Humans: Street Dogs, Caye Caulker, Belize
I encountered these two street dogs with regularity hanging out on the beach or by Ice and Beans a popular coffee place on the island of Caye Caulker. We had been on the island for awhile and had observed them in a number of situations. Dog culture it different there, than in the states. Some have owners and are walked on a leash, though a good number of dogs are owned, but have the freedom to run free. Others were owned at one time, but either changed hands or were no longer able to be cared for and left to wander and fend for themselves. The island is small and the dogs figure out who each other are and the pecking order of the island pack is quickly determined. There are mixed feelings among locals about spay and neuter ing as a means of population control. These two Blackie (a.k.a. Mindy) and Momma Mia, were both intact females and in heat. As one might imagine they were often surrounded by the intact male dogs who had the ability to roam. They bonded together in solidarity during this time seemingly to protect one another from the often aggressive male attention.
Blackie was thought to have an owner, but was seen exclusively on the street and quite undernourished. As is true anywhere and especially on this small Caribbean island the term owner may be applied loosely. This isn’t always a bad thing, but in this case Blackie was needing some help. Momma Mia was thought to have been on her own since puppyhood as locals had never seen her with anyone besides tourists. Again, not always a terrible life. Tourists shower them with attention and give them food. Dogs can get along this way, but should they become sick, injured or in this case pregnant, they are truly on their own.
The Caye Caulker Humane Society stepped in when these two were clearly needing some help and secured separate foster parents for them. Momma Mia did indeed prove to be pregnant and gave birth to 11 puppies, with 8 who survived. Blackie was not pregnant, but had given birth before and was thought to possibly be experiencing a false pregnancy.
After a few weeks, Blackie and Momma Mia were eventually reunited at the same foster. They were both scheduled to be spayed at the Caye Caulker Humane Society’s spay and neuter clinic in May . Momma’s procedure went without a hitch, but Blackie was found to have a very large tumor in her abdomen and was euthanized.
The vet and the current foster thought it would be best if she be put out of her misery since she didn’t really have a home.
Momma Mia continues to live with her foster and her sweet puppies have all found homes on Caye Caulker or the mainland.