Tag Archives: machete

“Ticklet”

This is the story of Piglet, who I lovingly also call “Ticklet”.  Since I’ve been here she has been one of the four (now five) porch dogs who live on the porch of the volunteer house, just across the street from the Thai Animal Sanctuary in Sangkhlaburi.  Piglet used to live in the sanctuary, as the rest of the porch dogs did, but once better chose to live outside of the gates of the sanctuary, on the street and porch, free to roam around as they choose.

What makes Piglet more interesting however is how fearful she is of humans.  She loves being around us, but won’t let anyone touch her.  There have been a few occasions however where she has allowed myself and other volunteers to scratch and pet her, but the events are VERY few and far between as she skitters away after a pat or two.  When we are away for a bit we are always greeted by her with a friendly face and tail wagging, and she always approaches us as if she wants a pat, but then retreats when we get too close.  She even accompanies us to the market or other destinations we walk to but again always just far enough away from us so we can’t touch her.

Piglet came to the sanctuary as a puppy, the sole survivor of her entire family.  The woman who opened the sanctuary here got word of a family of dogs (a mother and several puppies) who were going to be poisoned by their human owners because they didn’t want to care for them… She rushed to the site where they were to find the mother dog killed by a machete, and all the puppies except piglet dead by poison.  Piglet herself was attacked by a machete in an attempt to kill her but thankfully was rescued.  Knowing her past, it’s no wonder she doesn’t trust people.

When I first came here she was absolutely covered along her back, between her toes and on her chest with ticks (hence why I nicknamed her Ticklet).  The nasty and huge blood suckers were so prevalent that you could see them sticking off of her from a distance and every time she sat on the porch and scratched, at least one or two would fall off her.  Since no one could touch her, the continuous debate on what to do about her tick situation went on.  We tried several times to catch her with a net with no success.  I once was able to slightly distract her with treats in one hand, and as she ate I brought my other hand around with Spot-On and was able to get a drop on her before she figured out the scheme and went running away, spilling the rest of the Spot-On in the street.

It was obvious that we had to sedate her fully in order to really get in and pick all the ticks off.  We even joked about how, when she was finally under, we would each take turns cuddling her and taking pictures with her since we knew we would never get the chance again, lol!  Trouble was, I think she heard us…  You see, Ticklet is also tremendously smart.  So while we sat on the porch in the evenings discussing various things to do, I’m sure she heard when we came up with the plan to put Diazepam (sleeping pills) in some food to make her drowsy, then stab her with a syringe of Xylazine to put her completely out so we could pick off the ticks.

The day finally came when our plan was to come into action!  Several five milligram Diazepam pills were purchased to do the trick and she readily took the bait.  The pills (about 4 in the first try) were hidden in a bowl of wet dog food that was consumed at a very fast pace.  We sat and waited for her to sleep, but while she did doze a bit, she never fully lost her vigilance.  Another bowl was offered with three more pills, but still nothing happened.  Yet another bowl was offered as we thought to ourselves how ridiculous and amazing it was that she still wasn’t sleepy enough to approach!  After a total of about ten pills, she still didn’t show any signs of drowsiness!!  She did however decide to take a walk…

Figuring she was finally feeling drowsy, but being smart enough not to fall asleep in front of us, she was probably trying to move elsewhere so she could actually fall asleep without threat of us stabbing her with a full dose of sleeping aid.  So of course we had to follow.  She walked down the block and into a large area of pure jungle where she sniffed and walked leisurely to find the right spot.  She never did actually lay down however, just sniffed here and there as if she was interested in doing so.  Frankly I think she was really just having a laugh at us!

It started to look promising however as she looked a bit drowsy at one point, but the second we went to make a move toward her through the jungle she was off again running in and out of various jungle in the yards of the neighbors down the street.  We continued to follow at a distance, determined not to lose her!  The whole event ended with her walking (quite alert) right back onto the property of the volunteer house.  She never did fall asleep even once during the whole ordeal!  Funnily enough however, (and maybe it was just that the temperature at night began to drop) after that day Ticklet turned back into Piglet as the ticks began to fall off her body on their own…  Personally I think that the ten milligrams of Diazepam, which seemingly had no effect on Piglet, actually worked to put all the ticks on her body to sleep thereby making them drop off on their own, lol!!

It’s been several weeks since the event at this point, and Piglet is still tick-free (at least as far as we can see from the distance she allows).  Such a clever dog she is… I’m sure she heard us talking of taking pictures and cuddling with her while she was out that she simply funneled all the sleeping pills to the ticks instead just so she wouldn’t have to endure such torture of cuddling from us, lol!!

On to Thankful

Back to Thailand

Beach Adventure

The next morning started bright and early.  The couple that had arrived the day before had set out for their private tour of Corcovado Park with “F” and the Belgian boys had already set out the day before for the park, so it was only Jul and I at the hostel with Berta.  Jul had actually gotten up in the morning on this day and since we were the only two there, we ended up joining forces to explore new areas of the town.

After a breakfast of coffee and fresh, delicious pineapple, we decided to go on a hike to a beach about 7 kilometers from the town.  Jul had heard of the beach from others as a particularly nice one so we opted to give it a shot.  Berta suggested that we ride bikes there, which in retrospect ended up being advice that we should have followed but of course didn’t, thus beginning the grand adventure for the day….

We took off on foot heading South toward the road that led to the beach.  However, instead of taking the “long way” (i.e. correct road), we thought to take what we thought would be a shortcut.  Instead we ended up at a deadend and had no choice but to trespass on private properties, cross fields with knee-high grasses (perfect for snakes to hide in) and shimmy under barbwire fences to get back on the road we should have just taken in the first place.   In any event, after perhaps a half hour of “misguided” time we got back on track and set off for the rest of the hike.

We crossed property after property, some brand new, others quite old and shabby, through back roads of the Osa Peninsula.  Not too much wildlife was spotted on our walk but certainly some interesting sights.  The first was of a young girl, probably 3 years old standing in the front yard swinging a machete around as if it were a stick she was playing with.  Amazing our cultural differences!!  While that sight nearly gave me a heart-attack, I very much doubt locals would flutter an eyelash at it.  The other sight was quite humorous.  As we walked past one of the older and poorer homes there were two young boys on the front porch, probably 4 or so.  One was squatting on the porch playing with something on the ground and the other was proudly standing at the front of the porch buck naked and peeing off the edge into the grass below.  The best part of that was that all the while he was peeing, he was watching us walk by and had the biggest smile across his face as he waved excitedly to us.  We chuckled to ourselves and simply waved back, returning the greeting in waves that we were given!

I’m not entirely sure how much time it took to get to the beach, just that we finally made it at some point and it couldn’t have come at a better time!  We were both getting rather tired from walking the entire way (we tried hitchhiking several times with no success) and welcomed the rest that the water and beach provided.  We took some time to swim in the water relax and rejuvenate our spirits.  Looking back now, I can’t really say that this particular beach was really that spectacular, but I do recall that the waves were quite impressive as many avid surfers were also out enjoying the gift of the waves.  Either way though the coolness of the water was definitely welcome after the long walk there!!

After some time swimming both Jul and I were quite hungry and decided to find somewhere to eat.  We walked along the beach, thinking that surely there would be somewhere that we could grab something… Unfortunately we were quite wrong in thinking this as well!!  We walked and walked and walked along the beach reaching one place after another that was either closed, didn’t serve food, served food but at a phenomenal expense, or simply wasn’t a restraunt!!  By the time we thought to give up the hunt we figured that we were probably almost back to the town of Puerto Jimenez and that we should just continue on along the beach because surely we would end up there soon!

Wrong again!!  Or rather, we forgot one teeny tiny detail… Yes, the beach did eventually connect from where we were on the beach (7 Km South) to the beach along the town of Puerto Jimenez, but it was separated by a river about 2-300 meters wide!!  So there we were, we had finally made it back to a point on the beach where we could see the town but all we had to do was cross the river… Now, had we hit it at the right time, the tide would have been low enough to simply walk or wade across, but of course since it was late in the evening (yes even the sun was starting to fade so it was about 4:30-5 pm at this point with us both only having eaten breakfast and thankfully a glass of water offered by a nice home owner along our way back) the tide was quite high making it impossible to walk or wade through…

So we had a choice: either walk all the way back down the beach, back to the road on which we had walked earlier to the town which would have certainly taken us several hours and we would have had to walk in the dark, OR swim across the mouth of the river to the mangroves and private house across the way.

We chose plan B… Swim across the mouth of the river.  I had luckily brought a plastic bag with me that contained sunscreen and stuffed my clothes (keeping the bathing suit on of course) and shoes in it.  After everything was secure, I walked into the water with my bag overhead and started to swim.  The plan was to swim to the mangroves that were closer to us than the shore and after who knows how long of kicking and paddling and back-stroking and praying we both made it to the mangroves!  We stopped there for several minutes just trying to catch our breath and rest for a little while.  While I obviously do know how to swim, I hadn’t done that much swimming in a long time and this particular swim was quite challenging as I had to keep one arm overhead holding all my clothes and the current from the river kept pushing us (or trying to) out toward the ocean.

But the worst was definitely over and I was quite thankful for it!!  Truthfully there were several moments while I was kicking my way across where I thought “WTF was I thinking?!?!?!”  and several times I wondered if I should just turn back!!  And there were several times that I wondered what kind of critters were swimming in the waters with or below me, but luckily I kept with it and little by little keeping patient and calm I made it across!

We weren’t out of trouble just yet though as the mangroves were submerged in the river water quite a bit as well, and I still couldn’t reach the bottom of the river/ocean so had to hold myself above water my clinging onto the mangroves and standing on large exposed roots.  And Jul had so wonderfully mentioned that snakes and potentially crocs could be found in the mangroves so there was definitely much more motivation to get the heck out of there!!  So while I was exhausted, I wasn’t going to hang around any longer than I had to!!  After a few minutes of gathering our strength back up, we made our way around the mangroves, half swimming-half clinging to the submerged trees and finally made it to shore!!

Three children were playing in the shallow water of shore that we ended up on and at one point stopped to point us out and giggle at the silly gringos who seemingly came from nowhere but now appeared with blood-shot red faces almost crawling out onto the land.  I had never been so happy to be on land before!  We made it to a little bench and sat for a few minutes, laughing at how crazy what we had just done was!!

To be honest I don’t recall the rest of the night, only that I’m sure I slept well and that I was quite thankful all turned out well!!  What an adventure that day turned out to be!!  I do recall chuckling with Jul at one point on how each day seemed to hold an interesting new adventure, and lo and behold, the next day too had a little adventure in store for us yet again…

On to Sea Kayaking

Back to Costa Rica