so I suppose there's a handful of dyed-in-the-wool dog haters out there who don't, but then, I have no use for cats and yet I still find kittens cute.
Down at the workshop we have a borrowed watch dog. Her name is Destiny and she belongs to a family that is in the US right now but will be returning in June. After the last time that the shop got broken into, we decided to get a dog to replace the one we had which had died some time before. Anyway, Destiny was pregnant when she moved in to Auto Shop, but we didn't know that until she suddenly started "getting all huge and stuff". And so, about a week ago, she spent ALL DAY giving birth to 9 cute little puppies. I think that they were only a day old or so when I took this photo.
So like most dogs here in Ukarumpa, Destiny and her brood are no particular breed. We're thinking that we would like to keep a couple of the puppies for the shop as future watch dogs. Destiny's owners have been gone for nearly a year and have told us that we can do what we like with the puppies. The ones we don't keep we will likely offer for sale, first to our employees at the shop, then to the community. I'm looking forward to the idea of having 2 watch dogs at the shop. Been thinking about names; Smith & Wesson come to mind, Zeus and Apollo, (like Higgns's dogs from Magnum P.I.), I'll keep working on it.
Dogs are a big part of life in Ukarumpa. Many people here keeps dogs for security reasons. I know that in our house we sleep better at night knowing that our dog, Guinny, (who is an inside dog), will bark like mad if anybody attempts to come into the house. He's got a good, loud bark that sounds like it belongs to a dog bigger than he is. I only wish that I had paid more attention to him one night a few months ago. It was late in the evening and I was watching a DVD in the living room when I saw Guinny prowling around restlessly with his hackles raised and growling quietly. I looked out the windows and checked the yard but couldn't see what was making him uneasy. The next day I found out that our next door neighbour's house had been broken into right at the time when Guinny was pacing and growling. If it happens again, I'll know what's going on.
As I say, dogs are a big part of life here. Many people keep them, some do it better than others. We keep our dog inside a fence or on a leash/lead when he is outside, some others don't, which from time to time leads to conflict among the people living here. I remember once answering the emergency phone in the wee hours of the morning to hear a poor, distraught man complaining about his neighbor's unrestrained dog who was wandering around the neighborhood and causing his own dog to bark incessantly. Apparently this poor man hadn't slept in several days because of it. (That story does have a happy ending--the people taking care of the wandering dog eventually figured out how to effectively restrain her and nocturnal peace returned to that neighborhood.)
There are no veterinarians in the area, so we have to take care of our dogs ourselves. When puppies get their shots, we have to get the vaccines from elsewhere and it is often one of the nurses from the clinic here who administers them. For bigger veterinary needs, like neutering or other surgery, we have to take the dog on a road trip to the city of Lae, which is 2.5-3 hours drive from here. There is a vet there who can handle that sort of thing. From time to time a traveling vet will come into our area for a day or two and will take care of whatever animal care needs we may have at that time.
Of course, in a community like this one, where every few years a family will go back home for several months to a year, there are special challenges concerning what to do with the family dog. It's not unusual for home owners to make special deals for renters willing to look after a dog, or for somebody's dog to go on loan to another family while the owners are away. At Auto Shop we borrowed Destiny from a single lady who had agreed to look after her for the family who owned her, but who was finding the job too demanding. When Destiny goes back to her owners in June, we have a plan in place to borrow another dog from another family who is leaving for a few months. Of course, I made this plan back before we knew that Destiny was pregnant, but it's okay, by the time Budge's owners get back, the puppies will be just old enough to start being watch dogs. It's like an intricate ballet of planning, a chess game of strategic watchdog movement, or maybe just Musical Dogs.
Ukarumpa Auto Shop: Your one stop shop for all of your Auto, Motorcycle, Small Engine Maintenance and Repair, Fabrication and Long Term Dog Storage/Kennel needs.
Oh yeah, I built a pretty nice kennel for whatever dog happens to be in residence at Auto Shop. Forgot to mention that. We used to just keep the dog tied up all day, but having a kennel is really a much better solution.