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Hope you enjoy! I didn't have my camera many days because of beach going. It's hard to tote around two Nikons while you're trying to snorkel. So I missed a lot of the beach dogs, no pics of the iguanas, and our supposed waterproof camera died so no octopus or turtle pics either. Oh well.

Anyways, these were all taken on St Maarten/St Martin.

This is a prime example of the island type dog.



The attitude towards dog ownership there (and animal ownership in general) is very different than the US. Many animals are semi-owned. They wander the streets/beaches and know where they get handouts. There is definitely a local type of dog. I know on the Bahamas they call them 'potstickers'. The dogs on St Martin and Anguila are generally this shape- medium, small dropped ears, curved tail, and short coat. They generally come in tan and gold colors, sometimes they're white or black or black and tan. I just thought it was fascinating the consistency they had. Every now and then you'd see a purebred dog owned by foreign people that had settled on St Martin. We saw two chihuahuas, two yorkies and a golden all owned by french settlers there. We also saw one designer dog yorkiepoo. They all looked insanely out of place there.

Anyways, this dog resided in Grand Case.



This one was a bit unusual for a St Martin dog. Much more spitzy than the rest.



This one was actually tethered in a back yard and officially 'owned' unlike many. There have been a lot of improvements recently for the welfare of the island dogs thanks to a recently made animal welfare foundation there.

Every beach has a sign up like this:



I think it's hilarious because a) they use a german shepherd as the picture and you will find nothing remotely like a german shepherd on the island, and b) I have never ever seen a beach on the island without at least one dog on it. Typically there is a dog that lives at every beach plus everyone brings their dogs to the beach. It was amazing to me because I never once saw a dog that was aggressive or out of control like you do here. They wander and just chill all the time. They'll play down the beach and never bother the people.

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Here was the dog from 'our beach'. The beach club we stayed at has two beaches of it's own and this was the dog:



Hard life? She was also the only fat dog I saw on the island. I couldn't figure out who exactly 'owned' her, but I think she belonged to a worker at the hotel. She was very sweet and would come up and just lean on my leg for scratches.



Doing her job overseeing the beach. She patrolled the beaches every day and would occasionally venture to visit the beach dogs of the neighboring beaches.

My favorite of her:



The beaches also tend to have resident cats. They spend their days hunting lizards and lounging.

We had two, but I only managed pictures of one. How a Caribbean cat does it:



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The livestock also roams- cattle, donkeys, chickens, and goats are all over the streets at times. They're hardly ever fenced in. This is the only real decent livestock shot I got though:



Then there's the lizards. There are loads of lizards. My favorites were the iguanas who are the most brilliant green I've ever seen. I've never seen a captive iguana so beautiful. I wish I'd gotten pics.







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And the birds...

Creepy birds:



Pretty birds:



And...

and confused birds:



This guy tried to woo all the doves he saw. He was the only pigeon we saw on that side of the island the whole trip. I made the mistake of feeding him doritos then he stalked me wherever I went for the whole week. I called him Peppy.



Iz ur stalker

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Great pics and commentary, Laurelin! Looks like a really amazing trip :)

Funny how those dogs have much better lives than those here in terms of fulfillment...if they can survive it.
 

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Very cool photos and commentary! I love to hear about treatment of animals in other places.

Did you visit the beach by the airport? That was always a favorite with my ex-boyfriend (a pilot).
 

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Thanks for the very interesting post!
 

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Very cool photos and commentary! I love to hear about treatment of animals in other places.

Did you visit the beach by the airport? That was always a favorite with my ex-boyfriend (a pilot).
We actually stayed on Grand Case which is the beach you see with the planes flying right over it all the time. There's two airports on the island, one on the dutch side (Juliana) and one on the French side (Grand Case). We've always stayed on the French side, it's a bit less touristy. The Dutch side is where the cruise ships come in and the casinos are.

Here's a pic I took of a small plane landing at Grand Case



and here's a pic of Juliana:

 

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It's sort of refreshing to see dogs living with a bit more independence. I can't imagine a happier life than that of a beach dog. I know Dexter would be fulfilled.
 

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It's sort of refreshing to see dogs living with a bit more independence. I can't imagine a happier life than that of a beach dog. I know Dexter would be fulfilled.
It is nice in many ways and I wish our dogs could have some of their freedom. I wish our dogs were as friendly and well socialized and as accepted everywhere. I do think it is easy to romanticize, though. As Shaina said, though the dogs do have to survive it and vet care is not nearly as prevalent as it is here. Things have gotten a lot better in those regards over the years.

The people there really do try with what they have. They care about their dogs, but there is a lot of poverty in the area. Still, I never saw a dog that looked like it had been neglected at all in any of my trips to St Martin over the years. Their idea of 'dog care' though is different than here. With the exception of the few toy dogs owned by the Europeans you won't find an indoor dog on the island. Most aren't tethered or kept in a fence at all. The roads are much different there so there is a lot less of a chance of them getting run over than they are here. Most people feed their dog whatever is left of their own dinner. The ones around Grand Case tend to go down to the lolos where they're fed spare ribs or they seem to belong to a beach area with a beach bar where they're fed. The one at our beach would get a lot of the scraps from the restaurant. (Which is why I think she was rather tubby)

It's very interesting to see the cultural differences. They definitely don't have the vet care we do, but it's interesting how none of the dogs have the behavior problems I see here. They do live very fulfilled lives with loads of human companionship. Some of the islands have terrible dog overpopulation problems, but St Martin isn't too bad, most dogs have an 'owner' or two. There's maybe a dog every couple of blocks, whereas other islands I've been on will have packs roaming the beaches. Luckily animal welfare groups and other charities do raise money to help with dog/animal care costs and help with spaying and neutering some of the dogs. Team goldendog (Team Goldendog: Home Page) and the St Martin Animal Welfare Foundation have been doing that for the island. I think goldendog has donated over $15,000 to island dog care since 2004.
 

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Oh yes, don't get me wrong... it's no dream out there, but I'm certainly glad some care is being given to them health-wise.
 
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