As you may have surmised, we’ve had very few bad days on Green Turtle Cay. But May 19, 2011 (our fourth wedding anniversary, by the way) was easily the worst.

wrigley 3
Comforting our injured pup.

It was Wrigley’s first trip to Green Turtle Cay. One morning, Tom was driving the golf cart. I was on the passenger side with Wrigley on my lap.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but it appears that the loose end of Wrigley’s leash had slipped from my lap and was dangling off the cart. What happened next, we don’t exactly know. Our best guess is that the leash became caught in the cart’s rear wheel.

What I do know is that one minute, my sweet little guy was on my lap, looking for chickens and enjoying the breeze. The next, he was yanked from the cart with terrifying force and slammed to the ground behind it. I will never, ever forget the sound of him howling in pain.

When we got to him, Wrigley was crouched, yelping, on the dirt road. Tom gently picked him up and bundled him in a towel. I hopped behind the wheel and we raced back to our cottage. Wrigley was quiet now, but when I glanced over, he was panting and trembling. He was going into shock.

Fortunately, I had taken a pet first aid course a few weeks prior. The instructor had suggested that, when traveling, we make note in advance of the nearest vet’s office and other pet services.

The good news is that I had taken her advice, so we knew the location of the nearest veterinarian. The bad news is the nearest vet is in Marsh Harbour — a 15-minute ferry trip and a half-hour car ride away.

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Our groggy doggy.

We called the Green Turtle Cay Ferry Service, prepared to charter a ferry if necessary. But Nigal Lowe, captain of the 9:00 a.m. ferry that had departed a few minutes before, kindly offered to turned around to come for us. While we waited for the ferry, I called ahead to the Island Veterinary Clinic to let them know what had happened and that we were on our way.

Less than 75 minutes after Wrigley’s fall, we pulled into the parking lot at the Island Veterinary Clinic. When we spotted Dr. Bailey waiting for us outside the hospital’s front door, I knew we were in good hands.

After a thorough examination, Dr. Bailey sedated Wrigley so that he could take a series of x-rays. Neither the exam nor the film revealed any internal injuries — just a sprained elbow and a bit of road rash. Nothing was broken (other than my heart.) I cannot adequately express how kind and reassuring Dr. Bailey and his amazing assistant, Chamara Parotti, were that morning.

Though Tom and I would just as soon forget that whole day, one moment still makes me smile. When we left Dr. Bailey’s office, we headed to Abaco Island Pharmacy to fill a prescription for Wrigley’s pain medication. Tom went inside while I remained in the car, a still-sedated Wrigley bundled in a towel on my lap.

As I waited, I began to feel something warm — and then wet — in my lap. Shifting Wrigley aside, I discovered a huge wet spot on the front of my shorts. As Tom pointed out when he returned to the car, the only thing more embarrassing than peeing your own pants is having someone else do it.

Though we had to crate Wrigley for a few weeks to keep him immobilized, he was soon back to his energetic, mischievous self. Happily, his horrible accident has not dampened his enthusiasm for golf cart rides, though you can bet that we always know where the leash is!

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These days, we never travel with Wrigley without a list of the nearest emergency veterinary hospitals — even in cities where we’re just stopping between flights.

And though I hope you’ll never need it, here’s some information you may want to have at hand when traveling to Abaco with your pet:

  • Dr. Derrick Bailey
    Island Veterinary Clinic
    Marsh Harbour
    Tel: (242) 577-0397 or (242) 458-8300
  • Dr. Owen Hanna
    Caribbean Vet Centre
    Marsh Harbour
    Tel: (242) 351-2103 or (242) 531-3467
  • Green Turtle Ferry (242) 365-4166 or (242) 365-4128
  • Albury’s Ferry (Abaco mainland to/from Hope Town, Guana Cay, Man-o-War Cay and Scotland Cay): (242) 367-0290, (242) 367-0291 or (after hours) (242) 359-6861
  • Cornish Car Rentals
    Treasure Cay, Abaco
    Phone: (242) 365-8623
  • Triple J Car Rentals
    Treasure Cay, Abaco
    Phone: (242) 365-8761
  • Taxis: There are normally taxis at the Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour ferry docks for any disembarking passengers who might need them. In an emergency, you may want to ask your ferry captain to radio ahead, to ensure a cab is waiting when you arrive.
bahamas, abaco, green turtle cay, travel with pet
A happier memory from Wrigley’s first trip to Green Turtle Cay

10 thoughts on “Pet Emergency in Paradise

  • November 28, 2015 at 5:47 am

    I worry about things happening when I bring my two small dogs with me to Exuma as they do not have a full time vet.

    • December 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm

      Dale, it’s definitely a risk. But when we see how much Wrigley LOVES the beach and the cay, it’s worth it. We keep a full dog first aid kit and a book about pet first aid in the house — hope we never have to use it! What type of dogs do you have?

  • November 28, 2015 at 8:33 am

    Amanda, I had the same thing happen to my Jack Russell. Fortunately for him the catch on the end of the lead broke, but if it had held, the result would have been the same as Wrigley. Thank goodness Wrigley is okay, now.

    • December 5, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      Chris, I’m so sorry to hear the same thing happened to your dog — glad he wasn’t seriously hurt! We always say that, had Wrigley been wearing a collar, his neck likely would have been broken. We were so glad he had a harness on, and we’ve used a harness ever since. I’m so paranoid now about carrying Wrigley on the cart — I ALWAYS know where that leash is. 🙂

  • November 28, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you Amanda! I hope to one day bring our dog Bailey to Green Turtle & now I know where to find this valuable information.

  • November 28, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Thank God Wrigley is ok!!!

  • January 15, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Hi there! We have been travelling to Green Turtle the last three years and will be bringing our dog Emma for the first time next month. I filled out all the paperwork, got back the form from the Bahamas, but it says the dog needs to be seen by a vet within 48 hours of entering the Bahamas? Am i reading this wrong? I want to make sure I have all my ducks in a row before we get there! Any tips would be greatly appreciated 🙂

    • January 20, 2019 at 12:43 am

      Hi, Hillary. Thanks for your note. Yes, that is the rule – though for what it’s worth, very few people actually do it. If you’d like to discuss further, drop me an email.



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