Off-island Adoption: In Memory of Saturday – Part One

By John Campbell
Special to St. John Tradewinds

Saturday with baby Grace — her sixth year in New Hampshire.

Saturday was our first St. John off-island adoption. We didn’t even live on St. John. We lived on Tortola and came over to St. John for a change of scenery, staying at Gallows Point for a weekend now and then. My wife was still working at MITRE and teaching at MIT so there was quite a bit of flying back and forth between Massachusetts and Tortola.

Staying at Gallows Point made it convenient for us to walk down the hill to Cruz Bay. We’d have dinner at Lime Inn and buy our breakfast groceries at the market that’s now Dolphin. Passing through the park one day, we saw a large, brown dog lying in the park with a number of people around her.

“She’s not dead yet,” said one. 

My wife, alerted by that, looked at the beautiful animal who was just skin and bones. 

“Why, she’s starving!” she said.

One of the onlookers said, “Her master was from St. Lucia and he’s gone back and left her behind and now nobody feeds her.” Another chimed in, “She had a litter of puppies a few weeks ago, but we drowned them. She couldn’t feed them and nobody wanted them.” A third man said, “Her name’s Saturday ’cause she was born on a Saturday.”
My wife said, “I’ll be right back. I’ll get her a can of soft dog food.” She raced up to the market, bought a couple of cans of dog food as well as a can opener. But when she tried to get Saturday to eat, she didn’t even lift her head.

She was just too weak to eat. 

“Is there a vet on the island?” I asked. 

A woman replied, “No, Dr. Williamson over in St. Thomas comes over, but he won’t be back anymore this week and she’ll be dead by the next time he comes back.”  

My wife said, “Can you help us get her over to Dr. Williamson?” 

“Yes, but first let me call them.  My house is right near by.” 

It turned out that Toni, who baked home-made pies, cakes, and pastries for some of the stores and restaurants, rented the house next to what’s now Today’s Flowers.

The three of us — my wife, Toni, and I — lifted Saturday up and carried her to the ferry dock. Dr. Williamson told Toni that he’d have one of his staff meet us at the other side with his jeep. We didn’t realize what a fuss the ferry people would make about our bringing this poor starving dog onto the boat. 

“She’ll bite someone,” they said. “You can’t bring her on board without a muzzle.” 

My wife exclaimed, “That’s absurd, she can’t even stand up.” With that, she took off her belt and put it around the semiconscious dog’s snout.  “Now she has a muzzle.  Let’s go.” 

The four of us (including Saturday) were ushered to the rear of the ferry — reserved for luggage and undesirable creatures. And true to his word, Dr. Williamson’s jeep was waiting for us at Red Hook.

Toni returned to St. John on the same ferry and we’ve never forgotten her kindness. She went to live somewhere on the San Juan islands off the coast of Washington state. We lost touch with her when she moved and wish we could find her. I don’t suppose we could even find anyone who remembers her last name.

To Be Continued Next Week