Friday, April 17, 2009

Jack of all Trades Island Style

One must adapt to life on the islands in that you must have the ability to handle any problem that comes along.

We have had numerous mechanical problems and luckily we have the internet.  With that tool my husband can find a website to obtain information about a given object, find the part he needs, order it and wait (which is the hardest part) for it to arrive.

We have run into problems with water where we had to hook up an emergency water system while we waited for rain.  We have had our inverter take an indirect lightning hit and scramble to get the inverter to the States for repair while waiting for a smaller one to arrive to pick up the slack.

We have had solar panels go out and before replacing them my husband first tackled the job of trying to find out if they could be repaired.  There was a part that usually fixes the problem but, in our case, it did not work.

We have had problems in the kitchen and finally managed to get a new stove as the parts we ordered 3 times kept coming to us from the States broken!

The one thing, however, that is really stressful is with our beloved animals.  We have buried 4 pets in the 12 years we have been here and most of them within the last 6 years.  It has been heartbreaking for us.

Last week, on Saturday, we went out in our boat to check out the shoreline for our missing boat bumper.  It was securely tied to the cleat on the boat but disappeared sometime Friday.  My husband thought with the rough seas we had all week that it came loose - I thought otherwise. So, we got in the boat on Saturday and set off to check the beaches.  Cocoa, our oldest dog, decided to follow us along the shoreline.  As I watched her I noted that out of her sight were two small dogs with two men further down the beach.  The dogs caught her scent and set out on an attack.  When she finally saw them they were almost upon her.  They attacked her and forced her into the sea.  She finally got away and we watched her limp home.  We returned home to find her shaking in the backyard.  She had about 4 bites that we could see.  I bathed her, cleaned the wounds and took her in the house.  She was frightened and sore.  

Well, the next day she was so sore she could hardly get up from her prone position and then if she wanted to lay down again it was a real effort.  We had to help her most of the time to do both. By Monday she was worse and had developed a swelling under her “waist” which was tender to the touch.  Again, she slept in the house beside the bed.  She was still drinking water and urinating so that was good.  However, she would not eat.  

It has been 4 days and she still will not eat.  She got slightly better today and has less difficulty getting up and down but still has to be watched over.  We gave her some medicine to relieve the pain and, hopefully, the swelling.  Early this morning she threw up the medicine.  She drank water but still would not eat.  

We spoke with our friend, Susan, who one could call an “amateur vet”.  She had us check her tongue, eyes, inside of her mouth and gums.  Everything seemed ok so she told us to give her prednisone, a steroid, for a period of days diminishing the amount slowly.  This should make her feel better and give her an appetite.  In the meantime, I took food I had cooked for her yesterday, ran it through the blender with a small amount of soup and ½ of a crushed vitamin and spoon fed her.  We waited 30 minutes and gave her the medicine.  Now we wait.

Of all the things we have to learn to do for ourselves, taking care of a sick animal has been the hardest - mentally.  Cocoa is my dog and it would be devastating to loose her.  The bad part is that I leave for Europe next week and I have fears that she will not get better and my husband will have to put her down while I’m gone.  Our other dog, Pepper, due to old age, became very sick a few years ago and while I was in San Pedro Sula, Mike had to put him down.  That was very hard news to come home to.

So, I’m just hoping that within the next few days she will rally and be back to her old self before I leave.

Sometimes, it is distressing to live on an island!


  1. Sure hope your pup recovers soon... I want to thank you for your hospitality... You have a beautiful place!! Hope to see you again soon... Enjoy your trip! How exciting... Getting off the rock for a spell.. Another thing you might try with your dog is that "Dr. Franks" spray. I think it is an iboprofen spray to relieve pain... Maybe you could have someone bring some in from the states... ?? Be well and say hi to Mike for us... Jim and Ann

  2. Dear Sharon, I will be hoping for the best for poor Cocoa. Your article brought tears to my eyes.

  3. So sorry to hear about Cocoa having a bad night. It is not sounding good and I'm sure you are fearing the worse that Cocoa is heading to be put down. We would not want to happen to RV and have to gone thru it before. Not sure for you if it would be better before you leave or after you left for it to happen. So sorry.


  4. Dear Sharon and Mike,

    I am so sorry to hear about Cocoa. It was terrible when I was nursing Swayze. You feel so helpless. Hope the prednisone helps.



  5. Sorry to hear about Cocoa. Tell her Uncle Joe is pulling for her.

  6. Sharon-

    I am SO SORRY to hear about Cocoa's condition. This is very disturbing and I hope Susan can tell you something. Sometimes the predisone does not work well and can cause other problems. I am basically allergic to it and it's like taking speed to me. As bad as I hate to say it, it sounds as if Cocoa may have had a stroke, and it could have been caused or aggravated by the prednisone. Also, what happened to the other dogs or where do they live? This whole thing has just been horrible and I know how much you love her. This is not a good time for this to happen. Is there any way to postpone going to La Ceiba?

    I hope Cocoa can get through this with your help. How old is he?

    Let me know,


  7. Dear Sharon

    So sorry to hear about your dear dog. I know how you and Mike must be feeling right now. We get to love our pets as part of the family and it is a big loss


  8. Our little Jack Russell was attacked by a dog on our beach while my wife walked him. She instinctively picked him up, which isn't always a good thing, and retreated into the water like Cocoa did.

    He sustained deep puncture wounds on his leg and was treated with painkillers and a drainage tube. For 2 weeks he was a mess.

    Having to experience your dog being attacked is tough. Even tougher losing him.

    My condolences.