Posts Tagged ‘Olie’


On May 27, 2010 a small chocolate lab puppy was smuggled into Haiti and given to Jillian and I, thus starting the year of the Brown Dog.  The year was a tumultuous one, marked by an accidental poisoning, a mouth-stick injury, and ending with a nasty case of hook worm.  But the year did not end in vain.  The Brown Dog, better known as Olie, took a voyage to a distance land known as Connecticut.  There he found land to run and play, but was forced to battle a vicious adversary, aptly named Jack “Attack”, in an effort to allow him to call the land his home.


The battle lasted for days, with only brief breaks for naps, or a bowl of kibble.  Day and night the two fought, defending their ground like the Hatfields and McCoys.  Only when the sun set would they rest (with one eye open, of course), but when the day broke, the fighting began again.  Even when the winter weather brought inches of snow, the two did not tire, and the battle continued into the cold winter tundra…






But in the end battle fatigue set in and the war ended.  The two shook paws and accepted the terms set forth by the Geneva convention: a war with no purpose cannot last forever.  They trotted indoors and for the first time were able to rest with both eyes closed, and the townspeople were able to walk the streets without having to constantly listen for the rumbling of puppy paws in the distance.



But while one war was ending in Connecticut, another was brewing back in Haiti.  Having waited long enough in the pregnant tummy of Beatrice for 8 weeks, a turd sized ball of fur exploded into the world set on leaving a path of death and destruction in its wake.  The turd was named Bumble Bea…


When we returned to Haiti after the Christmas break, there were rumors on the street that such a vicious creature had entered the world.  In a country rife with political turmoil and ex-dictators, the last thing Haiti needed was a ruthless animal trolling the streets in search of tiny children to prey on.  Unfortunately the rumors were true, and on the eve of the country’s independence day, the creature was carried by its mother into our house and placed into an empty cardboard box in our closet.  The country was independent no more…



The reign of terror began immediately, with a shrill meow that seemed to penetrate the deepest caverns of your ears at the most inopportune times.  The cries began early in the morning, and ended never, leaving those within a 5 mile radius with nothing but groggy days, and sleepless nights.  And once the creature gained enough strength to escape the cardboard box that was imprisoning it, we knew the end was near.


Soon the creature began recklessly running around the house, and attacking enemies that weren’t there.  “She was soooo cute!”, explained Jillian after being released from the hospital where they had attended to her kitten-attack wounds, “Who would have ever thought she could be so vicious?”  Someone had to reign the kitten in, someone had to step-up and take on the beast.  It was a call heard around the world, and Beatrice decided to answer it.


For Beatrice the decision was easy.  Bumble Bea had been eating her food, and the constant nursing was leaving her worn down and unable to kill the dozens of geckos that she is required to kill and then dump on the floor in our house (in an effort to meet a self-imposed quota).  The kitten had also begun running away in the middle of the night, hiding from Beatrice and leaving an already hungry mother, terrified.  This had to stop, this had gone too far…




While it appeared that Beatrice had Bumble Bea pinned and defeated, the kitten quickly twisted away, bat Beatrice in the face, and then ran away.  Bumble Bea had won the battle, but not the war…

The two began fighting at almost every chance they got.  Ruthlessly wrestling each other the ground, the two made Wrestle Mania look like an episode of Winnie the Pooh.  But eventually they also realized the harsh realities of war, and much like the computer in the 1983 techno thriller “War Games”, they looked at all the possible outcomes of the war continuing, and found that in every scenario everyone would fall victim if the fighting did not end.  Thus, they walked inside, shared a plate of Fancy Feast, and then fell asleep, snuggling like a pair who had just found love.


For us, the entrance of Bumble Bea has made the fact that Olie is back in the States much easier to handle.  We brought Olie to Connecticut during Christmas break because of a number of factors, and left him there to frolic with Jack and Jillian’s parents (wow, Jack and Jill, I just realized that…) until we figure out our next move.  When we came back to Haiti there was a kitten waiting there for us, and we have (inconveniently) become rather attached to it.  But because our landlady’s 4 year-old daughter experienced the kitten being born, she wants it, so we will be handing Bumble Bea to her rightful owner later today.

It’s amazing how an animal like Olie or Bumble Bea can have such a positive impact on your life.  The two have given us solace on hard days, and have always been a welcoming friend to come home to.  For me, I’m just worried that I will no longer have anything cute to take pictures of any more, and I know for Jillian, not having Olie around has really dealt her a blow.  But one of these days we will be reunited with our beloved Oloffson, and Bumble Bea will fall in love with her new owner (a 4 year-old who will manhandle her and change her name every week according to how she’s feeling), and the world will go on.  It’s just a bummer that, for now, the wars won’t be fought at home, with us.


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A Very Olie Christmas


One of the bummers about living in Haiti is that the classic Christmas jingle “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” is never really true here.  Sure they have a few buildings with decorations and there are French Christmas carols on the radio, but the weather stays pretty much exactly the same, there are no malls in which you can burn away your savings, and you aren’t constantly berated by Christmas ads on TV (we don’t have one anyways).  While that may sound incredibly materialistic, it’s kind of a total drag to not be totally eviscerated by Christmas joy come December.

So to compensate for the lack of Christmas spirit, we’ve taken some steps to make up for it.  For instance, the picture above is a (somewhat) failed attempt to get a Santa hat on Olie.  All he wanted to do was chew on it, so the only way to pummel the Christmas spirit into this puppy was to cover his entire head with the hat.  That will teach him to be jolly!


Secondly, because of deforestation in Haiti (I’m assuming), they don’t sell Christmas trees here.  As an alternative you can buy a bunch of branches which are spray-painted white and then held together by cement in a used paint can (no joke).  They sell these on the side of the road for $10 a pop, and if you can get past the paint fumes while you decorate, they light up quite nicely.



Thirdly, to make sure that you enter our house with the maximum amount of Christmas cheer, we’ve wrapped the door with some ridiculously bright LED lights and put up a bouquet of eucalyptus and tiny red berries.  It gives a Christmas vibe, and at the same time smells pretty good when you walk in the door.  We got the eucalyptus and berries at the flower market in Petionville, and the lights came from the States due to an incredible amount of foresight on the part of yours truly.


All of this coupled with about two dozen recently downloaded Christmas songs on iTunes equals what can only be considered a Haitian Christmas wonderland.  And while we have done our best to get in the Christmas mood here, in the end, Jillian and I are actually heading to Connecticut for Christmas, and won’t actually be spending it in Haiti.  We are in desperate need of a break, and have moved our tickets to the 19th so that we can avoid any craziness that may ensue after the final elections results are scheduled to be announced on the 20th.  Olie will be coming with us and will hopefully experience snow for the first time in his short puppy life.  Don’t worry, there will be pictures…

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays tout moun!

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While the past couple of weeks have been tough, sometimes it takes an American holiday like Thanksgiving to remind us just how much we have to be thankful for.  We have each other, we have Olie, we have our health, and we have great friends and family who we miss dearly.  To drown the sorrow we have because we won’t be spending the holiday at home, we’ll be heading over to a friend’s apartment this evening for an all-out ex-pat Thanksgiving feast.  We will be contributing candied yams and party potatoes, and afterwards will probably hire someone with a wheelbarrow to carry us home.   Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

P.S. If you have never experienced party potatoes before, you must (MUST!) go to your nearest grocery store and get the ingredients so that they can help contribute to your turkey-induced coma.  They are freakin’ delicious (and very bad for you). The recipe is here.

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SETTING: While Jillian and I watch an episode of Glee on Jillian’s computer, Olie rolls over, and shows us his junk.

OLIE: Guys! Check it out!!!
JILLIAN: Put it away, dude!
OLIE: Haha, no way!!!  Beatrice! Come over here!  Check it out!!!
Beatrice walks over to Olie and bats him in the face with her razor sharp claws…
OLIE: Woah!!! Not cool!  Wait, does that mean you want to play with me?

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While it’s obviously clear by the picture above that Olie has been taking the past few weeks to sleep away the days, Jillian and I have been incredibly busy with work, and friends, and work, and work.  We have a lot to catch up on, so bear with me and I’ll show you what we, and Haiti, have been up to.

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SETTING: While sitting outside on the porch, Olie interrupts what was a nice, relaxing afternoon.

OLIE: Dude!  Check out how wide I can open my mouth!!!
ME (unimpressed): Wow…way to go buddy…
OLIE: But seriously! It’s crazy!!!  And look how long my tongue is! How long is your tongue?!
ME: Woah, you do have a HUGE tongue.  Mine is not as big as that…
OLIE: I know, right?!  Your tongue sucks!
ME: Dude, why do you have to say things like that?
OLIE: Because I’m a puppy!  Have you seen how long my tail is…..

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SETTING: While washing the dishes, I suddenly get the urge to listen to some tunes to help pass the time.

Me: Olie, could you turn on the music on my computer?
Olie: Dude, I’m tired, do it yourself.
Me: You’re tired!? You haven’t done anything today, in fact, you ate your lunch sitting down.
Olie: Woah! Chill out man, I’ve been crazy busy.  I chewed on that rope toy you gave me for like 20 minutes straight, then I went outside to pee.  I’m exhausted.
Me: You know that doesn’t count, so would you please just get up and turn on the music?
Olie: Would you feed me a second lunch?
Me: Negative, that’s definitely not going to happen.
Olie: Then I’m afraid you will be washing the dishes in silence, amigo.  I’ve got some napping to do.

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