I honestly came in to 2021 feeling full of hope and happiness and I knew I wanted to get Dushi Designs back on track and be posting the happy island vibes that you all know and love.
I did not think for a second that I would end up having to deliver sad news so early in to the new year.
But here it is:
Rewind to March 2020.
I rescued some dogs that had been chained up and left to die in an old abandoned house in my neighbourhood. I fed them every single day for the last ten months. Got them sterilised and vaccinated. Gave them antibiotics, cleaned their wounds, got rid of all the fleas and ticks and worms. I treated them like they was my own, except they wasn’t “mine” they were street dogs. Dumped and left alone to fend for themselves. Abused and battered. Skin and bone. But I didn’t see them that way. I saw them for the sweet dogs they were. The innocent dogs that just wanted a fair shot at life and desperately wanted to be loved.
Over time I quickly bonded with them and they became part of my daily routine.
Every morning I would do my rounds, driving around the streets feeding and watering the strays, gaining their trust and letting them know that I wasn’t going to hurt them.
They became “famous” on my insta stories and you guys even helped me pick their names.
RUFUS & KIRA.
You remember them, right?
Well sadly they are no longer here.
Rufus was poisoned a couple of weeks ago and I found his dead body underneath the old abandoned house. Limp and lifeless with a trickle of blood coming from his nose.
I crawled under the house, pulled him out, put him in my car and drove to the pet cemetery behind Baby Beach.
The least I could do is give him a decent burial.
It absolutely broke me. I couldn’t believe some sick monster would do this. He was a sweet and friendly old boy that was happy living his life guarding his little territory on the street.
I can’t even describe to you the feeling of finding a dead dog, let alone one I grew to love. It made me sad and mad and frustrated and it reminded me once again that no matter how much I love my island of Aruba.... This is the part I truly HATE!
Fast forward to this weekend and Kira and BB (Baby Beach Boy who joined their pack during lockdown) both were showing signs and symptoms the same as Rufus. I knew right away they had been poisoned too.
My stomach was in knots because I also knew that I could not save them.
The poison was so strong it had rapidly taken effect on their bodies and their organs were giving up. They was both struggling to breathe, could barely move and they did not have the strength to fight such a strong dose of lethal poison.
I had to call for back up because I knew I physically could not do this alone.
Thankfully the trapping team came to the rescue and was able to crawl under the house to get both BB and Kira out.
When they pulled Kira out she already had blood dripping from her lips and she even smelled like death. I knew they wasn’t going to make it but kept telling myself we have to try!
We rushed them straight to the vets and sadly BB passed away on route.
Kira then had to be put to sleep by the vet on arrival.
Sitting here right now writing this is not easy. I can barely even see the keyboard because I am crying uncontrollably. I’m so angry and so heartbroken.
Why did someone do this to them? Why? Why? Why? I don’t understand the mentality of these kind of people and I never will.
After over a decade of rescuing dogs, I can tell you with my hand on my heart, this doesn’t get any easier over time. I have not become “immune” to seeing dogs dying, I have not got “used to” burying dead dogs. It’s damn hard and it’s an emotional rollercoaster that I don’t want to be on!
Some people have said to me, “You obviously love rescuing dogs” and the honest answer is I don’t!
I do it because as a decent human being, as an animal lover, and as a citizen of Aruba I feel it’s my duty and responsibly to not turn a blind eye to this problem that “we” as an island have created.
We cannot keep relying on rich tourists or wealthy expats to solve this mess we got ourselves into. WE have to fix this problem. We cannot pretend this problem does not exist because it does. I see it on a DAILY basis. And every day it breaks my heart.
Dogs have feelings and emotions. They feel pain and they also feel love too.
I don’t even want to imagine the pain Rufus, Kira and BB must have felt in their final hours here on this Earth.
My only consolation is that for the last ten months I gave them the best possible life that I could.
Yes, they still lived on the street but I cleaned up a space for them so they had some shelter, I gave them fresh water every day and made sure they had a full belly.
I sat in the dirt with them and played with them.
I tickled their tummies and scratched their behinds.
I cuddled them and let them put their head on my chest and showed them that not all humans are monsters.
It sickens me to know there is a serial killer living close by.
That somebody is going out of their way to murder innocent dogs.
That some sick twisted person is making them die a painful horrific death!
Is this what we really want the tourists to know about us?
Is this what we want to teach our children and the next generation?
This is now my final plea.... One dog survived!
His name is Madden and he was recently dumped in the colony. He showed up just after Rufus died and BB and Kira accepted him in to their pack. For the last couple of weeks he has been by their sides and I have been feeding him trying to gain his trust so I could catch him and take him to be sterilised.
He also got rushed to the vets this weekend and got medication to flush out the poison from his system. Thankfully he has survived but now I am in a dilemma....
I have paid for him to stay at the vets in their boarding for a few days to recover and hopefully be fit and well enough to have surgery to be neutered.... But then what?
There is no way in a million years that I am going to put him back on the street knowing that he will most likely get poisoned again. I cannot do that to him.
He needs a safe place, a foster family/person to take care of him temporarily at their home whilst he recovers from his surgery and then that gives me a little more time to try to get him adopted.
I am not able to bring him to my house because I am full with rescue dogs already. If that was an option then I wouldn't be begging you for help right now.
He is a very sweet but shy and timid dog and needs someone who has patience and understands the trauma he has been through. He is approximately 1.5 years young so will have plenty of energy once he is on the road to recovery.
I wish I didn’t have to write these kind of stories but it’s the only way I know how to get the message out there.
I really need a miracle here for Madden because all the rescue charities on the island cannot take him, they have no room, no foster families, no funds for “just one more dog” unfortunately.
So please, if you made it to the end of this story and you are on the island, have a heart and love dogs.... Please consider fostering Madden.
This is a desperate plea for help because he cannot stay at the vets forever and he 100% cannot go back on the street to his death sentence whilst this dog killer is still out there.
IF YOU CAN FOSTER MADDEN PLEASE CONTACT: