Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Rags to Riches Tale, Part I

This might take two tor three parts, but I am going to tell you a true rags to riches tale. In sports, rock 'n' roll and and every other occupation, there are always great stories of how people have risen up from nothing to become very successful. Bruce Springsteen used to sleep in a bathtub, Kurt Warner bagged groceries and Roy Hobbs was shot by some crazy bitch. But these people (and fictional character) have nothing on my dog, Yigo.

Born on the streets of Guam, which are 75 - 85 degrees every day of the year, Yigo struggled to survive by eating garbage, roadkill and probably lots of stuff we don't want to know. As if finding food and water wasn't hard enough, he had to battle countless packs of other strays.

For those of you who have never been to Guam, they have a stray dog problem. In my 13 months of living there, A day did not go by where I didn't see at least three homeless dogs running around a parking lot, or along the road.

Sometimes these pups are in packs that are very territorial and if other boonie dogs (the local term for strays and mutts) came into those areas, barks and growls filled the air and a battle ensued.

Not only did Yigo survive these turf wars, but I, and everyone who has met him, believe he also survived an abusive owner at some point. In Guam, there are lots of great pet owners. However, they also fight dogs there and some people just feed boonie dogs so that they can use them as security. Yigo is very friendly, but is afraid of any household item, leading me to think he was beaten by a few of them.

When I met Yigo, he was on death row at Guam Animals in Need in the village of Yigo and was going by the name Bob. It was late November and I went to the shelter thinking I would adopt a greyhound. The racetrack on Guam had just gone under and all the dogs were up for adoption, so I thought I would do my part and save one. Unfortunately for the greyhounds, the racetrack did not give the shelter any medical records or ages of the greyhounds. They were also in pretty bad shape, which led me to looking at the other dogs.

Let me tell you, it was one of the saddest sights I have ever seen. Dozens of dogs in cages, just wanting to be taken away, or wanting to hide because they were previously abused. That's when I came to the cage holding Bob and Holly. Just approaching the cage sent them into a fit of joy. They jumped over, body checked and did whatever they could to get closer to me. It was pretty clear one of them was going to be my new friend.

Now I faced a new decision. Which one was I going to take home? Bob was mostly brown with some white and black, while Holly was mostly black with a little bit of white. Both were around 25 pounds and could have been siblings. I wanted both, but my roommate squashed that idea. In the end, Bob was the lucky dog because he came centimeters from urinating on my roommate. He also had an all-white paw that I thought was very cute.

Bob was not going to be his name, though. Bob is a terrible name for a dog. I renamed him Yigo in homage to Vito Corleone changing his name to village he came from.

Yigo could not come home with me that day, the shelter requires all of their animals get neutered and vaccinated before they can be taken. So tomorrow that's where I will pick up.

Joy to the World - Three Dog Night


  1. You were Guam's own Bob Barker, Jeff. We need a Jeff Rickel/Bob Barker PSA about pets being spaded and neutered.

  2. Ha! I was just giving background. I didn't mean for it to be a PSA.

  3. it wasn't a PSA, and the boss needs a dictionary. it's 'spayed' and neutered.

    i personally loved it. best blog yet, and you're roomate is a dick and probably has yigo's sister's blood on his hands.