You know how some countries have dog pounds? The place you call when you see stray dogs or a place to leave your dog while you go on a holiday?Solomon Islands don't have that of course. Instead, you get to be the dog pound officer yourself. And your terms of reference range from chasing stray dogs off your property to dog-sitting for a certain relative while they are away. This is all too common in the Solomons.
Solomon Islanders are also not used to the 'Dog in the house' routine. All dogs are for outdoors and outdoors only! And if you do sight a dog in the house, then this is something unique and different.
Likewise, only the odd Solomon Islander would take their dog to the vet, as when a dog is sick, this is not something taken seriously. Usually, as a dog can be replaced easily when it dies and no, you don't visit a pet shop to replace the dog as, Solomon Islands do not have that either. However, you either visit a relative to provide you with a puppy or somewhere along the line; you will definitely come across a stray puppy.
Yes, stray dogs are an all too common sight in the Solomons, even in the centre of Honiara town. Driving through town, you will always come across dogs roaming the streets. And to some extent, even give way to dogs while they cross the road.
"Stray dogs are definitely a problem. They jump on rubbish bins and drag the contents on the roads. It's a pity we don't have a dog pound, as they can help get rid of the stray dogs causing problems. We don't own a dog, as we have enough problems with the stray ones," says Mrs. Mitchell Koluraha, from Mbokonavera.
"I collect stones to shoot the dogs every night, as they come onto the property and howl and bark and often relieve themselves on our lawn. They also destroy plants and take our slippers, so we always have to look out for the strays and chase them out of the property. My children love dogs but we always have our hands full because of the strays," says Mr. Malachi Ria'ena from East Kolaridge.
And according to an officer from the Honiara City Council, "there is a lack of capacity within the Council to look after stray dogs within the City. Dog owners should instead make sure their dogs wear collars and are trained well, ensuring that they do not roam into other properties."