Honey and Friends – Island Ambassadors
According to the Lonely Planet guidebook on Rarotonga and the Cook Islands, “The oldest archaeologically dated item in the Cook Islands is a dog skull dated at 2,300 years old, found on the island of Pukapuka.” Many traditional Cook Islands dogs appear to be Dr. Seuss-like creatures with full sized bodies on stubby little Dachshund-like legs. Their dispositions are extraordinarily sweet and they are, by necessity, highly resourceful.
These intelligent, charming animals love to interact with the tourists and assume the role of welcoming ambassadors for the islands. Dogs, such as Honey, who are connected with a tourist accommodation, learn to assess each new motel guest to determine which parties are most likely to provide dog snacks and meals during their stay. The congenial companions form bonds that last for the customary two week vacation stay and as the second week draws to a close, the dogs are back to greeting the motel van to secure the next two weeks’ meals.
As evidenced by the high number of letters and emails EHF receives from tourists Ragan-Anunsen’s experience with Honey during her 1993 vacation is typical of other island visitors both then and now.
After arriving at the motel, one of the first friendly faces to greet Ragan-Anunsen was Honey’s. The Raro dog escorted the woman to her room and soon became a constant companion. Each morning, Honey walked with her new friend to the road that encircles the island and waited for the arrival of the island bus. After each day of enjoying island activities, Honey was waiting to accompany her temporary guardian across the same road to watch the sunset.
Strolling along the ocean’s edge, they waded together in the warm waves until nestling down on their blanket to watch the sunset. Honey carefully, but confidently, took her place at the blanket’s edge and the two quietly watched the sun ease into the Pacific Ocean.
Honey stood guard at the door throughout the night and joined Ragan-Anunsen in the morning for a breakfast of fresh papayas and coconut.
No tourism campaign in the world could be more effective in creating a lifetime connection between visitors and the islands, than the natural bond established by the Raro dogs and cats.Make a Donation