Let me just start by saying that I am a dog lover.
Now I am in San Ignacio and there are stray dogs everywhere. Without a beach to frolic on, they make the sidewalks their playground. For the most part they are very sweet and just want what every dog wants; to be fed and to be loved. And maybe a flea bath (at least I want that for them)
There was at least one animal shelter in both Caye Caulker and San Pedro. In San Ignacio, as far as I can tell, there are none. So, of course, unfixed dogs are everywhere playing and begging for food from tourists.
These dogs are a chatty bunch. At night especially, they bark and bark and bark. They are the roosters of the night. Generally I drown out these vocalistions pretty well. They blend in with the cars and the babies crying and the hum of the fans.
Until last night.
After returning home from Noelle’s farewell dinner and drinks, I laid in bed and attempted to doze off.
A dog across the street from my open window had different ideas for my night. He started barking, and barking, and barking. And would not stop barking. Closing the window did nothing. Turning up the fan did nothing.
After what seemed like at least 14 years of silently (and not so silently) cursing this hound, I remembered that I was in possession of one of man’s greatest inventions: ear plugs.
I giddily wedged them in my ears. Then waited. And waited. I couldn’t tell if they were working or if it had just taken a break to rest it’s delicate vocal chords.
It turned out to be the latter.
I read a study that said that women are most sensitive to the sound of crying babies. That sounds about right but I’d be willing to bet that dogs barking are a close second.
Frustrated and irritated, I shoved the ear plugs deeper and deeper into my ear canals until they were likely coated in brain fluid. It made no difference. I became more and more irritated. It got to the point where I irrationally believed that this dog was just trying to keep me awake. Like he’d been planning all day, between naps and crunching on discarded chicken bones, to launch this personal attack against my sleep patterns.
It didn’t help that the dogs bark sounded exactly like my dogs bark. So, in my sleepy brain, I would ever so often think “oh, I just need to let him inside”. Then I would remember that this was a stray dog barking outside my barred window and scowl.
Eventually the dog stopped. Not unlike humans (for example, myself), dog must sleep.
The bottom line is, someone far more humanitarian (er, dogitarian?) than myself needs to come here and build an animal shelter for these dogs. They need yards to play in, dishes to eat from, and humans to love unconditionally.
Their lives (and someone’s good night’s sleep) depend on it.