Nearly every night, Tolu’s landlords pack up their truck with dog and cat food and head out on a mission to feed stray dogs and cats on the main island of Tutuila, American Samoa. Read Tolu’s tribute to some of the kind-hearted people giving what they can to the many animals in need on the island.
I arrived on Dec 20th, 2017 in American Samoa to start my new job at the VA. To move here for work and live here for the first time was yet another welcomed adventure. Being a dog lover, one of the first things I noticed were lots of stray dogs who hung around roads that can be unforgiving towards them. Some dogs looked like hardened criminals possibly due to the “life on the street” and others seemed to be yearning for love and affection. One thing they all had in common was the constant searching for food. It was evident lots of them went starving by seeing their hopeless demeanor and their ribs being more prominent than normal. I decided the least I could do was buy a bag of dog food and leave it in my Jeep so when I come by one or a few of them, I can pull over and feed them.
Meet my landlords Jake and Maureen Saulo! They have 12 dogs on the rental property I live on and at least 4 more where they reside. Needless to say, they’re dog lovers and were ecstatic to know I, their renter, was a dog lover too! Moreover, we had shared in an earlier conversation that we both had dog food in our vehicles to feed the stray dogs on the island. However, my bag of dog food and intermittent feeding did not compare to their act of kindness for these dogs. They would travel about an 8 mile stretch on the winding road along the coast between Fatamafuti to Fagatogo to feed these dogs and a cat on a nightly basis! The dogs are found along the roadside, parking lots, open field areas and sometimes on streets in front of their own owners’ homes. Yes, even their own homes. These pet owners for one reason or another have a difficult time feeding their pets, so Jake and Maureen have taken it upon themselves to feed them as well.
These dogs recognize their whistles and the sound and look of their truck named Ninja. They would come running towards them with their tails wagging so fiercely some of their backsides were hopping! Jake and Maureen have built a special relationship with these dogs and refer to them as their own. In fact, they have given them names such as Caramel, Squidwerd, Coral, Frisky (the cat), etc. Their kindness and love for all the dogs and Frisky was evident when I asked to join them on one of their outings. They willingly took me one night and what I witnessed was beautiful. My heart was touched to see their kindness in action and the hope they provided these grateful animals. They would feed them lots, give them love, and tell them they will come back and see them again. Since then, I have been on many more of their outings and love seeing the joy they bring to all the dogs and Frisky.
The money they spend on gas and dog food comes out of their own pockets. They do it out of sheer love for these dogs. Join me in supporting them until our island can figure out how to better assist with helping our animals on the streets. We only have one veterinarian and one veterinarian technician for the whole island. They help when they can, but are always so busy and have little resources as well. Please join me in supporting our cause to make it a better place for our animals to live on our beautiful island.