By Mike, with contributions by Miranda
This is without a doubt the most difficult blog entry I’ve ever had to write.
On the morning of March 12, 2012, I awoke to find that Peanut, my near-constant puppy companion and faithful friend, had died.
It was just a few months past his first birthday.
I don’t need to describe the details of, nor would I ever want to re-live, the horror and shock of finding his body, or the several hours that followed of chipping away at a grave in the hard-packed, rocky dirt of our front yard. Completely overwhelmed by grief, I was so very thankful for the help of a few friends who helped Miranda and I dig Peanut’s final resting place on this island he loved so much. Even now, several weeks later, I find it impossible to write about his death without getting choked up.
People have reminded me to focus on all the good times we had though. It is a very easy thing to do. For both Miranda and I, he had been a central part of our lives here from the moment we brought him home as a little puppy that could easily fit inside a shoebox. With very few exceptions, each and every day thereafter was filled with a special kind of joy as we watched our little pup grow from a chubby, clumsy adolescent into the silly, loving, and handsome dog I’d like to always remember him as.
Here he is, dragging Miranda around at the beach, after learning that he instinctively knew how to swim. He enjoyed it so much, Miranda and I joked he’d likely swim out to sea. The harness you see him wearing was something we had to get him. Whenever we had him on the leash he would choke himself because all he wanted to do was run. The harness only seemed to add to his powerful tugs as he could put his whole body into it. He knew how to walk nicely with the leash, but sometimes he just got so excited.
He was a bit uncertain about the water at first though. He slipped around on the rocks, and needed some reassurance to leave the shore.
I was always glad to oblige with a little pep talk.
Peanut’s happiness was just infectious. I couldn’t help but smile at his antics, whether it was chasing chickens and frogs around our yard, rolling around in the grass with his sister Lemon, or proudly following me when I’d walk down the road. I was proud of him too. No matter how frustrating my day was, it instantly got better when I’d come home to see him sitting just inside the front door, tail wagging wildly.
He loved to ride in the car (evidenced by non-stop drooling as he’d try to stick his head out the window), to chew on anything from his giant box of dog toys (that were usually spread out all across the living room), and could run faster than you’d think such a "husky” dog would be able to. He would lay fast asleep on the living room floor, and dream about open fields and slow chickens, and we’d watch his paws twitch and his his jaw clench. He was still working on learning how to ‘stay’ and he never could learn ‘lay down’ because he always sat funny, with each leg out looking like an outrigger canoe, making it hard for him to go from sitting to laying. He could sit, and shake, and fetch like a purebred show dog (or at least it seemed like to his puppy-parents who always rewarded him with a treat or a head pat).
He wasn’t pure bred though. He was a Yap dog through and through.
One that was very loved, and who will be so very missed.
Miranda and I would both like to thank our friends, both on-island and abroad, for their condolences and support. A special thanks goes to a former expat and fellow pet lover who sent us a book called Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant. It really helped. Peanut was a part of our little family here, his loss has affected us profoundly, and we thank you all for being there.
Miranda would also like to mention YAPS…
Started by American expats and Peace Corps volunteers living here on Yap in 2009, Yap Animal Protection Society, or YAPS, is a non-profit organization with a mission “to protect the welfare of Yap State’s animal population and raise public awareness and provide basic veterinarian service to Yap”. Through fundraising, YAPS is currently trying to raise money to bring a vet to Yap for a few days to provide a clinic for Yap’s animals including spay and neutering, basic healthcare, and to humanely euthanize sick or injured animals. This service is so badly needed because there is no resident vet on Yap, and the local population has a different sense of the value of non-food animals. Pet healthcare is not a major priority.
YAPS is currently accepting donations. We personally know the people who run YAPS, all volunteers, and know that donations will be used appropriately. If you would like to donate to YAPS, visit their webpage at:
We don’t know if having a vet here could have saved our dear pup (likely not), but we do know that animals here are in dire need of veterinarian services on a regular basis and a clinic and YAPS is a good place to start.
Here’s a last photo, from Christmas, 2011, where Peanut couldn’t stop fidgeting or looking goofy. As usual.