Saturday, July 21, 2012

Need an amazing photographer in Belize? Look no further...

Here are two fantastic photos from our family photo shoot that we won in the Saga silent auction last fall! Money well spent! Conch Creative is absolutely THE wedding photographer in Belize so if you're getting married in Belize and need the perfect photographer look no further. If you want some fun family photos she clearly can do that as well!

I asked Maya for a fun photo that we could use for the Michigan State Spartan Media guide...

it doesn't get any more FUN that this!! Coconut football!!

and your traditional but great family shot!

Check out Conch Creative but book early...she fills up fast!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A positive update and hopeful promise towards compassion

I am so happy to report that at the moment, the dog eradication by strychnine poisoning has been ceased and the Mayor and the president of the Saga Humane Society in Belize have met and come to an agreement. Here is a recent forum post from the Saga President:

"After a 90 minute meeting with the mayor today.....I want to report that there should be no repeat of the dog eradication by poisoning that we saw last week. On Thursday of this week....Reef TV will host the mayor and Peter of SPAH and myself for an announcement on how we intend to go forward with controlling the companion animal population. 

If you have a roaming dog or cat, you may want to contain your pet as roundups and humane euthanasia are to be scheduled as an alternative. I am the last person on this island that wants to destroy a healthy dog or cat.....but the alternative is a death for them in a painful manner. The delivery system we will use will consist of a sedative to put the animal to sleep and allow them to ease into death.

I am going to need financial help from everyone who loves our companion animals.....please open your hearts and checkbook to help. We are having a cook off Wednesday nite at Wet Willies and will have a donation box set aside just for this. Thank you."

and this just posted this morning;

"Details will be forthcoming as we plan a big drive to let the community know what we are doing.....the basics are that we will be conducting a roundup at least one or two nites a week.....the dogs and cats......yes cats are included....will be held at Ft. Dog and the clinic and processed. All captures will be held a minimum of 3 days to allow owners to claim them..... only after the animal is altered and vaccinated and a fee paid!! Unclaimed captures will be evaluated as to health and adoptability and may be kept longer if possible to find them a good home. All captures will be photographed and documented. Please alert everyone you can to keep their animals at home and off the streets.....this will begin shortly after months end."

I am very happy that Saga has worked with the mayor towards a positive and humane outcome. Please visit the Saga page to stay in the loop with the  information as it's posted.

And If you are able to please donate and help these animals by helping Saga! They have a US tax i.d. number and your donation is fully deductible on your US tax return!

scroll to the bottom for their Paypal account.

The island dogs and cats thank you!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Apparently it's not just the stray dogs that are getting poisoned

Just saw this on Facebook and it broke my heart terribly...

about an hour ago 

Sultana you are very much missed. Thanks Danny, She was nursing eight puppies. My dog and her puppies were being cared for by the staff at the Boat Yard and was on the property when she was poisoned.

Danny would be the Mayor that decided to go out and do this without warning in the dead of night. His dog was being cared for at the boat yard while he was away on business. They are hoping to save some of the puppies but Mama is gone after an undoubtedly horrific and painful death.

PLEASE email the town council and demand that they stop this practice FOREVER!!! The local humane society has already said they would help! If they had done this properly in the first place no one would have lost their beloved pets.

Yeah...she really looks like a vicious stray dog doesn't she? Terribly tragic, sad and ultimately avoidable.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dog Poisoning: WAKE UP Belize and join the rest of us in the 21st Century!

I am disheartened to write this entry, especially after such a wonderful 2 weeks in our favorite place on earth. If you've read my blog at all you will remember reading about local dogs that would visit us at our condo. These dogs for the most part have homes and owners but a dogs life in Belize is very different than in the US. Especially now that the Belizean government has decided to wage war on dogs as though they are rats or other rodents. They have undertaken an "eradication" process using meatballs tainted with Strychnine. Here's the run down on strychnine via Wikipedia;

Ten to twenty minutes after exposure, the body's muscles begin to spasm, starting with the head and neck in the form of trismus and risus sardonicus. The spasms then spread to every muscle in the body, with nearly continuous convulsions, and get worse at the slightest stimulus. The convulsions progress, increasing in intensity and frequency until the backbone arches continually. Convulsions lead to lactic acidosishyperthermia and rhabdomyolysis. These are followed by postictal depression. Death comes from asphyxiation caused by paralysis of the neural pathways that control breathing, or by exhaustion from the convulsions. The subject dies within 2–3 hours after exposure.

Are you as repulsed as I am? I certainly hope you are. Despite more than 1000 signatures on a petition to stop the poisoning of dogs on the island, the San Pedro Town Council and it's Mayor Daniel Guerrero decided to ignore the voices of it's people - those people who elected them - and impart their dictatorship and barbaric ways. They went out in the night, around 2 am when the people slept, like the criminals they are and poisoned any dogs they saw including 2 dogs that were in the yard of their owners.

Dogs like this;

and this

and this

These dogs all have homes but people in Belize let their dogs run loose during the day. Why not start with leash laws and picking up loose dogs and delivering to a pound where the owner is ticketed for having the dog loose? If no one claims the dog within a week then humanely euthanize the dog. Saga Humane society has already offered to euthanize them in a humane way if no other alternatives are available and no one adopts them. Saga has offered to help with this but the town council has ignored them. Think of the $$ that could be earned towards the spay/neuter program if an owner who wants their dog back must pay a fine? There ARE other ways! Start looking for humane and reasonable solutions!

Here is the news release in the San Pedro Sun today - I might add that the residents that I have spoken to (there are many) had no idea whatsoever that this was to take place.

Are you a tourist that would elect NOT to return to a vacation spot simply because you stepped in dog poop? I'm certainly not! But I'd elect not to return because of the inhumane practice of poisoning and killing dogs!

If you are as disgusted as I am then please take the time to email the San Pedro Town Council at 

This is my letter; 

Dear San Pedro Town Council,

I am writing with complete disgust at your tactics last night involving the merciless and inhumane killing of dogs on the island. We are in the 21st century not in the dark ages! You continue to represent yourself as a third world country at every turn when other options are available to you. Are you aware that the act that you perpetrated last night on these helpless dogs is a CRIME in the US for which you would have been arrested, convicted and put in JAIL?!

To those of you who think this won't affect tourism and money into your economy let me give you a reality check. We have been coming to San Pedro for over 15 years...absolutely love this island, it's people and it's DOGS! We brought back one of our 3 dogs from Saga 2 years ago and contribute as much as we can to this wonderful group. It's also my understanding that Saga has been trying to work with the SPTC in assisting with stray dogs in a humane way. I was also told by a few of your residents that a petition was sent around that collected more than 1000 signatures against the poisoning of dogs on the island. You obviously chose to ignore the will of the people. Is this how you run your government? As a dictatorship rather than a democracy?!

My husband and I just returned from an annual 2 week stay during which time we looked at several very nice property developments to buy for retirement. Not only would our US $$ go into your economy with development and real estate but also the $$ we would spend every year living 4-6 months in your town patronizing your local restaurants, grocery stores, dive shops, tours etc. In light of this barbaric crime (in the US poisoning or harming dogs, stray or otherwise is a CRIME) we feel it would not be in our best interests to purchase property here where there seems to be little in the ways of laws and civility for people as well as dogs. I am referring also to the wave of crimes and burglaries that the police seemingly ignore. I feel as though your government is corrupt and your police force is even more so. The recent crime wave seems to only be perpetrated on expats and tourists and the police seem to care less.

We are now planning at looking at investing in our retirement beach house in coastal Carolina rather than Belize. Let me leave you with this, if when visiting your island a tourist were to step in a pile of dog poo, I can guarantee you there isn't a tourist out there that would condone you poisoning that dog for the "crime" of relieving himself. Stepping in a pile of dog feces won't keep me from returning to your island but your clear lack of humanity and the poisoning of dogs as a result will certainly keep me from coming back. This is all very sad but no way do I want to live in a society that condones this sort of act and runs any way it sees fit regardless of laws.

PLease know that I will be posting this letter on my blog, on Trip Advisor, to my friends that have joined us in Belize or who were planning to as well as any other means of social media that I can until this barbaric practice comes to an end.

If you are as disgusted and incensed as I am please email the town council. If it would affect your decision to visit this island then be sure to write that as well. 

Otherwise this is what we can continue to expect to see:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Our final days in our Belizean paradise

Well our 2 week trip had to come to an end sooner or later. This is the one place that we come to again and again and every time I feel a pain in my heart when we leave. We have every intention of finding retirement property here and spending 4-6 months a year here when we retire. But sadly retirement is still a ways off so until then we have to enjoy our 2 weeks here every year or at the very least every other.

Both of the kids finished up dive instruction in the amazing and capable hands of Junior Tillet from Scuba School Beize. If you're headed to Ambergris Caye and want a top notch guy to dive with or want Padi scuba instruction, he's your guy. Jennifer completed her Jr. Open Water certification and loved diving after that! Drew finished his advanced open water and is looking to do Rescue Diver next. The diving here is fantastic!

We made sure that our last couple of dinners here were memorable! This was taken on our last night at Wild Mango's...our favorite restaurant for lunch and dinner

we ordered the seasoned onion rings which were amazing!! Wish I knew what they put on em but man they were good!!

Wish I could remember what this dish was that Tommy ordered with coconut rice but was it ever good!

I ordered the caribbean grouper which was done in a mango and fruit salsa and fantastic!

when we got home one of our many island dogs was there to greet us so of course we fed her!

she was very appreciative!

and Mango (our Saga dog from Belize) had a certain relative visit us several times. He was also the beneficiary of a few meals. He must be at least a cousin or an Uncle!

Sweet and Cute!

Here's our Mango! Can't get over the resemblance!

Our final night catching up with friends from Caribbean Villas! Hard to say goodbye to the people and the dogs of this great island but we will be back as soon as we can!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Eating our way through San Pedro

Well one of the things we love to do besides diving and relaxing is EATING! We love checking out the different restaurants here...the locals faves are usually the best bet. Over the years I've made a lot of friends down here so usually gravitate towards their favorite haunts.

The ever amazing photographer Maya Papovic from Conch Creative took a fabulous family photo shoot of us on the beach this week and I picked her brain about some of her favorite places to eat. We won the photo shoot in the Saga Humane Society silent auction and let me tell you boy did we get our money's worth! Photos to follow as soon as we get them but be sure to check out Conch Creative's website if you're looking for a wedding or family photographer. She is simply amazing!

In any case, she loves some of the same places that we do and our newly discovered favorite restaurant this year is without a doubt El Fogon which I blogged about in an earlier post. It is bar none the two best dinners we've had so far! I had the seafood creole and coconut rice and my family had the Belizean chicken which had an amazing flavor!

Wild Mango's still tops the list of favorites but we prefer their lunch menu over dinner. Be sure to make reservations if you want to have dinner there.

we went to Wild Mango's for a celebration lunch after Jennifer completed her Padi Open water certification

you can't beat the ambiance and the view. A little tin roof covered porch with swaying palms right in front directly on the beach

Kids had giant smoothies!

Hoisting her celebration smoothie! Does she look like an official diver now?!!

Tommy had a fabulous mojito and I had a Belizean favorite, the panty ripper!

I'm really annoyed that I didn't take pics of the food but let me tell you the Mango's Mongo burrito is AMAZING and HUGE!! You must try it but go hungry!

I had the snapper tacos which were outstanding and I saw someone get an order of onion rings that looked so good that we ordered them as well. I don't know what kind of seasoning was used on them but I think they rank among the best if not absolute best I've ever had!!

Off to El Fogon last night for dinner for a second time so Tommy could try it out. It was met with high praise from my fuss budget husband!!

the menu is printed up on regular printer paper...nothing fancy here just great food!
The prices all include appetizer and dessert

a wood fired Belizean oven sits at the end of the palapa roof

Do be sure to check this place out. There's a reason is rated so high on Trip Advisor!

We are trying out a new place to us tonight...Aji's Tapas bar. Heard a lot about it so we're making the trek north to check it out!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Newly Certified Jr. Open Water Diver!

Well Jennifer is now a fully certified Junior Open Water diver! She finished her last check out dive today with Junior from Scuba School Belize with a backroll entry off the boat into 6 foot swells and a pretty big nurse shark swimming around her as she finished her last 2 skills which was to remove and replace her mask, and navigate a reciprocal heading. At the end, Drew and I went to 100 feet for his deep dive on his advanced cerification and we were greeted up close and personally by this nice and friendly nurse shark who wanted to say hello...

These videos were taken on our Go Pro which we've been very pleased with. I will upload the video of Jennifer as soon as we edit it so it's a bit shorter and can upload to the blog.

OK so we now have a clipped version of her final skill which is to remove and replace her mask while at depth. Looks and sounds easy enough but it is the scariest of skills to do. It involves taking off your mask entirely, closing your eyes and breathing through your regulator then putting the mask back on and clearing out the water by blowing air out through your nose. Easy enough right?! For Jen it certainly seemed to be! She's a natural just like the rest of the family!

We are now a fully certified dive family!! Very cool!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Caye Caulker lobsterfest and the animals of Belize

So we decided to take the water taxi yesterday to Caye Caulker for their Lobster Fest. I like the Caye Caulker Lobster Fest a bit better than the block party in San Pedro as it's much more low key and you can get a huge lobster off the grill for next to nothing. I wish I had tried the Coconut curry Lobster they were hawking for 10 bucks. That's 10 Belize folks which is $5 US!! But instead I went for the huge lobster in garlic butter and it did not disappoint.

downtown Caye Caulker

Mmmmmm...lobsters and chicken on the grill

the tents at lobster fest

the kids tried on some dreadlock hats!

Typical menu... YUM!

Grill after grill after grill!!

Here's my dinner!

Tommy opted for BBQ lobster. Personally I think that's just wrong! Haha!

HUGE lobsters for cheap!

We are a huge animal loving family and actually brought our sweet puppy back from San Pedro 2 years ago. She came from SAGA, the humane society in San Pedro. We saw this version of a humane society yesterday in Caye Caulker. Cats and dogs living in harmony here! HA! They were all happy for a bit of attention and some treats.

Here's Saga in San Pedro. Jen volunteered there nearly every day on our last trip which is when she begged for our cute Mango! We named her after our favorite restaurant in San Pedro... Wild Mango's! Be sure to check it out!

Here she is at Saga with Mango 2 years ago...

How could we say no to that face?!!

and here she is at home living the life now!

She is such a beautiful and sweet girl. We are so happy we brought her home!

If you want to help an island dog then please don't hesitate to adopt a "potlicker" from Saga! We brought all sorts of goodies, dog and cat toys and supplies down for them and try to donate whenever we can. If you have dogs at home and are lonely for them then the older dogs at "Fort Dog" would love it if you took them out for a walk. Saga appreciates the help! Please consider donating to this very worthwhile Humane Society. They do so much for the island animals!