“Hodi” (means Curry in Singhalese) passed her health tests yesterday morning with flying colors – and is about a month old, as estimated by Dr. Thilakarathna (yes, his name is about as hard to spell as it is to say!).
The day started off with a tuk tuk ride to a closed animal clinic, then to another one 2 km away. Our driver solicitously waited for us. The small patio entrance of the animal clinic contained a LARGE cage with a LARGE fluffy over-sized German Shepherd who barked at us as we approached. Our pup looked like a mouse next to this guy!
We were directed into the Exam Room, a bare room that contained another patient, a medium-sized whippet-looking Dalmation, or a Dalmation-looking whippet hooked up to an IV. It sat upright quietly, resigned to whatever the old woman next to it decided. Our pup was placed on a newspaper lined table. The room had two open buckets overflowing with used sharps, a few well-used cabinets, and unadorned smudged once-cream walls. The waiting room in front was also a “one stop shopping” pet store, lucky for us. The vet took a few minutes to look over the puppy, asked for her name, and then after a few more minutes returned with a needle for Rabies, and a medicine syringe for Ringworms. The injection into the puppy’s hind leg brought absolutely NO REACTION from the puppy! Amazing. The Ringworm solution was squirted into the mouth, and the mouth held open till the solution was swallowed. Done!
We were then led to the doctor’s desk in the front room, and he gave us three containers: one each of liquid multi-vitamins, calcium solution, and flea powder. We also got a small bag of puppy chow, though the doctor said the pup could also eat table food, like rice as well. He said it could take milk for a few days, but didn’t have to as water was fine. The entire doctor visit, shots, and supplies cost Rp. 2,300 (about $23)! [NOTE: the last vet visit we paid was for our box turtle, Tony, to have his abcess removed by a reptilian specialist in Walnut Creek. Just the visit cost us $75, and the procedure cost $200! He also needed at least 3 penicillin shots afterwards at home.]
For other shots and medical treatments, he said that Hodi would need at least six more shots for distemper, ringworm again, and some other vaccinations. All in all, it would take at least three months before the pup could travel! It was a disappointment for Amy, though she immediately thought of extending our stay…!
To “import” the pup, Hodi would need to be quarantined after arriving into the USA for 3-4 months. I’m sure, though Amy is checking into that as she REALLY doesn’t want to give it away. Yep, she had named it almost immediately, and therein lay the problem, right? Our options are to offer it a home at a Buddhist temple, as recommended by Madu, one of the employees at our hostel who is also Buddhist. His manager, Newas, who is Muslim, recommended an elder care home. Both are good options. We will inquire with Dr. T about how much it would cost if we paid for all the rest of the required shots ahead of time, so that the next owner of Hodi would only have to take the puppy to the clinic, and not pay for the visit. Will have to inquire about neutering costs, too. Doesn’t seem like a practice around in Sri Lanka, though, based on the number of dogs we see on the streets! At least the Colombo dogs look a bit healthier and in better shape than the dogs we saw while traveling around the central part of Sri Lanka.
Today, we purchased potty training supplies ($23!), and then headed off to the beach with dog in tow – literally. With Amy cuddling her so much, it’ll be a wonder if she walks later in life! Anyway, a lot of “firsts” for this pup while with us! Walking the 150 meters to the beach from our hostel with a young pup on a leash is similar to walking a 2-year-old. The pup and toddler would be distracted by EVERYTHING! And, one wouldn’t want to discourage discovery, right? We barely began when we came upon a small group of visitors from Dubai, Oman, and Egypt who were there for the wedding of the fellow who lives here. The woman asked if she could take a picture of the puppy and us as her FIRST photograph of Sri Lanka! She loved the idea of our “Puppy Rescue.”
By the time we got to the railroad tracks that runs alongside the beach (yes, odd, and not very attractive, and somewhat dangerous), we were all hot, tired, and hungry! So, we stopped at the Bay View Chinese Restaurant, and ordered fried rice, salt and pepper cuttlefish, a Coke and hot tea, a bottle of water for the pup. Hodi ate fried rice with gusto! We met the group from Dubai, etc. at the Chinese restaurant, and directed them to go to the third floor for a great view!
At the beach, it was windy, high tide, and there were quite a number of people, mainly young men, farting around in the water, waves, and on the sand. Two wooden boats were on dry sand, with their nets neatly laid out in a maze to dry. The nets were being methodically pulled back into the boats. Made quite a pile once back into the boats – wonder how they get themselves AND the nets out into the water!
Many people looked at us as we walked the puppy. It could have been the puppy, being so little and terribly cute; it could have been Amy and me looking not very dark compared to the rest of the beach folks; it could have been us wearing shorts (even the women on the beach wore saris, long dresses or black long kaftan and head-covering veils the Muslim women wear!). I don’t know, but we got a lot of, “Hello!” and “What country are you from?” from the young men. The women and the kids just giggled. A young family admired the puppy and Amy, so we went over to them, but though they seemed intrigued by us, they weren’t so sure about the puppy. We reassured them that we took it to the doctor, and that it was our’s.
Returning to the hostel, we were worried about the discouraging woman manager / owner who had upset Amy the night before, telling her that having the dog inside was absolutely not allowed! Her stern warning left Amy in tears, and Madu came up to tell me. We dusted the sand off and rinsed ourselves REALLY well, including Hodi! The woman was in the lobby. Go figure. I sent Amy up with the pup and key, as I chatted with her about our visit to the beach. She asked where we were from, and my nationality. I learned her name is Abeen. We talked about the power cleaning of the floors, and the sprucing up of the lobby. Though she seemed intimidating at first, she seemed to relax a bit as we talked. That was good. She’s human. Though, the Muslim thing about not having dogs inside a house seems a bit limiting.
Well, after washing everybody and everything, we joined Hodi in taking a nap! The temperatures here have been around the 80s, and humidity enormous – especially since it rains here in the night to add to the dampness.
Amy spent a couple of hours poring over websites to learn about potty training, transporting puppies in airplanes, quarantines, medicines and vaccinations, and was in deep thought about the logistics as well as the cost of adopting the puppy and sending it to the States. Quite a project, and she’s not quite finished.