Being a dog person, one of the hardest parts of going on vacation is not having Fred, our female goldendoodle, to love on. When we arrived at our bungalow, Peter, the owner of HareSwiss where we are staying, introduced us to Ringo. Ringo is a large well-muscled golden retriever mix. Although he sports a variety of scars indicating he has been in his fair share of doggie battles, his brown eyes exude his gentle, happy nature. During our introductions, Peter went over the human-to-canine rules of etiquette. Ringo was not to come up on the porch with us, definitely was not allowed inside the bungalow and we were not to feed Ringo any human food, no matter how beseechingly he looked at us with his big brown doggie eyes.
Our first night on the island, Dave and I went to a restaurant sitting on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. We were treated to wonderful slipper lobsters and a glorious sunset. On our ride back to the bungalow, we both commented on how dark the night can be with no streetlights to guide your way. We parked our car at the bottom of the slight incline to the bungalows. Suddenly we could hear something barreling through the darkness at us. Once again I was reminded that I have no fight or flight instinct. If I was an animal I would most likely be a pigmy fainting goat. When I get scared, I basically just stand stock still waiting to see what exactly is going to happen next. To my utter relief, Ringo came bounding out of the dark to meet us with his cute little doggie smile on and his tail wagging happily. As we cautiously made our way through the dark to the bungalow, Ringo kept trying to block our path. Suddenly he reached out and took my arm in his mouth. Okay, even if I am a huge doggie person, having a strange dog from a strange island clamp down on my left arm like a vise grip was a bit disconcerting. It would be terrible if my arm were to be torn from my body by Ringo, the serial arm-stealing island dog, only to be identified days later by my golden wedding bands. In an effort to save myself from a one armed future, I began talking to Ringo in a soothing voice, keeping up an inane blither of babble about what a cute little puppy he was and how happy I was to see him too in the hopes that he would realize I was not a would-be intruder but a guest of HareSwiss, and a fairly nice one at that. Soon it became apparent that my arm was not in danger of being ripped from my body and carried off into the Rapa Nui darkness. Just like any gentleman, Ringo was taking my hand to lead me safely through the dark to our bungalow door.
Every day we watched from our porch as Ringo made his rounds securing the perimeter of the property. He would diligently go about peeing on every blade of grass some wild dog may have gotten to in the night while he was sleeping. Dave and I like to sit on our porch into the wee hours of the morning sipping cold beer and discussing all the wonders we had seen that day. It never fails that Ringo comes for a visit. Knowing full well he is not supposed to come up onto the porch he puts one paw on the tiles looking at us to see our reaction. Slowly but surely he adds his second paw, then the third until finally he is standing on the porch. No matter how many times we tell him he’s not allowed on the porch he stays there putting paws in our laps or leaning his body up against ours until we give him his fill of doggie love and attention. If he hears Peter coming out of the house he will jump off the porch with a who me? I wasn’t on the porch look on his face.
One night, sitting on the porch we heard Ringo coming around the side of the bungalow. Instead of coming right up on the porch he put his head down and let out a ferocious growl. Dave and I sat up a little straighter in our chairs and peered into the total darkness. Just because you know that you are on an island with an extremely low crime rate, no vicious nocturnal animals and no slithering snakes doesn’t mean that you don’t get a bit concerned when a dog growls his “I’m going to eat you” growl. Ringo ran out into the night and was swallowed up in the darkness. We could hear him growling at something. A few seconds later we heard the pounding of hooves and a high pitched whinny heading for the street. Ringo pranced back to us proud as a peacock. He had saved us from the horses that went bump in the night. For the next hour or so Ringo camped out in front of our bungalow, laying in the grass facing the street on full alert for any further intruders. I slept better that night knowing that Ringo was the head of bungalow security.