“Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize.

The trial period with Ziggy is not going as smoothly as we had hoped.

There’s little doubt that he is a well trained, loving and loveable dog. He is relatively young at eighteen months and still has a bit of boisterousness about him but when a command is issued he comes to heel (generally) very quickly. He’s also shown during the short time that we have had him that he’s a quick learner.

So what’s the problem? Sounds like the perfect dog. And we think he could be apart from one thing. He wants to be with us all of the time. That’s good you’re probably thinking. What’s wrong with that?

Well, we want Ziggy to sleep outside of the house (don’t worry there’s lot of cover and he has his bed out there)and he -very obviously- wants to sleep inside the house with us. Why obviously? The scratch marks on our front door, that’s why!


It’s not Ziggy’s fault and we fully understand that (this doesn’t make looking at the door any easier though) because he has grown accustomed to sleeping indoors. So our challenge is to get Ziggy around to our way of thinking.

Scratching doors is apparently (we’ve done the Internet research) a common trait (problem) with dogs. It’s a separation anxiety issue. Totally understandable. But because you understand something doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to accept it!

Our research revealed a number of ways in which the problem can be addressed. Some helpful and some not so helpful. From covering the front doors with a protection such as plexiglass. To putting the dog in a cage until he/she doesn’t feel anxious anymore. To just letting the dog scratch away to its heart’s content and then you just replace the door every so often! Well, you won’t be surprised to learn that we’re not going for the last suggestion!

We haven’t got a cage but Rose – always the one of the two of us to come up with the bright ideas- came up with a potential solution. “Let’s use the wire left over from the fence for our adjacent lot to prevent Ziggy from getting to the first floor veranda where the entrance doors are” she said. And that’s exactly what we tried last night.


Not the most elegant looking ‘gate’ in the world but it’s effective!

When I got up just before 05.00 hours this morning my first inclination was to remove the ‘gate’ and let Ziggy join my mug of coffee , the iPad and me on the veranda. But then I said to myself (I didn’t really talk to myself) “No, let’s reinforce the message”. So I went outside to say good morning to an obviously very excited Ziggy. A few pats and strokes later I returned in to the house to make a mug of coffee, grab the iPad and head out on to the veranda for my ‘me’ time.

Around forty-five minutes later I opened the ‘gate’ to a much calmer Ziggy and he joined me for my second mug of coffee of the morning.


We sense though that Ziggy misses his kennel because he appears to be using the washroom on the first floor as it’s substitute.



What with training Ziggy and his beach walks and his swimming and taking care of some administrative chores (changing sterling to US$, wiring money to our bank account in Belize) I haven’t really had much time to spare (it’s a hard life!) to get back to painting the fence. But I have spent a fair bit of time watching (it’s always easier watching!) the building projects either side of us.

The boat shed immediately north of us is coming on in leaps and bounds (I’m finding it difficult already not to use doggy type terms!) where, having laid the floor and built the dock the guys have now started on the roof which we were pleased to see is going to be thatched.


Wood delivered for the roof frame (I’m sure there’s a technical term to describe this but …)



And the thatch.

With the materials delivered the guys started to get the roof frame in place.





Immediately to the south of us work on the top floor extension for Pirate Villas has also been progressing.


With the building contractor’s wife taking a leading role. She’s unbelievable.

“Talking” about all of this building work is making me tired (doesn’t take a lot now) so how about something totally unrelated. The latest ‘hot’ wheels I have seen on Ambergris Caye?


Neat, eh? Looks a bit like a spaceship (look I needed to find a way to use the song title). I nearly found myself calling occupants of interplanetary craft (phew didn’t think I’d ever find of way of using this song!).

And going really off subject how about the photo that an ex-colleague emailed me the other day.


I’m the little bespectacled one, third from the right. Did I really wear those shiny suits? Well it was the mid eighties(1980s before any of you are tempted to send a sarcastic comment).

To my current casual look


I’m the little bespectacled one (not much change there then) on the left.

And given that I’ve really lost the plot how about a sunset to bring this edition to a close? Why not!


The headline for today’s rather strange edition is based on the single (suggested by Bob Scott) released by The Carpenters in 1977 which reached number thirty-two in the US Billboard Hot 100 and number nine in the US Singles Chart.


  1. 4sarge says:

    Good pics. We have several dogs and the crate trained dogs are always the best well behaved. If Ziggy was crate trained he’s missing his crate and the security that it provided. We rescued a pair of outside farm dogs that I have turned into useless house guests but I still love them. We have a Bichon Frisé and he won’t sleep unless we close him in his crate at night

    1. Thanks very much 4sarge. As we understand, Ziggy was not crate trained. The traits he is showing are, we believe, symptomatic of a dog that has been involved in nearly everything with his master. He likes to be involved and to know that he is loved. The former – on occasions – may prove difficult but the latter will be very easy for us.

  2. kristina nadreau says:

    perhaps you can read up on the nature of dogs. they are pack animals. they are companions of humans. they will never want to sleep alone. They love their “den”. perhaps instead of you teaching Ziggy your ways, you can learn from Ziggy. retired vet Kris

    1. Hi Kristina. We let Ziggy sleep inside the house last night and he was extremely calm (but happy) when I got up this morning. We have decided to start the sleeping outside training when his kennel arrives.
      I’ve read quite a lot about the ‘pack nature of dogs and we are doing our best to remember and apply this with anything that we do that involves Ziggy.

  3. Fred says:

    Look on the bright side John, your ears didn’t stick out like the other guys do. A large dog will make someone trying to break-in think twice about it. Enjoy Ziggy for a few months, they do tend to grow on your heart. Fred

    1. Good spot re the ears Fred and particularly for the guy on the extreme left of the photo!
      We’ve had Ziggy for less than five days but already he has ‘grown’ on us. Difficult not to really because he is so loving.

    2. Harry the Hornet says:

      Careful Fred – it’s cruel to pick up on physical deformities, particularly large aural receivers. You’ll be having a laugh about four-eyed, long-haired midgets soon!

      1. “Harry”, Fred strikes me as being a really perceptive person who picked up on the large (inhuman) ears.

        The photo had a bit of “Dumbo” meets one of the 7 dwarves about it!

  4. lifeagain says:

    I hope Ziggy makes the cut. Ziggy will get used to outside in a matter of days not weeks after he gets into a routine of being left out at night.
    John, you and friends were wearing some really cool and nice looking suits.

    Hang in there Ziggy….get John and Rose used to you being around…..

    1. Ziggy has every chance Don of making the cut. He’s a very nice and loving dog and has already become very protective of our space.
      The suits seemed OK at the time but I just know that I wouldn’t want to wear one in that style now.

  5. Cheryl says:

    Crate/kennel training is an economical and fairly easy way to train a dog and avoid dog and human anxiety. Dogs are pack animals and you are Ziggy’s pack. A crate in the house becomes his area of the den where his pack lives. Don’t know how much longer you’ll have him, but he’ll likely become more anxious because he is now separated even farther from you. Perhaps you might consider sleeping outside with him.

    1. Hi Cheryl, I am aware of the pack syndrome. Haven’t had a dog for years but when I was young we always had one around the house.

      I’ve carried out quite a bit if research on crate training and have decided it’s not the route that I want to take. He is already house trained as far as his toilet is concerned (one of the areas addressed by crate training) and I don’t want a crate (cage) in the house.

      In August if we take Ziggy for good (highly likely) his kennel will come over from Ladyville and I think (hope) that this might make all the difference as to sleeping outside.

      As to me sleeping outside with him? Don’t think so. I haven’t paid what I paid for the house to sleep outside of it. In the meantime ie until the kennel arrives, he can sleep indoors. He’s a biggish dog and I don’t think we could both fit on his bed!

  6. robert says:

    Friend of mine’s dog ate right thro his wooden door, he was an Irish Wolfhound !!!
    I think the word you were looking for is ‘roof truss’ though they usually come factory made.

    1. You had an Irish Wolfhound as a friend???

      Thanks for ‘roof truss’. That’s it .

  7. 4sarge says:

    Good pics. We have several dogs and the crate trained dogs are always the best well behaved. If Ziggy was crate trained he’s missing his crate and the security that it provided. We rescued a pair of outside farm dogs that I have turned into useless house guests but I still love them. We have a Bichon Frisé and he won’t sleep unless we close him in his crate at night.

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