Tropic island survival kit essentials, part 2: a dog, of course

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Moppit, the philosopher wonder dog, out for a romp this morning in the Tres Cocos neighborhood on Ambergris Caye. Moppit has the uncanny ability to remember every spot where she has received a free handout, a found chicken bone or remains of bait fish, or bacon and with laser-like determination returns to each on our walk. Naturally, a walk requires much zig-zagging and sniffing and depositing of pee-mail on coconuts and tree trunks.


Yesterday,  I half-seriously compiled a tropical island survival kit — OK, maybe less than half-serious — and made a very obvious omission that was brought to my attention this morning while I was walking Moppit, our dog.

“A dog,” said our friend Cheryl Taylor Bowen. “You should include a dog in your survival kit.”

I looked down at Moppit.

I looked up at Cheryl.

Down at Moppit.

Up at Cheryl.



“Yeah! Of course! What was I thinking?” I said rhetorically. And rather sheepishly.

Of course, a dog. Every island survival kit should include a dog.

“And people can ‘rent’ one from Saga,” added Cheryl. “They need dog walkers all the time.”

Brilliant. Saga is the local humane society.

Island dogs are great social facilitators. Rarely does a day go by when some visitor doesn’t stop to pet Moppit and mention how badly they miss their own dog(s). Moppit, being Moppit, will often walk up to a stranger expectantly with the “You may begin petting me now” look on her face. Never fails. She will curl up on a stranger’s feet, like a cat, if the petting is especially good.

Sometimes I joke, “Couple more minute of this and you will own her.”  Sometimes I’ll say she can be rented out to people who clearly are missing their canine fix.

Funny, funny me.

In the future, I will let people know that Saga can always use dog walkers.  I wouldn’t be surprised if some island visitors take me up on the suggestion.

An island dog has so many benefits.

  • You get to think about someone else besides yourself.
  • You get good exercise, taking your dog for walks several times a day.
  • You drink less because you have to get home to feed your dog or let it out for one last walk before bedtime.
  • As previously noted, dogs are great socializers. Socially awkward people, like myself, can walk into a beach bar and quickly make friends with other dog owners, while the dogs lope in circles sniffing each other’s butts. Moppit knows more people on this island than I do.
  • You have a built-in excuse to not go out at night: “My dog needs me.”
  • Seeing the world through a dog’s eyes makes you more human.
  • If you adopt a rescue dog, your heart immediately swells 8 percent and pumps fresher, more-oxygenated blood through your veins giving you a euphoric glow because — well, because you did good and saved a life and now you have a companion.
  • Dogs can be protective, a built-in home security device that sort of talks to you.
  • In summary, dogs just make you a better person. Also, healthier and happier.

And that’s about all I’ve got to say on that subject.

What’s in your tropical island survival kit?


9 thoughts on “Tropic island survival kit essentials, part 2: a dog, of course

    Sheila Strong said:
    January 3, 2018 at 12:43 pm

    Delightful! Reminds me of Patrick McDonnell’s (“Mutts”) comic strip in which Earl, the dog, is lying on the sidewalk, all fours in the air. He explains to his cat friend, Mooch, that he’s offering to receive free belly rubs from passers-by. At that moment, a well-dressed, high-society, nose-in-the-air woman walks by, ignoring him completely. As she continues down the sidewalk, Earl calls after her, “Lady, you don’t know what you’re missing!”


    Linda Czestochowski said:
    January 3, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! Dogs give so much and expect so little — the most perfect companions!! No-one will EVER greet you like your own dog — it’s like you’ve been gone forever (but maybe you just went to get the mail). Protective, loving and grateful for the smallest kindness (like a mini Milk bone, or 2). I recently saw a doormat that said “Ring the bell and let me sing you the song of my people — the Dog”. I almost fell over laughing coz that’s our very own Harley to a tee!! Cheers to a happy 2018 and many more adventures to come for you and Moppit!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      January 3, 2018 at 1:43 pm

      “the song of my people” — I love that! Happy New Year!


    Edward Butterick said:
    January 3, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    What about CATS?


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      January 3, 2018 at 1:41 pm

      Sorry, Ed, I have no experience with cats. Except for raging sneezing fits when one is in the same room with me. 🙂


    Wayne McCrae said:
    January 3, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    Another essential part of an Island survival kit is the rag. Every day I carried a rag (usually the newer micro fibre type) on my daily runs ( there is the usual stops for refreshments, lunch, refreshments, afternoon snack, refreshments, you get the picture). The rag is essential for all refreshments come with ice on the Island and therefore condensation. Those old coasters/napkins don’t last 2 minutes and the rag comes in so handy. Also used to wipe the sweat from your brow or generaly for yourgeneral hygiene after those quick golf cart fixes and detailing. Never leave home without them. Good for all Central American locals. Lol.


      robertjhawkins1 responded:
      January 3, 2018 at 3:13 pm

      Excellent, Wayne. Thank you for a wonderful contribution to the kit!
      So many times, my bike chain popped and I wanted the “rag” to wipe the grease off my hands. I had to settle for large roadside leaves …
      The rag reminds me of the towel in “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe” by Douglas Adams. The amazing (science fictional) book by the same title contains all the known tips of travel in the universe but it all boils down to one piece of advice: Never leave home without your towel. I once went to hear Adams speak, before I’d read his novel and became a fan. When he walked onstage the whole room erupted in a frenzy of waving towels!
      Rag or towel, that’s great advice!


      emilys72016 said:
      January 5, 2018 at 8:38 am

      Make mine a bandanna, but I couldn’t agree more! Carried one with me everywhere in Belize and in Mexico to sop the wetness off my face. Woe be the day I forgot to take one along in the tropical humidity, especially as a middle-aged woman suffering from internal weather fluctuations!

      And I totally agree re. the dog. 🙂


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