This is kind of a little update post on some things we’ve experienced or just noticed since being here.
Or rather, wildlife. In SD we saw lots and lots of deer, an occasional fox, prairie dogs, antelope, buffalo, bighorn sheep, and tons of Turkeys. Here there is a different set of wildlife we will get to know. The base vet warned us that there would be lots of spiders (who build little holes in the backyard and will take over if you or your dogs don’t stay active back there – have I ever mentioned how terrified I am of spiders??), snails (which are apparently bad for dogs to eat, but also known to many dogs as a tasty treat), snakes (including venomous vipers!), feral dogs (they are EVERYWHERE), and hedgehogs. I was pretty excited about the hedgehogs. I think the are adorable. And I didn’t have to wait too long to see one. Saturday night Will yelled for me to come downstairs because he had spotted a big one hanging out in the yard. We made sure to tell the dogs NO so they didn’t try to play with it or attack it. The vet also told us some dogs had tried that and been rewarded with puncture wounds from the hedgehog spines. I didn’t brave picking this one up, but next time I totally will. He was very calm and we tried feeding him some sweet potato, but apparently that wasn’t his thing because it was still there the next morning.
The feral dogs are a hard thing to see. This is a no kill country so strays are usually rounded up, tagged and released far from whatever area they are gathering in, but because they are not ever euthanized, packs of them are everywhere. And they chase and attack people and domesticated dogs. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that they aren’t abandoned dogs, their ancestors hundreds of years ago may have been, but these dogs are wild animals. They view you as a threat, and I’ve heard they view your dogs as fresh meat. We’ve been around a few, and they seem to mind their own business for the most part, you just kind of have to be cautious. There is a pack or two that have found their way on base and a friend of ours said she came across one while she was out on a run and the leader of the pack started coming after her, but luckily didn’t pursue for long and wasn’t followed by the rest of the dogs. Still scary to think about!
Our First Meal Off Base
Saturday night we worked up the courage to venture off base for the first time. There is an area directly across from the front gate called the Alley. It is full of shops and restaurants and bars put there mainly to cater to the base residents. We’ve heard there is a process for a business to get approved to open a store front in the Alley that helps offer some protection for the active duty people and families that shop and eat there. We weren’t feeling super adventurous so we basically walked out the gate, straight to the restaurant, ate, and walked straight back on base, but we had a really great experience. Our first restaurant was the Moonlight Cafe.