Many of our guest have fallen in love with Spike and a number have even asked if they could take him home. We smile and politely say no; Spike is an Iguana Lodge dog who lives the happiest life on our beach in Costa Rica. Almost everyone has a Spike story and his “tails” are growing to mythical proportions. One of our guest even created a Facebook page for Spike where you can follow his adventures. Below is from the personal journals of our guest, Bobi, who recounts to us of perhaps Spike’s most harrowing adventures … Spike’s kidnap and rescue ….
One of the many faces of Spike, today posing as Spike “the Bashful” taken by Laura McDaniels.
And now (10:15a, April 20, 2009) we’re most of the way back to DIA, having flown from Puerto
Jimenez back to Pavas in the Twin Otter with . . .
Dr & Mrs Bozo! (I don’t know their real name, but they’ll always be Bozos to me. Just as an
introduction to this pair, Andrew (10) and Grace (8) report that while enjoying an ice cream in
La Perla earlier in the week, they saw Bozos in there being extremely rude to Luis, one of their
Well, see, there are lots of dogs on the beach, around the hotel. Nondescript mostly, not the
AKC type, but perfectly friendly, willing to play with and be petted by the kids. They run
with each other up and down the beach, in and out of the water, or just hang out. One is sort of
German Shepherd-y. Couple of Lab mixes. They’re all just dog dogs. The smallest, mostly
Scottish Terrier, is Spike. Little black guy. Follows the kids all over.
So, it’s Thursday. Midafternoon. I’m on the beach, reading under one of the big thatched hats.
Andrew & Grace are here and there; David, Erin, & Kay off somewhere, biking maybe. Spike
plops down beside me in the shade. I give him a scratch and go on reading. Up comes this dude,
my age, ball cap, scraggly beard, paunch, loops a belt around Spike’s neck and starts to drag him
away. Spike digs his feet in, tries to shake out of the belt. The dude picks him up and walks off.
Now, as I later piece this together, Grace and Andrew witness this little scene and report it to
David and then to Lauren at the hotel. At drinks I learn that this guy’s wife, a large unpleasant-
looking woman on the order of Mrs Olsen in “Frazz,” [Denver Post comic strip] has seen Spike
and decided she absolutely must have this adorable little dog. So they have taken lodgings at a
neighboring hotel, and prevailed upon its owner, Niko, to ask Lauren about Spike. I guess she
said something like, “Oh, hell, you know, he’s a beach dog. He kind of belongs to everybody.”
So Bozo has decided that Spike is a stray, there for the taking. He and the missus have now
showed up with an animal carrier and have Niko trying to get Spike to ride in it. The story is
that they’re going to take Spike back to Connecticut. Well, over Lauren Cleaver’s dead body.
It’s really her goddam dog, given or sold to her some years ago by a friend. Had she had any
inkling that Niko was in cahoots with the Bozos she would have made that real clear.
Anyway, Lauren and David and the kids go next door that afternoon, and I’m told Lauren gives
old Niko a real Colorado ass-chewing. Friday, Lauren and Toby go to the local cops. It takes a
while to get the story across, and the Cleavers miss most of the salsa party Friday night.
Well, Friday and Saturday pass and we don’t see Spike. I’m told the cops did come to Iguana
Lodge where they interviewed everybody (except me, but including Andrew and Grace if you
please), but took no action. Sunday we pack up and check out and hug and tip everybody in
sight and get on a truck to the airport.
We unload our bags onto the Nature Air baggage cart and show our passports for the flight
manifest and sit around and–wait a minute! Here come the Bozos lugging a big box with
wire grating on either end and a green plastic rope foolishly looped around it, marked all over
“UP ↑ LIVE ANIMAL ↑ UP”. They plunk it down on the baggage cart.
We know it’s Spike even before the kids check. The atmosphere in the waiting area instantly
turns ugly, thick with animosity. The Bozos are sitting in self-consciously affected nonchalance,
well aware of the tension. Kay and Erin explain the situation sotto voce to another waiting
family, who react with appropriate, if silent, expressions of horror and sympathy. Nobody
confronts the Bozos, but if looks can kill they’ll go back to New England in pine boxes. A rumor
goes around that Nature Air will fly Spike (whom the Bozos are said to have renamed “Huck,”
which pisses people off nearly as much as the abduction itself) to San Jose, but will then fly him
right back to Puerto Jimenez. Kay and I don’t buy it. Once the plane leaves PJ we think Spike’s
So we’re all standing around angry or weeping or both, and suddenly I don’t see Andrew or
David. Where the hell have they gone? Well, turns out that they have gone around the corner
to a souvenir shop and prevailed upon the owner to let Andrew–Andrew!–make a phone call
to Iguana Lodge. Which he does. He gets Martí and asks her to have Lauren call him there at
the shop right away. Which she does. The shop guy answers the phone, looks around, and says
to Andrew, who at the ring is just jumping out of his skin, “I guess is for jou.” Andrew makes
a quick but pithy report. He and Dave return to the waiting area without telling anyone what
So we’re still standing around in agony when around the corner come five or six guys with
Toby and Lauren. We’re told they are friends of the Cleavers who were at the Lodge for a baby
shower. They do not look like baby shower guests. They look like solid twenty-somethings.
The cavalry! They all light into both Bozos at full volume. The issues raised are both legal and
“HE’S NOT YOUR GODDAM DOG!!”
“What do you mean, papers? Jesus Christ, beach dogs don’t have papers.”
“I guess you think you can get away with this just because you have a lot of money.”
“Oh, sure, steal him and take him 2,500 miles away from his home.”
Lauren is in raging attack mode. “I want my fucking dog,” she shouts in Bozo’s face, furious.
Toby is quiet, standing behind the line of baby shower guests, which David and I have joined.
Bozo, visibly uncomfortable, is telling Mrs B not to say anything. She’s sitting stone-faced,
silent in her thousand-loop-and-pocket safari vest hung with flashlights, bug dope, jackknives,
whistles, compasses, sun screen, wine openers, who knows what, staring fixedly down at a
It rapidly becomes apparent that the matter will not be resolved by discussion, and the same
thought occurs to David and me at approximately the same moment: “Why don’t we just unload
the dog?” The muscle moves immediately on this suggestion. Bozo does not lift a finger as
Spike is removed from the carrier (I am mildly surprised that there is no lock or even latch–
somebody just lifts the grill.) and handed to Lauren. She, Toby, the cavalry, and Spike disappear
amid cheers and thumbs-ups. We all hug and high five, grinning and laughing. Nobody says
boo to the Bozos who, to give them credit, do get on the Otter with ten other, unanimously and
vocally pro-Spike, passengers.
Wow. I am grinning all the way back to Pavas, where the Bozos take pictures of the empty
dog box in the Otter’s luggage compartment, and demand from Nature Air a refund of Spike’s/
Huck’s air fare from PJ. We don’t know how they make out, but imagine the Nature Air agent
saying, “You paid us to get the crate to San Jose. Here is the crate in San Jose.”
April 25, 2009. Well. We’re still talking about this whole thing a week later. I’m still getting
details that I missed the first time around. It is said that the Bozos are threatening suit against
Nature Air. I’d like to hear Lauren (like Toby a lawyer in her previous incarnation) testify at that
one. It’s still wonderful, and a wonderful lesson about taking action when you know that what’s
happening isn’t right. The kids get it. And, boy, do we.