More Top Stories

Rugby Union

Bigger and busier 2023: PM

31 December 2022

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Ruta Mave: The sun has set and the day has started with the sun rise

Monday 11 September 2023 | Written by Ruta Tangiiau Mave | Published in Editorials, Opinion


Ruta Mave: The sun has set and the day has started with the sun rise
Ruta Tangiiau Mave. Photo: CI NEWS

She came to us from Esther Honey. A white long haired fluffy puppy with a toffee brown patch on her floppy ears. We called her Roxy, Aunty called her Rosie Rocky Richie or Racey - like mothers do when they are trying to remember which child until they hit the right name – Roxy.

We had recently arrived in Rarotonga so we were living with my Aunty and Uncle - four of us in their back room. 

Bringing in a puppy was not an easy feat when there was already two large male dogs and three cats.

Popeye was an old salt of a dog who Uncle had rescued from the abusive neighbor, and for which Popeye was so grateful, he would bring Uncle gifts like avocado and leave them on the door step each morning.  

One day there was a $5 note. Uncle never did work out where Popeye got it from and neither could he teach Popeye to repeat the process and bring it daily.

Tipu was a skitty dog and having this little kid sister literally nipping at his heels cramped his style, as all little sisters do to teenage brothers.

Roxy would chase Tipu and bite at his heels, and hold on as he tried to limp away dragging this bundle of fluff with him. 

He would look pleadingly at us for a rescue but when none came, he took on the protective role of big boss brother.

When we eventually moved into our own place on the back road, Roxy would trip through the plantations, and go visit Aunty and Uncle’s house, especially when the thunder and lightning would come.

Roxy would do those silly things girls do when out walking with their big brothers. 

She would duck into a property and wave her tail and poke out her tongue so to speak with a little na-nana-na-na.

Then when the dogs there chased after her, she would bolt back to the road and hide behind one of the brothers. 

By this time, we had a brute of a dog called Dude, a massive rottweiler look-a-like, and as the dogs rounded the corner they would come to a screeching halt as they saw the wall of black and tan standing in front of them. 

Roxy would poke her not so innocent white nose from behind Dude, and grin at the chasing posse.

Then, when they retreated, she would prance along waving her long fluffy tail like a flag bearer going into the Olympics. – little tart.

The arrival of two kittens turned the tables around for Roxy. 

She was neutered as a pup so had never had the chance to know motherhood, but the young ginger tom was missing his mum and took to Roxy’s belly and would lie there, kneading, looking for milk.

Roxy just lay there looking up at us going – is this right? 

She accepted this was how it was just like the brothers did with her and from there the two of them formed a close bond, sleeping curled up together.

Every time Roxy was lying down, she would raise one leg up and expose her belly for a rub.

There were times she slept with her leg up like it was in traction. Little tart.

When we went walking, she would wait to see what direction we were going, then deduce the short cut and meet us at the end of the road or home ahead of us.

She had little dainty feet that would skip along with little trot-trot strides dik-dik-dik-dik.

It has been ten years and in May her legs seized up and she couldn’t walk.

The vet said she had arthritis in her spine. She was given 72 hours to respond to the drugs; she did.  She was on regular medication and had to be hand fed, but she was still in control of her own body – shakily.

Four days ago, Roxy stopped eating and started wandering off into the garden hiding. 

I know dogs like to go bush when they are ready to move on, but I couldn’t let Roxy do that. My son would need a body to bury for closure; otherwise, we could pretend she is on her gap year.

I came home from work to find her on the grass - passed.

The guilt of not taking time away from athletics or work came unbidden and unwelcome.

I was sure I had failed her. I hadn’t gotten her to the vet soon enough – life got in the way of her last life.

At 10pm, I dug a grave in the dark.

At 7am l collected flowers as friends gathered under the mango tree to toast her life living in paradise.

Roxy, the Sun has set and the day has started with the Sun rise.

Life goes on and so must we.


Hana Tearii Vaatau May on 11/09/2023

What a beautiful eulogy of Roxy's life. Your story of her life on the his earth comes with wonderful memories, laughter and sadness at the end. You would not be the only parent/owner to have felt that we have failed our pets well-being as you say life got in the way. So happy that your son encourage you what to do with Roxy when you told him of her passing.