Suzan: Saba's own SPCA!Remember when Joel & I experimented with having a puppy for the weekend? In that post, I had mentioned the Saba SPCA and promised to write about it. Now, keep in mind that we didn’t know Saba had an SPCA – we just stumbled across it, like all other things we learn on this island! I suppose it’s not too hard to stumble across things or people on a 5 square-mile island with only about 1400 inhabitants, but you’d be surprised.

Nothing To Do?
In fact, I’m always surprised about what we don’t know about Saba, even after two years of owning a cottage here and several months of living here. It’s funny how when we come from cities and bigger places, we think there will be nothing to do in small, remote islands. I know I felt that way before coming to Saba. And my colleges in my corporate job felt that way too, based on the advice to “bring lots of books” that I got from countless colleagues. And lots of books I brought on that first trip. I only had time to finish the one I was more than halfway through.

What I found was a rich and seemingly endless flow of activities. Not so much of the organized things we read about in vacation brochures, but experiential activities, where you walk away having learned something. It could be something about an interesting local, tourist or medical student you met. Or perhaps something you learned about yourself after encountering a glimpse of a perspective turned inside out. And I had many of those turned inside-out perspectives on that first trip, which is why I think I fell in love with the island.

Unexpected & Overlooked
I had once placed so much value on having everything in it’s place and structured, on evidence-based conclusions and on the excitement of a fast-paced, have-it-all or get-it-all lifestyle. And that perspective was turned inside out as I saw the beauty of untouched simplicity. Where stopping to talk to a neighbor, the owner of the grocery store or the taxi driver was enough to fill my heart with joy. Where smelling the scent of Eddie’s Tuesday & Friday chicken barbecue as it snaked it’s way up the street reminded me of the passing days. Where saying hello to strangers told me a friend was soon to be made. In this place, life’s excitement comes from the unexpected joys that are often overlooked in the “land of plenty” that I came from. They are there, I’m sure, but life moved too quickly for me to notice them.

Adults in Child-like Glee
Susanna: Saba's own SPCA!of course, a collective agreement that island time rules, certainly promotes the discovery of these unexpected joys. Like when Joel and I happened upon Suzan on our way to Brigadoon for the Sea Saba slide show. She was hard to miss – surrounded by three excited dogs, not sure whether to leap in the lap of Suzan, Travis or Vivi. What made them stand out, above the usual cute dog-walking trio, was that Suzan, Travis and Vivi had all plopped down on the sidewalk to fully take in this joyful doggie-dance. That’s three people near, in and well over their 30’s, sitting on the sidewalk, welcoming the wet noses and tongues, the jumping from person to person – with the uninhibited smiles of children.

And of course, this is not a scene one can walk by without stopping to join in on the fun! This is when we met Mini, our weekend visitor, along with Bunny, another rescue dog. Leading the pack, we met Suzan, with her dog, Daisy. Suzan explained that she started the SPCA two years ago, with Daisy as the rescue dog & instigator. It was the rescue of Daisy that got Suzan started on her quest for funding from the Netherlands and her subsequent rescue and education efforts.

The SPCA in A Saban Cottage
Joel and I immediately hit it off with Suzan, enjoying her tell-it-like-it-is style and her love of animals. We learned that she and Daisy run the SPCA from her beautiful little cottage in Windwardside, not far from Brigadoon. Suzan, originally from Canada, is working to educate the island on humane treatment of animals, including spaying and neutering of animals. Occasionally, Suzan will take in rescue dogs, get them treated by the vet and ready for adoption. Daisy’s job is to teach the dogs manners, a task at which she excels.

So this is how we met Mini and decided to take her home for a trial run. We learned a lot from Suzan and it amazes us how much she cares about animals. As a full-time nurse, running the SPCA in Saba is quite a commitment. Suzan serves as another island inspiration to us. She is one more unexpected discovery that reminds us how many interesting, dedicated people there are in this world. Thank heavens so many of them are with us on this island!