Thursday, September 29, 2011

My Favorite Dogs in the World

Over the years this blog has featured a few good lists. Some of you might have been there for the first one, “5 Things I Missed About Guahan,” which I concocted upon returning to the island after a month-long stay in New Zealand. Then there was my personal favorite, “A Few Good Words,” which was a crash-course in survivalist Johannesburg slang. On the more sentimental side, “5 Things I’ve Missed About Home” revealed my reflections while preparing to head back to California after an amazing three months in South Africa. Within that list there was a less sentimental, but equally important sub-list, “Drew’s Favorite Eat-Spot Awards,” which still stands as an ode to the wonders of Bay Area Cuisine, both fine and frugal. But judging from the feedback, the most popular lists on this blog tend to be the bibliographies (2010, 2011), which serve as a snapshot of all the worlds that I visit while I’m visiting the world. So, in the spirit of a good old-fashion list, I present to you…

“My Favorite Dogs in the World” (in no particular order)

5. Cheeba

Breed: Rottweiler
Father: Unity Lewis
Relation to Me: Nephew
Special Move, Skills or Ability: Insists that you walk up/down the stairs first, then proceeds to run into the backs of your legs.

This full-sized canine looks like a killer, but he wouldn't bust a grape in a fruit fight. On the other hand, he did almost eat Dino that one time. What do I like about Cheeba? He’s just like his daddy: just chillin’ in the studio.

4. Sparky & Bailey

Breed: Cairn Terriers
Mother: Carmen Anthony
Relation to Me: Cousins
Special Move, Skills, Ability: Staying Alive

Sparky & Bailey score major points for longevity. They can be found in
the Oakland hills, taking their morning and afternoon walks along with the other local elderly couples. They look similar, but Bailey (the lady) is the one calling the shots (“pee here, sniff there, skip that bush, poop here, and we’re heading back now”). Hang in there little guys!

3. Chance & Charlie

Breeds:Boxer & Terrier Mutt
Mother & Father: Sarah Bloom & David Hallinan
Relation to Me: Godsons
Special Move, Skills, Ability: Putting up with Charlie (Chance); driving everyone crazy (Charlie)


This dynamic duo covers ground from Oakland to Humboldt County, and they really know how to make a guest feel welcome in the house. Every time they see me, they jump me like it's been two years... even when I am just coming back into the room after using the bathroom. It's just a good thing that their personalities are not switched, because if you put Charlie Bear's energy (and attitude) in Chance's body, we'd all be in trouble.

2. Dino

Breed: Yorkshire Terrier
Mother: Mara Reinhardt
Relation to me: Son
Special Move, Skills, Ability: Soccer, Hide N Seek

Son, don’t tell your mother (or my family), but I miss you more than any human in the United States! Please behave yourself, and keep working on your “soccer stop” and dribbling skills. And DO NOT let Grandma dress you up for Halloween this year… you’re too old for that now.
Love, Papa Bear

1. Mia

Surprise everyone, I have a new daughter! If you have been wondering how this list has anything to do with my life here in Cape Verde… now you know!

Two Saturdays back I finally graduated from "Trainee" and was sworn in to become a Peace Corps Volunteer by the Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d'affaires for the U.S. Embassy in Cape Verde.

After hugs, tears, and goodbyes to our host families, language instructors and training managers, we headed to the capital city for a final night together before going our separate ways to our respective site assignments.

Later that night a nice-sized group gathered for an impromptu goodbye party at a bar near the beach. Early on during the night I noticed a boy following a little puppy around the bar’s outdoor patio, but I did not think much of it at first. A few times throughout the night the puppy wiggled under our tables or brushed past our legs—eventually it became clear the she was constantly trying to get away from the little boy who was pestering her out of boredom. I held my tongue, that is until the boy started throwing rocks at the puppy.

Pa Modi?!” I eventually snapped at the boy, who couldn’t have been much more than 10 years old. “Why?!” Not surprisingly, the boy didn’t have an answer, so he shrugged and walked off, hopefully in search of some more wholesome entertainment.

For the second time that night the puppy fell off my radar screen, until I noticed her curled up in my friend's lap a few hours later. My first thought was, “is Gracie drunk?” I love me some puppies, but this dog was NAAAAAASTY, and borderline fugly in its cracked-out state. Granted, our Medical Officer had confirmed during training that rabies was not found in Cape Verde, but there’s a whole wide world of stray-dog pathology that goes beyond rabies.

After several friends informed Gracie that she was nucking futs, she brought the puppy over to me to “hold” while she ordered a drink. My response… “no dice.” I was NOT ready to take the plunge. After a mini-guilt trip, we compromised, and the puppy curled up next to me on my chair.

To make a long story medium, the puppy is now my daughter. Her name is Mia. It was "Junior" for a few days until, upon closer inspection, I confirmed that she is a "she." I’ll spare you the details of how Mia actually made it from that bar in the capital city to my apartment on the island São Vicente, about an hour’s plane ride away. I can proudly say that we made it to the vet last week, and Mia is going to be just fine. She's taking her meds, and she is looking less and less haggard everyday!

So here I am in my new place, bare walls, minimal furniture, and miniscule finances to change that situation. But with Mia in the equation, it’s feeling like a home already.

Pura Vida,


1 comment:

  1. Nothing like a boy and his dog! Congrats. At least you'll have some good company. And Gabriel is hurt that you miss Dino more than him.