May 30th, 2015 I was sitting on a plane bound for the United States of America with my husband and a lot of strangers. We were sitting in a 3 seat row so one of those strangers is bound to sit by us. I’m not usually a “plane talker” mainly because I sleep but also because if you get in an awkward conversation with someone there isn’t anywhere to go. However, this day was different…A lady named Elaine sat by me and she asked me how our trip was. We’d been in St. Martin for the last week for vacation and the trip overall was fantastic however, I told her we probably would not be back to the island. Not because we didn’t enjoy our time on the island but for other reasons. 1. We’d really like to visit all of the Caribbean islands before we circle back and 2. St. Martin has a very serious stray/homeless dog problem. For those of you that do not know, Andrew and I are involved with our local Shelter and we foster special needs dogs. We were also involved with a rescue group when we lived in Arkansas. Needless to say the woman agreed and she actually had information about the issue. Elaine had actually adopted 2 dogs from St. Martin, sadly one was in such bad condition it did not make it but the other is happy and thriving with her family.
I realized there was a problem on the island day 1. There were dogs everywhere you looked and most didn’t look to be in good health. One day, we were snorkeling at a place called Mullet Bay and we saw a stray, one of his ears was dangling (I later learned it’s been like that for years and doesn’t bother him) and his face was badly scratched. I felt so bad for him but knew my doggy manners and I didn’t want to spook him so I very slowly got out of our car, got 2 pieces of pizza from the ice chest and went and set it by where he looked to be living. I called to him in a soft voice, and he came over and ate the pizza and he seemed very grateful. Andrew then pointed out that he had a dog house behind the dumpster, upon further investigation it also looked like he had food and water which made me happy but still sad for the state of his face. Now, back to the plane ride…
I think God put Elaine next to me on that plane for a reason, she was able to lead me to SXM Paws and Corinne Mackie (yes she Ok’d the use of her name). You see, Corinne has lived on the island for 40 years and set up this rescue in 2005; she realized there was a problem and she wanted to do something to fix it! They’ve adopted out 600 dogs so far to the US and Canada and are up to 80 just this year alone. Wow- isn’t that amazing?! There are lots of ways you can help the dogs in St. Martin: donations, transportation, and spread the word! If you feel it in your heart to donate you can go to www.sxmpaws.org and click on the donate tab. If you’re traveling to St. Martin or know someone that is, please consider transporting a dog back with you to take them to their FURever families! The rescue pays for all of their plane expenses. Lastly, the best thing you can do for these dogs is SHARE SHARE SHARE! Help get the word out there and help the island animals!
Wondering what happened with the dog we saw in Mullet Bay? When I got a hold of Corinne (via Facebook- she said you could contact her there to) I described the dog to her and what I had seen and she said “oh yes, One Ear.” We got to talking about him and I learned that sadly he’d been hit by a car and that’s why his face was scratched BUT that she’d been giving him antibiotics for a few weeks. She feeds One Ear along with 20 other dogs and about 40 feral cats every day. Can you believe that? Every day this super hero of a woman goes out and tends to the island’s homeless pets. She said One Ear had a pack of 2 female dogs he ran with and he’s happy to be the pack leader. The 2 female dogs have been caught and spayed but they haven’t been able to catch One Ear quite yet… she’s still working on that. Corinne is doing the absolute best she can with these dogs and I was so thankful to hear that One Ear had someone looking out for him! She even sent me an older picture of him, isn’t he handsome?
My hope is this post spreads the word about the homeless animals of St. Martin and it helps them in some way. Please comment or contact me if you have any questions as to how you can help. God Bless you and all the animals. –Ragan
I've done a lot of cool things but THIS. IS. THE. COOLEST! While Andrew and I were in St. Martin with friends we decided to go on a private boat charter to St. Barth. It's pretty close to St. Martin, only about a 45 minute boat ride. We snorkeled in a cay on St. Barth and I saw this turtle. At first, he was feeding on the sea weed below and then I guess he needed to come up and get some air. So what did I do?... I just swam with him! I didn't get a picture when I was right beside him because I was enjoying the moment way too much! I was close enough to this magical creature to touch him, I'd say he was less than a foot away from me. It was by far one of the best experiences in the wild I've ever had! What an absolute treat!
When I got back on the boat our first mate was astonished that the turtle let me get so close. She said most of them are scared of humans and shy away. I also learned I was at the right place at the right time as turtles only have to come up for air every 2-3 hours. In case you weren't aware, sea turtles are on the endangered species list. Andrew was able to see one last year in the BVI that I didn't get to experience but I think my experience was much cooler! (Sorry Andrew!)
A southern girl living in the Mid-West. My husband and I love to travel and go on new adventures--We love Jesus and the blessings He provides!