Ken and I have only had two previous pet experiences leading up to moving to Belize and acquiring dogs. Our first was with frogs. Our daughter was enjoying raising interesting things we could purchase from a science catalog. We had watched butterflies hatch, praying mantises, and ladybugs and finally ordered some tadpoles that,according to the package had a low likely-hood to survive for more than a year. Perfect, a short little tadpole experiment and then life would be back to normal. The package these African Water Frogs arrived in contained 10 tadpoles and 3 survived for not just over one year, but almost 10 years before they started to die. During their lives we bought bigger and bigger aquariums to house them in, learned their personalities, named them and generally got attached. When the first one, Taz, died it was a sad day and was also the day we started the pet cemetery in our backyard.
After the frogs were gone we decided to try our hand at fish. We ended up with African Cichlids and it was a nightmare from the start. They were colorful like the salt water fish we spent so much money traveling to the Caribbean to see and unfortunately they were aggressive as well. They spent very little time being colorful and calmly swimming around the tank looking beautiful. Instead one or two would stake out a territory and bully the rest of the fish to live in a very small corner of the aquarium all crowded together. Each night we would come home from work and sit in front of the fish tank and watch the drama unfold. It was riveting. The rest of the world was watching Game of Thrones or Law and Order or whatever the TV Show d’jour was at the time. We watched several fish die, attempted to manage the bullies and eventually decided we were not emotionally equipped to manage an eco-system. The aquarium went onto Craigs List and off to a better equipped human.
Once we landed in Belize we decided dogs were in order. We had always loved dogs but never felt that our working lives would give them the home they deserved. We were just gone too many hours each day and when we were resting from work, we were either outside in the wilderness where dogs were not practical or on airplanes where dogs were not practical. We acquired two pit-bull mix pups after being in Belize about a week. One was about 9 months, Mimi, and the other was about 6 weeks old, Gopi. We did all of the things we believed we were supposed to do. We took them to the vet, did not feed them people food, got their shots, gave them regular tick/flea medication, etc. And the dogs did well and we really were proud parents and enjoying them and the happiness they added to every day – even when they were being naughty.
About two months ago little Gopi started itching and scratching. And itching and scratching. We visited two different vets trying to give him some relief but to no avail. It turns out that skin irritation is an indicator that a dog might have tick fever and on the afternoon of October 5, 2015 Gopi started going downhill. It was a long night with several calls to the vet and a lot of digging deep for Ken and I to keep going but in the end little Gopi succumbed to tick fever. He died early in the morning of October 6, 2015 surrounded by Ken and I and Mimi. We are all three devastated.
Apparently we are no better equipped as dog owners and missing Gopi has been more difficult than we imagined. Pets are special, especially when they give so much to each and every day.
We are missing Gopi but know that he had a good little life running along the beach, getting Mimi in trouble, eating things he was not supposed to and being unbelievably adorable. Mimi misses him most. He was her constant companion, playmate, running buddy, cuddle partner and source of jealousy. It will take her a while to adapt and we are attempting to adapt as well.
We miss you Gopi and will never forget how much joy you brought us over the last months. Be a good pup wherever you are!