By Julie Byers
One of the great joys for us living in Solomon Islands, has been owning a dog. Or should I say being a dog custodian as I don’t think you can ever own Wantok. Yes, that’s the name of our dog. We inherited him when we took over the lease of a house at Ngossi late in 2012. Described by the outgoing tenant as the most racist dog in Honiara, we were naturally a little concerned. So it was with some relief that we found that his dislike of Solomon Islanders extended to everyone and everything who ventured near the property without invitation. Wantok is a guard dog who takes his responsibilities very seriously.
The colour of Malaitan honey with pointy ears, big brown eyes, and a lean mean body, people would often say to us, ‘he looks a bit like a dingo’, ‘where did he come from’ and ‘how old is he’.
This took me on a ‘who do you think you are’ journey of discovery to unlock the mystery of the Wantok stori.
I mentioned his name at work one day to one of the other adviser’s and her face lit up.
‘So you have Wantok, I knew him when he was a pup. He was Annie’s dog’
‘Wait, I think I remember her full name, might even have her email’ turned into success via LinkedIN.
Luckily Annie had a profile and didn’t mind getting an invitation to connect over a dog. Turns out Wantok was found in the SIBC carpark as a pup late in 2005 and was given to Annie to live happily in West Cola Ridge and then later in Ngossi. After Annie left in May 2007 Wantok continued to be home-schooled by a parade of advisers and over time became more guard dog than pet. We told ourselves that we could change that but random attempts to take Wantok for a walk were like preparing for battle and in the end we gave up. Nevertheless signs of his early life appear every now and again like the day he jumped in the car uninvited, moved straight to the passenger side and positioned himself beautifully head upright for a view out the window. Annie told us that when he was a pup she used to take him to the beach. Unfortunately as he got older he would run off, so beach outings were cancelled.
He continues to delight and annoy us, and has us trained well, insisting that we throw him a piece of coral to chew if we attempt to leave the premises and when he begs for a navy biscuit, well who could refuse those big brown eyes. He is a Solomons dog after all.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end and Wantok will be looking for a new home after 16 December as his current custodians go back to Australia. If you think you would like to ‘home-school’ Wantok or even take over the lease of a four bedroom house in Ngossi just across from the Australian High Commission residence with Wantok as your guard dog, please contact Julie Byers on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.