When I first joined the Peace Corps and arrived in Madagascar, I promised myself I would not adopt a pet. I knew how attached I would become to it and how distraught I would be to say goodbye. But three days into my life in my village, I found a small 3 month old puppy scrounging through a trash pit in town trying to survive by eating plastic bags and bits of rotten food. Every bone in her body was accentuated by her thin figure. She looked like she hadn’t had a good meal since she had been born. It broke my heart. How could I leave this dog to die when I could care for it? So I took her in, bathed her, got rid of the fleas that were infesting her fur coat, and fed her. A week later when she became so sick that I had to feed her water through a small spoon, I stayed up with her for three days and nursed her back to health.
I never realized how important Parasy was to me in those first few months of my service until later on. I thought about ETing (or ending my service prematurely) the first few days I was at site. Adjusting to village life was more of a culture shock then I could have ever imagined and I mentally kept telling myself I wouldn’t make it. But when I adopted Parasy, my thoughts changed. It was no longer just about me anymore. I had another responsibility now. If I was to leave, I would have to say goodbye to Parasy and release her back into the wild where she was sure to die. So I stayed. And so did she.
Parasy has been there for me in times of loneliness and frustration, and times of joy. She doesn’t judge me, but loves me unconditionally. She has protected me against creepy Gendarmes (National Army) when they have shown up at my door and gotten angry that I won’t tell them where someone is. She has scared off children that have tried to come into my house and steal something when I run down to use my pit toilet. I have laughed at how she parts crowds just by walking down the streets. I have seen her fight off chickens attacking an abandoned puppy in the road. I have enjoyed the times where we spend hours playing fetch because each time I say we’re done and try to go into my house to work or study, she darts in front of me, growls, and drops the pipe on my feet daring me to take another step. I have seen her grow from a puppy I could hide in my purse to a dog I can barely lift. She is my life. She is my everything.
When I leave Madagascar at the end of my service, she has to come with me. Not because I want her to, but because I need her to. She has become half of me. As my site mate has said before, “sometimes owners start resembling their dogs, and sometimes their dogs start resembling their owners.” Maybe that’s why I get defensive about my food and growl at people when they try to take it away. I wouldn’t dream of leaving her here while I return to normal life in the States.
Bringing Parasy home is going to be more complicated then I thought. She has to meet not one country’s import regulations but two. She needs extensive blood tests, vaccinations, and medical check ups. She has to fly through two different countries before arriving home. While I have not gotten an official quote from the company yet, minimum $3500, and that does not include the costs of things that need to be completed in country before she leaves. I am a volunteer; I have not received a salary in over a year and I have very minuscule savings.
I’m asking for help.
The link to my gofundme donation page is below. Even if you can’t donate, please share my
story. Every dog deserves the chance at a blessed, spoiled life.
Thank you for reading my blog, and for supporting my cause. Parasy says thank you too! And give me a bone, but that’s besides then point.
How she sleeps. Not quite sure how that is comfortable.
Her trophy from protecting the puppy. She’s dang proud of it.