Jerry was born in Santa Isabel Island, a part of the Solomon Islands archipelago. Jerry's owner was Mr. Haggin, who worked as a plantation guard and used Jerry to chase black slaves. Higgin gave Jerry to Mr. Van Horn, Captain of ship Arangi, under condition to return the dog if something bad happens. The ship was engaged in delivering so-called "reverse" slaves who worked for three years on a plantation. During a stop on Malaita island, Arangi was attacked by the natives, who killed the captain and skipper.