Pamana Jack

October 26, 20012
The second half of this month has been hopping as far as the birding goes. New migrants seem to come in everyday.  I saw five Peregrine falcons soaring together over Fort San Lorenzo yesterday. I was really surprised because I thought of them as solitary. Yesterday, I birded for seven hours and my last stop was standing on a small bridge that goes over the stream that flows to Diablo Beach.  Glyn was with me and neither of us knew where to look first. Birds were flying overhead and others were making branches shake and more were calling from the darkness of the understory.  Something big was making loud splashes in the creek.  A particular bird I have been waiting to see call, called.  I needed to take a video, but my batteries were dead; of course. I told Glyn I was coming back at the same time today to try to get the bird, and she was happy to return then also.

I crashed when we got in from birding at 3:30 because I was up all night the night before. Unfortunately, I woke at 1:30 a.m. today and couldn't go back to sleep. I did some reading and picture organizing and left at 6:30 to have dawn at the Diablo bridge in the hopes I would find and video the bird I wanted.

I figured I could bird for an hour and a half or so, come back, get some sleep and go again with Glyn in the afternoon. As I stood on the bridge, listening to Owls call back and forth as the sky lightened, I met Panama Jack and my plans were changed.
The area around the bridge was very active and I was busy looking everywhere. As I went across the bridge to the Park side, I saw a medium sized black dog walking down the San Lorenzo road toward me.  He appeared old and lame.  I got my binoculars on him and it looked like he might be blind in one eye because it looked white.  When he saw me, he stopped.  His ears went up and he began to walk more quickly toward me.  My first thought was that he thought, "A person!"  As he came closer, I became worried that he might bite. A thick thread of drool hung from one side of his mouth. Thought of rabies flashed through my mind.  I retreated to my side of the bridge and as he started onto it, I said, "NO".  He cowered, and turned back.  I could see now that he wasn't rabid or aggressive he was just tired and starving, and I felt terrible for dashing his hopes. I crossed the bridge to have another look and found him standing on unsteady legs near the Forest Service building, and I knew I had to go home and get some food. I talked gently to him and told him I'd be back.
There is no shortage of underfed and under cared for dogs in Panama, but as you can see, Jack is more than just merely underfed. In the photos Jack is clean and fed and watered and off his sore feet.  He was able to get a few hours of comfortable sleep. Believe me, he looked worse when I found him.
When I got home, Gene was up making coffee.  I asked for the steak trimmings I had saved for the Fort San Lorenzo cat and a can of spam. It was the only thing I had for a dog. I went back to the bridge, but he seemed to have vanished.  I parked in front of the ranger station and looked behind it and called. Nothing.  I walked back to the car and I as I was opening the door, I saw him in the road on the other side of the bridge, near the path to Diablo Beach.  I drove over and when he saw the car, his ears went up and he quickened his pace.  It was like he had had a good owner and was happy to see a car and person.  I got out of the car with the food.  He wasn't far from me and he cowered and fled when I tossed a piece of steak to him.  I followed him down the path a way, dished out some Spam onto some short grass and went back to the car. He ate the food on the path and followed me for more. He wagged his tail at me and I talked to him.  I tried to shake the rest of the spam out, but it was stuck in the can. Part of it was sticking out of the can and  Jack came up and gently pulled it out.  I tried to cut it up with the lid so he wouldn't eat too fast, but it was gone in seconds. By then I had pet him and could see his 'blind' eye was crusted almost shut. I got him water and he gently nosed my hand in gratitude before he drank. There was no way I was going to leave him in the jungle.
I got out the emergency shop towels Jose and Nick had in the hatchback and lined the floor with them. Even though he displayed the sweetest of dispositions, I was fearful of picking him up.  People and animals can get a bit out-of-sorts when they are suffering, so I tried for half an hour to talk him in, but he wouldn't get in.  I finally did pick him up and he stayed on the floor, on the towels all the way home.
I was walking this poor limping, starved dog down the dock just as Gene had come out to go to the men's. Before he could say anything, I said, "This is not up for debate."  He said, "Not a problem, I already have a home for him."
Enough for today.  I have to cook something for BBQ night and give Jack his feeding.  Chris, the manager of the restaurant who owns the Bulldog, Cooper, gave us food and vitamins.  I wanted to take Jack to the vet, but Colon is still in riot mode and the roads are blocked. There is a general strike and everything is closed anyway from what we hear. I gave Jack a bath with warm water, cleaned his eyes and made a cushioned bed for him in the cockpit. For some reason, he didn't like the cushion and kept getting off and lying on the hard surfaces.  I finally removed it to give him more room and he seems to be happy.  He has water and I am feeding him about a 1/4 cup food every two hours.  He thumps his emaciated tail every time I open the hatch and greet him. I think (hope) he will be alright.
You never know what or who you will find in the jungle.


  1. Love that you took Panama Jack in.
    Are you coming up to the states for the holidays?

  2. Hi Diana,
    No, we won't be coming home this year. We plan to transit the canal in January and head home. Gene and I are not on the same page (as usual) about how to get home. I want to go off-shore and go as fast as possible, going ashore for fuel if needed. Gene wants to day hop as much as possible.
    Poor little Jack. He is the sweetest little guy. He has been adopted already by a sailor who has been wanting a dog and is happy to take care of him. That story is on the way.

  3. Hi Sue This brought tears to my eyes, especially the pics. of Jack. Thank goodness you found him and helped him...Glyn

  4. HiGlyn,
    Yes, he is definitely a sad case, but he's ok now. Could just have easily been you who found him. With as much time as we spend out in the forest, it's amazing we haven't had to bring in other things--it's a jungle out there!
    See Ya


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