Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category

Friend for Sport

Most people who know us won’t be surprised we’ve added a new puppy to our family ~ Maya.  She’s been adopted from the local animal shelter (G.A.I.N) and is sweet as can be. We brought her home on Saturday for what FG calls a “sleepover” so we could make sure Sport liked her.  They certainly look good together since Maya is the color of Sport’s spots. She’s a matching accessory 😉 

Since Sport is 11 years old, I didn’t want him to feel jealous and thankfully, he seems to like her a lot.  He’s been very lonely since Bennett died.

Sport actually started running around and playing like a young pup himself. That sealed the deal for Maya ~ she now has a new family and is officially off death row.

This is FG’s first experience with a puppy and she’s having to get use to Maya being underfoot ALL THE TIME. Needless to say, I am going through the ordeal of the puppy training ~ I’ll be really happy when she’s housebroken and doesn’t refuse to move everytime I put the leash on her.  She’s quite the charmer though so she makes us smile a lot.  

Read Full Post »


For the last month, FG has been begging for a hamster.  By begging, I mean every two hours, I get the question “What do you think about me getting a hamster?” I was pretty strong about saying no at the beginning but, after losing Bennett, I’m starting to waiver a bit.

Not to mention, FG is getting better at her persuasion tactics. Since she’s learning probabilities at school, she brought her legal pad and pen with her last night to have a  hamster discussion with me:

FG: What is the probability that I can get a hamster?

Me: Oh, about 60%

FG: If I get a hamster, what is the probability that I can get a white one?

Me: 30%

With that, she runs off to figure out how to raise the probability of getting a white hamster.

My reluctance about getting a hamster is what to do with it when we leave the island in 2.5 years.  Also, I really don’t like the white ones with the beady red eyes (too mouse like) and, ironically, FG loves them. 

I’m sure Sport would be thrilled to have a hamster in the house ~ all the while hoping it makes the grave mistake of escaping the cage 😉

Read Full Post »

Wacky Week

It’s been a wacky week, with a lot going on but nothing specific. That’s my only excuse for not blogging.  FG and I have settled into a nice routine.  She’s enjoying school and I’ve been doing a lot of volunteering.  

Several times this week, I went to GAIN (the local animal shelter) to help out with the dogs.  On Sunday, FG played with the puppies and FM got a tour of the place.  FM was impressed with the cleanliness and professionalism of the employees ~ volunteering at the shelter is my passion not his but he did say he would be willing to help with repairing fencing, etc.  Every little bit helps!

It’s a difficult place to volunteer because you never know when and which dogs will be euthanized due to space limitations.  The reason people abandon their pets is heartbreaking.  One family brought in a beautiful, pure-bred, 10 year old dalmatian who they said “Isn’t able to breed anymore so we’re bringing her here.” Agghh.  I walked and groomed this sweet dalmatian and she was SO good! How can someone be so heartless? There are issues with stray dog elsewhere but the problem seems so much bigger here.  I got spoiled living in Germany where I never saw one stray dog the entire time I lived there. I “forgot” what goes on in some parts of the world. My goal while I’m here is to educate as many people as I can about the need to spay and neuter their pets. Thankfully, the shelter also has a low cost spay/neuter clinic available to everyone. The shelter REQUIRES that all dogs and cats are fixed before being adopted. 

On to happier thoughts at another volunteer experience:  at my religious education class, we were discussing “tears of joy” and I asked if anyone ever cried tears of joy.  One little boy said “I cried tears of joy when my Daddy came back from the desert” and, then another little girl said “My Daddy is coming home soon.”  The little boy then said “Ah, then you’ll really know tears of joy.”  How sweet is that?

Read Full Post »

Farewell to our Faithful Dog

Seems like just yesterday we were bringing Bennett home and dealing with those sharp puppy teeth. He was such a chubby puppy, he could barely run without tumbling over his belly: 

Sadly, Bennett died this morning.  He will be sorely missed ~ he traveled the world with us and was definitely part of the family.  We have lots of wonderful memories with this sweet, lovable, faithful dog: 


Bennett  1995~2006

See you at the Rainbow Bridge!

Read Full Post »

World Vegetarian Day

Today is World Vegetarian Day and I’ve even talked my meat and potatoes husband into participating. 

If anyone else wants to give up meat for a day or for even just one meal, there are some great recipes at Vegetarian Times. The current magazine also has a couple of interesting articles: one on organic foods and another on how to deal with seasonal allergies.

Read Full Post »

Guam Quarantine

Guam was declared rabies-free in 1972 and dog or cat coming to the island must go through quarantine. The length of stay depends on how far out you plan. It could be as much as 120 days or as little as 5 days. For a detailed checklist and other quarantine information, check out: Guam Quarantine and Quarantine Brochure.

There are only two quarantine kennel facilities on Guam: Andersen Pet Lodge (for military and federal employees only) and Harper Valley Kennel. These kennel facilities are NOT part of the Guam Quarantine Office but they act as their agents in housing the animals. Andersen Pet Lodge is open daily and owners can visit their pets during their stay.  The Pet Lodge also has boarding facilities for pets when you go on vacation but they only take reservations one month out which makes it very difficult to make long-term plans.

The Harper Valley Kennel is a veterinary clinic which also has a kennel facility in Chalan Pago for longer stays. According to the woman I spoke with yesterday, if you qualify for the 5-stay, the animal stays at the clinic and once the animal is examined by the veterinary and deemed OK, then they’ll release the pet. Unfortunately, if your pet does not qualify for the 5-day stay, then it must stay at the Chalan Pago facility which has limited visiting hours: Wednesdays (5-7 pm), Friday (4:30 -6:00) and Sunday (2:00-4:00).

If you’re moving to Guam and have pets, my best advice is to plan as early as possible so you will qualify for the 5-day stay.

Read Full Post »

Once I got over the surprise of moving to Guam, I started researching the island and talking with anyone who had been here.  FM had spent a month on Guam back in 1999, so he knew a little about it and everyone we spoke with had only good things to say about the island. I also read the local newspaper daily as well as several Guam blogs to get a feel for island life.

Most of the advice we got were along the lines of get out and enjoy the island, don’t limit yourself to the base and, if you see something you like at the commissary or BX, buy it because it won’t be there for long.  All good advice that I would give to anyone moving here.

The biggest obstacle to our move was the transportation of our two dogs. We had to plan 120 days prior in order to be eligible for the 5-day quarantine as opposed to the 30 day or 3 month quarantine.  It was a complicated, frustrating and more than a little worrisome to move the dogs here. They ended up flying from Frankfurt, via Seoul, to Guam on Korean Airlines. I got more than my fair share of jokes about how Koreans love to eat dogs and my mom was nice enough to call the Korean Airlines cargo in Seoul to check on the dogs during their layover.  The cost was crazy but there was no way we were parting with two members of our family. 

As both dogs are curled up at my feet as I write this, it was so worth it! Needless to say, I’m already saving for our next move.  

Read Full Post »

St. Patrick and the snakes

FG went to Catholic Kid’s Camp this past week and the theme was St. Patrick. For my family, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations include lots of food, fun and more than a little green beer. My father had a blow-out party every year and it was considered “the” party to go to in our small town. He planned for it all year and even had invitations sent from Ireland. My mom provided lots of help but really it was my Dad’s day. When I saw some of the same decorations i.e. shamrock centerpieces, stickers, etc. I couldn’t help but smile. Good memories.

In keeping with the theme of St. Patrick, who drove the snakes out of Ireland, the camp organizers invited the Department of Agriculture to put on a demonstration about the Brown Tree Snake. I snuck away from helping with the snacks to check it out and it was fascinating. They brought in several live snakes to show and one was over 5 feet long.

This was definitely not for the faint of heart ~ they let the big snake slither across the floor for a moment and he was not a happy camper.

Introduced accidentally to Guam in the late 1940s, the Brown Tree Snake has caused extensive ecological damage to the island. Snakes have exterminated most of the indigenous forest birds and also greatly reduced the population of fruit bats and lizards. They are not poisonous to people but could leave a harmful bite mark on a baby or young child. Unfortunately, it has no natural predator here, but there is a dog who would like nothing better than to tear one apart.

The working dog did a great job sniffing out the hidden snakes. This Jack Russell was so small and cute but he was all business. He sniffed out the snakes like they were steak.

They use the dogs at the two airports (Commercial and Air Force) as well as at Big Navy. An average of 50 snakes a day are trapped and killed here in Guam. Yes, he said every day. Can’t believe I haven’t seen one on our walks. I’ll have to look harder.

We were told there is a problem with people letting the bait (the mice) out of the traps ~ I plead the fifth. 😉

Read Full Post »


G.A.I.N. stands for Guam Animals in Need. It’s Guam’s animal shelter and I got a chance to volunteer there yesterday with FG. We went with a family who had already been there and they showed us around. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was very clean & organized.

I’m all about the dogs ~ getting them out of their kennels for a walk in the “park” which is located on the premises, making sure they have water, and cleaning their kennels. FG preferred to snuggle with the cats and kittens.

A woman who works there asked if I could foster a puppy but I think Ben & Sport (my old dogs) would be more than a little put out if I brought home a puppy.

For any animal lovers living on Guam, I would highly recommend volunteering at GAIN. It’s very satisfying to make a dog or cat a little more comfortable. And best of all, the shelter provides very reduced rates on spay and neutering which is the only way to combat the pet overpopulation problem plaguing the island.

FG already wants to go back and I have no doubt we will spend a lot of time there.

Read Full Post »

Dog’s Eye View

Until now, we’ve always lived in homes with fenced yards. One positive aspect of a no-fence yard is I have to walk my two dogs several times a day. Besides the great exercise for all of us, I get to see a lot of the base that I would otherwise ignore if I were driving. Actually, I’ve become a reluctant voyeur. It’s hard not to observe things and some days the neighborhood feels like ‘All My Children’, others days like ‘Animal Kingdom‘ but most days like ‘Top Gun’ with all the fighter jets flying above.

It’s the dog’s eye view which gets me in touch with all the nature around us. Their keen sense of smell take me in different directions whether it be chasing a toad, shrew, bird or even a boonie dog who lives on base.

All over the housing area there are black birds who are very protective of their nests and, for some reason, go after runners in particular. I can be walking along with the dogs and not be bothered by them but the minute a runner comes by, the dive bombing commences. Very early this past Friday morning, the dogs and I came upon a man, wearing an orange safety vest, crouched behind the side of his car. He was shooting a .22 at the birds in the coconut tree. As you can imagine, I was not pleased to see someone shooting in a residential area & only 5 doors down from where I live. I stood and watched while he shot about 20 times and wounded one bird. Turns out he’s with the Wildlife Department 😦 Surely there is a better way to handle the birds.

Another ‘nuisance’ animal on Guam is the brown tree snake. Haven’t seen a live one yet but there are traps set everywhere for them. The other day the dogs pulled me in the direction of one of the cylinder snake traps tied to a tree. I saw a tiny & very cute white mouse inside. My first thought was he accidentally got in the trap, then I realized there was food in there for him and he was bait for the snake. Where’s PETA when you need them? Needless to say, I stay away from that particular trap ~ too sad for me to see the doomed mouse.

At night, we wander around mostly trying to avoid the tons of toads that are out and about. I never realized how amorous they are at night. I once went to a bar in Cave Creek, Arizona called the Horny Toad and it’s only now that I see how appropriate a name it is.

One thing is for sure though, no matter what route the dogs want to take in the morning, I always make sure we go to the end of my street which has a great view of the Pacific Ocean ~ no better way for me to start the day.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »