I see some strange things done with animals today, some of which I agree with and some not. I see animals dressed in skirts and sunglasses. I think that is cute. I see animals painted with the flag and emblem of Belize. I think that is disrespectful to Belizeans. I see people sleep with their dogs or cats or allow them to sleep in bed with them and to lick their faces. I think this is gross. I am not saying it is wrong. It is just my opinion on such things.
Now there were some strange things practised 25 years ago. Chickens raised in one’s backyard learned to jump over the fence into the neighbor’s yard. I think they too thought that the grass is greener in other pastures. To stop this we tied a glass pint bottle unto a piece of string to the hen’s foot. This prevented them from jumping over the fence.
Pigs were kept in a pig pen. However, they loved to dig under the boards and somehow get out. I think this was only curiosity for they had nothing to do in the yard except to dig all over and trample over laundry if any, on the patches of grass.
To prevent this, folks used to pierce a hole through the snout, sort of like a lip ring and placed a wire ring through the snout. Bingo, no more digging of the ground or escaping. I did not agree with this, but I saw the need to do so.
Male dogs would escape the yard when in heat to look for fun and surprise. This too had a remedy if one did not want his pet dog to go astray. The dogs were castrated. There were 4 or 5 persons on the island who simply took a razor blade, cut the skin and removed the testicles. This was proven also to make the dogs look healthier and fat and prevented diseases. Pigs were castrated in similar manner to fatten them.
The yellow head parrot is said to be the most talkative species. If parrots were too lazy to learn to talk, they were fed with hot peppers, and soon they became like a chatterbox. Consequently there were parrots in San Pedro who could talk in Spanish, English, sing, whistle, pray and even curse and use foul language.
Now you know that you cannot tie a cat to a leash like you tie a dog. So when you got a new grown up cat, to prevent it from going away we used to apply some butter, or rather the cheaper margarine on its four paws. This was a definite cure to make the cat stay at home. And if you did not want anybody to give your cat the bad eye which got them very sick, you simply tied a red piece of cloth around its neck. Bingo!
So you see folks, these are not superstitions, but actual things practiced on animals and they worked so well in this little village of San Pedro.. Don’t know if you like them or not, but that’s the way it was 25 years ago.
- by Angel Nuñez, Columnist