Since Barry has been rehabilitating a torn muscle and pinched nerve in his upper back for over a month now (he's improving at last, but it's been slow going), I've been having to do a lot of things solo lately.  Yesterday it was a bike ride into town to attend the Saga Humane Society's 9th Annual Halloween party and fundraiser in Central Park.  

There was something for everyone:  delicious donated homemade food, cold drinks, free biodegradable doggie poop bags and dog collars, t-shirts and jewelry for sale, raffle tickets to benefit Saga, and the highlight, a doggie costume contest full of the cutest pooches I've ever seen!  I couldn't take Paisley because of the difficulty getting her there with only my bicycle, but that made it much easier to take photos to try to capture all the fun everyone was having.  Hope you enjoy the slideslow!
I did my part to help by buying a Saga t-shirt (below), a bunch of raffle tickets (didn't win anything, but I never do), a delicious cupcake topped with marshmallow creme, and an ice-cold Belikin.  The service provided by volunteers was outstanding!
With all the dogs and cats Saga houses awaiting adoption, in addition to the many other services they provide the community, they are always in need of funds.  There was a great turnout for the party, so I suspect a good amount was raised for this excellent cause.  In addition to the Saga website, did you know they have a Facebook page as well?  Come on, give it a "Like"!

Also, make sure to check out San Pedro Scoop's Halloween Party blog for more party and costume contest pictures, because really, who can get enough of dogs in costumes?!
 
 
Today we rode our bikes down to the south side of town to meet our friends Robert and Maureen at Rico's at Banyan Bay.  This was our first meal at Rico's, but we'd heard good things so were looking forward to trying it.  We got the "palapa table" over the water, a wonderful place to sit and catch the tiny amount of breeze on this hot January day (just writing that seems strange!)

We had an excellent meal.  Barry got the chicken burritos, and I got the fish burritos.  I'm afraid I'd order the same thing over and over and never even try anything else on the menu, they were that good.  Yum!  And the conversation was as good as the food.  We feel like we've been friends with Robert and Maureen forever.  Amazing what a chance meeting while riding our bikes in town can do.  That's just one of the many great things about living here -- it's so easy to meet people because everyone is outdoors so much instead of holed up in their homes or cocooned in their cars.
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Rico's
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Maureen, sweet Rico's waitress, and Robert
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Fast friends
After lunch we rode the short way south to Robert and Maureen's new condo at Royal Palm Villas.  It's a cute place, and they have big plans to make it even nicer with new tile, paint, and other improvements eventually.  Unfortunately, the sweet "potlicker" they adopted from Saga, Rico, was not home as he was off in his dog training class.  We did find out that he is featured in the 2012 Saga Calendar as "Joe".  Such a precious pup!  

On our way home we stopped at Super Buy South for groceries and met a nice couple, Mary and David, who said they read our blog, so recognized us.  (Hi guys!)  We've met a lot of friendly folks simply because we write this blog, and that's just one of the many pleasures of living here.

Near the airport, we also ran into our neighbor Jim, who had the Grand Caribe "mascot", a sweet mixed-breed dog some call Cannelo and others call Sammy, in a dog crate on the back of his Polaris.  Sammy is very fearful of human touch but loves companionship, and will happily follow along on walks, play with Paisley, and lick my hand.  He frequently sleeps on a rag rug on our veranda, and hangs out with us during the day a lot as well.  We feed him whenever he indicates that he's hungry, and quite a few other Grand Caribe owners feed him too.  As with most strays, he doesn't get any kind of regular vet care, since no one owns him and no one can touch him, yet he normally seems pretty healthy for a street dog.  But in the past couple of days, he'd been crying out in pain when he would scratch one of his ears, so we knew he needed vet care sooner rather than later.  It was heart-breaking to hear his cries and even woke me up once last night.  

Without a crate or a vehicle, I wasn't sure what to do, other than call Saga Humane Society and hope that they could come up and somehow capture him and take him in for care.  I had been planning to contact them today to find out what the options were, but then I didn't see Sammy in the morning, and I knew we'd be out a lot today, so I hadn't yet contacted them.  Fortunately, Jim had also heard Sammy's cries and managed to get him into a crate (with quite a bit of difficulty) that he had for his dog Zeke.  I was so relieved and thankful because I knew that Sammy would finally be getting the care he so desperately needed.  So he is at San Pedro Animal Hospital and will have his vaccines, flea/tick treatment, and treatment for his ear.  He is also being neutered, which was such good news, since there are so many unwanted and neglected dogs on Ambergris Caye, so more puppies are the last thing this island needs.  Seeing Sammy with Jim and knowing he was going to be well taken care of was a real highlight on this excellent day!
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Sammy, aka Cannelo
 
 
After riding our bikes into town for groceries, and paying our friend Robert a quick visit at Royal Palm Villas, we headed home for lunch.  Before we started making our usual sandwiches, Barry got on his laptop and went into Facebook, where he saw that the Lazy Croc had posted a photo of their special -- Smokehouse Shepherd's Pie.  It looked amazing, and only took us a few seconds to make the executive decision to head over there for lunch.  After all, "the Croc" is dangerously close -- almost within smellin' distance, but not quite (thank the gods!)  They were also having sweet potato pie today, one of my favorites, so off we went.  

The Shepherd's Pie was even better than it looked in the photo.  It was so filling that I had to get the sweet potato pie to go; hopefully I'll have more room after dinner.  It was the perfect warming lunch for an overcast, blustery, cool day on Ambergris Caye.  How cold was it?  We're talking low 70s, people!  
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Smokehouse Shepherd's Pie with mashed potatoes and garlic toast. Comfort food!
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Hey, I deserve this -- I ran almost 4 miles and rode 9.6 miles this morning! :)
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They aren't kidding...see photos following
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One of the Lazy Croc owners' dogs hoping for a handout
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Sammy, aka Cannelo, the stray dog we've been feeding, kind of follows us everywhere.
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A map of the area. We're at Grand Caribe, just a quick walk from Lazy Croc.
 
 
We had a scare last night with Paisley.  Although we don't know for sure what happened, our best guess is that she got bit by something (spider? ant? scorpion?) last night when I had her out for the last time, though she didn't yelp or show any signs of being bitten at the time.  A little later I put her to bed in her crate (at which point she appeared completely normal), then went to bed myself.  I was already drifting off to sleep when Barry came in holding Paisley and saying that something was wrong.  He had been watching sports on TV and was just about to hit the hay himself when he heard her banging around in her crate.  Turns out she was rubbing her face all over inside trying to scratch her incredibly itchy face, which by this time had swollen up like a balloon.  In addition to a swollen, red face, she had itchy, raised hives on other areas on her body, and a red rash on her chest.  

There is an well-regarded veterinarian here on Ambergris Caye who accepts emergency/after hours calls, so I made sure I had her number handy, but by this time it was 11pm, and I didn't want to have to call her unless absolutely necessary, especially since we had no way of getting Paisley to her (since we don't have a golf cart, and taxis can't cross the bridge after 9pm) and would have to ask her to make a house call.

I immediately went online (what did we ever do before google??) and researched the symptoms, and since Paisley was still breathing okay (indicating her throat was hopefully not swelling, which is when this kind of thing gets really dangerous), we quickly got a Benedryl into her, wrapped in cheese.  She didn't mind that one bit.  We think that Benedryl may have saved our Lhasa Apso Columbus's life when he got into a yellow jacket's nest and received numerous stings when we were camping on property we used to own in the North Carolina mountains years ago -- far from any vet, cell phone signal, and also on a weekend.  Fortunately, the Benedryl also helped Paisley significantly, and quickly.  Within thirty minutes, I could see the swelling going down.  

I sat with her on the sofa for another hour, watching her get calmer and calmer (at first she was frantically itching, drinking a lot of water, shaking her head, etc.), watching the swelling lessen, and when she was finally falling asleep, I put her in her crate.  By this time it was 12:30 am, and with my adrenaline flowing from the episode, I couldn't fall asleep until at least 1 am, then got up a couple of times in the night to check on her.

Today she is much better.  I gave her another Benedryl at 7 am, but even before that all the hives and redness were gone and most of the swelling.  She's still got a "wattle" under her chin (a turkey neck, in keeping with the holiday weekend) where we can feel some swelling, and there's what looks like a small puncture wound on the lower side of her mouth, which is apparently where she got bit or stung.  She's eating normally, playing like crazy, and seems to feel just like herself again, so we are out of the woods now, thankfully.  As the day has gone on, the wattle is shrinking as well, so I suspect it will be mostly, if not all, gone by tomorrow.  Note to self:  ALWAYS keep Benedryl on hand.  
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Last night - swollen cheeks, around eyes, and swollen hives on head and elsewhere on her body
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Feeling miserable and itchy last night
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This morning -- you can see how different her cheeks and eyes look -- only the wattle remains!
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Mid-day -- the wattle is shrinking gradually. It is even smaller tonight.
 
 
Yesterday during Paisley's late afternoon playtime, she found a small coconut that she quickly became obsessed with.  Barry got the idea to throw it into the ocean water to see if she'd retrieve it.  Um, yes.  Again and again and again.  The tide was out, so the water was even shallower than usual in this area, with a few deeper holes.  It was quite entertaining to watch her walk, then swim when she hit a hole, then walk again, in dogged (pardon the pun) pursuit of her latest obsession.  Once she had to dive fairly deep under water to get the coconut as it had floated into a deeper water area.  After several aborted attempts, she finally got it.  I couldn't believe it!  She even attracted an audience of the security guard and two guys working on the second floor of our building.

Here are a few photos of her retrieval efforts as well as a YouTube video showing the extent to which she'd go for that little coconut (and for the treat from Barry that came after!)  Needless to say, one little Boston Terrier was a very tired girl last night!
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A natural swimmer!
 
 
My apologies for the lack of blog postings lately, but I didn't want to get too repetitive.  After all the "firsts" from our first month or two here, we're now into more of a regular routine, so there's not as much new and interesting to report.  We continue our morning beach runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and our daily bike rides into town for groceries.  We've dealt with the internet being down in our building many times in the past few days, and lots of construction noise, both a bit frustrating (especially since our building was supposed to be completely DONE quite awhile ago).  On a positive note, I got to talk to my mother yesterday for her birthday, a nice highlight of my week. 

Here are a few photos from the past few days.  
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Plantains I made for dessert last weekend. Nom nom nom!
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Paisley in her princess pose...and giving me the old crook eye
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Yep, that's definitely a crook eye...or is it a stink eye?
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Glazed salmon, veggies, and brown rice for dinner tonight. Yum.
 
 
Yesterday one of the security guards here, Oscar, brought by three pit bull puppies he and his wife have been raising.  I've been chatting with him about these pups, and he had promised to bring them by to meet Paisley on his day off.  He was true to his word, much to my delight.  The puppies were absolutely adorable!  

Paisley always gets a bit intimidated by puppies, for some reason, and is never aggressive or overly rambunctious around them (unlike her behavior around some adult dogs).  It was funny to watch them all together, and I had a blast watching and holding the puppies.  Who doesn't love puppies?
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Little Paisley looks huge next to these tiny pups!
 
 
Paisley's best canine buddies here in Belize are moving back to the US today.  Van Gogh and Picasso are large dogs that scared the dickens out of sixteen-pound Paisley at first, but they soon became good buddies.  Despite his tough appearance and huge size (90 lbs!), Van Gogh is extremely gentle and protective and kept Paisley out of harm's way from any strange dogs that came around.  Late yesterday afternoon, Tyler brought them around to say goodbye and play with Paisley one last time.  Paisley adores Tyler as much as her four-footed friends.  She's going to miss these big guys!
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Picasso (L) and Van Gogh
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Tyler (center) with Van Gogh, Picasso, Cinello, and Paisley. I'm laughing hard at Van Gogh defending his toy from Paisley!
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Paisley kept stealing this toy of Van Gogh's when he would look away from it. Note the devilish look on her face!
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"It's mine, all mine!"
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Tyler taunts Paisley with Van Gogh's toy. You can see how scared she is of Van Gogh. :-)
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Van Gogh -- a gentle giant
The photos below are from a couple of days ago but didn't make the blog since we were concentrating on the approaching storm at that point.
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(L to R) Picasso, Barry, Tyler, Van Gogh, Paisley, Lucky, and Doris
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Lucky herding Paisley. She thinks Paisley is a little goat or sheep!
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Van Gogh -- you will be missed