This is my home at the bottom of Caldera Bandama. It’s beautiful isn’t it? So quiet and peaceful without any roads. People come from all over the world to visit my volcano and wander through the pathways of long ago forgotten crop fields. The tiny town of Bandama sits up there along the ridge with only a couple dozen houses. I live down here with my master and my brother. Most people who visit don’t know that I’m here. The names Pete, by the way. A lady gave me that name, I think she liked me. She took pictures of me.
Visitors wander the pathway that goes the whole way around the ridge of my volcano, I see them up there taking pictures. I bet the view from up there is amazing, you can probably even see the ocean. I watch them as they make their way down along the bumpy pathway to the green fields that surround my home.
Sometimes the visitors bring a picnic and sit beneath the big tree that sits behind my home. The children like to pick flowers and play games. No one seems to notice me.
I live in an old abandoned house, I’ve heard people call it a “ruin” but I’m not sure what that means. The oldest part of the house has no roof and it has grass growing on the floor. But my room has a roof and the floor is gravel. My room used to have a second door that goes into the old part, but my master put concrete blocks to cover the door. When people visit the old part of the house I sometimes get scared. I can’t see them but I can hear them on the other side of the closed doorway. I move away from that door and my chain rattles, it seems to scare them away. Sometimes people think that the noise from my chain is from a ghost.
The curious people find me though. They wander around the back of the abandoned house, through the over grown weeds. I peek at them through my doorway. I wish they would love me. Sometimes I see the other visitors who bring their dogs with them down into the volcano, they’re so nice to their dogs. I don’t know what that’s like. No one ever pets me. My master makes sure I have food and a roof over my head, but I wonder if there could be more to being a dog.
My chain is barely long enough for me to stand outside of my doorway. I can’t reach the grass that I long to play in. My brother is so lucky. His home is just over there, to the left, in the grass under the shade of the trees. I’m not sure if he has a roof over his head but he barks a lot to let me know he’s still over there even though I can’t see him.
My master sometimes yells at people when he sees they have found me. I’m not sure why he does this. I think he wants to make sure that I stay here with him in this beautiful volcano. I secretly hope that the visitors find me.
I don’t know why I wish the visitors would find me. I hope they would give me a longer leash and a collar that wasn’t so heavy and hard to wear. I hope someone would tell my master that I could be his best friend. I don’t know if I want to leave this place though, it’s so beautiful here. I hope you think it’s beautiful too!
Pete (the dog)
Note from Jill: I decided to tell this story from the dog’s point of view. I was completely taken by this dog and had no idea what to do with what I was witnessing. Even though the dog appeared healthy, he was very much neglected. His ridiculously short and heavy chain was chaffing the fur off his neck as he trembled when I tried to get close. He would not let me get close to him, as I approached he would shy away back into the dark doorway of his home and the second I started to walk away, he came out to the end of his chain to try and smell me while I was far away.
I believe that I was yelled at by an old man from the house beside the ruins. He appeared to live there since he had a fully functioning garden. I don’t speak Spanish so I am really unsure of what I was hearing, so I felt it was best that I left. I know there was a second dog because he barked a lot, but we couldn’t see him through the trees and bushes.
The next day I contacted a local animal rescue foundation on Gran Canaria to see what could be done. Basically, they were sympathetic of the situation and said that the island is decades behind the mainland when it comes to animal welfare. They offered no suggestions or help in regards to this dog, but informed me that they have been teaching animal welfare in the schools for over a decade and that the situation is improving.
What would you have done in this situation? Have you seen something similar?