The dogs are noisy here.

We were told at our security briefing that many Melanesians are quite afraid of dogs, and that a fair few houses have probably been spared from burglary by the presence of a poodle-sized pooch at the front gate. Consequently, many houses (including our own temporary residence) have 3 or 4 small dogs to act as both a deterrent and an alarm.

The dogs are not really well loved by the local house-keepers (most expat houses have live-in or full time local staff about the place) and I suspect many have been abused. They are not really thought of as pets by expats either. To top it off, most are not de-sexed. The result is a large number of unloved, untrained and badly socialized dogs in the yards around the ridges and hillsides.

They tend to sleep during the heat of the day and become active in the evening. A lone howl from a frustrated dog triggers off a response from the dogs in properties nearby and a chain reaction echoes along the nearby hillsides. The resulting noise is truly ghastly, far worse than a similar chain reaction in the Australian suburbs. Worse still is when they sneak under the fences and raid the yards of nearby houses, setting of an awful cacophony of squeals and howls that can last five minutes or more. It is possible to sleep through this – it’s just not possible to get to sleep while the dogs are at it.

We have no dogs at the house to which we are moving – just 24 hour security by two local guys. I think we’ll all sleep better.


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