This has not been an easy few weeks. How does one ever try to understand the mind of another human that can kill an innocent animal, clearly a domestic pet, in cold blood? We have laid a charge at the police for malicious damage to our property, but how can I even think of my beloved, free-spirited dogs, now dead, as my “property”? Anyway, time marches on, does not stand still for anyone, and we had to make some decisions going forward.
By week two after the fateful weekend, I decided to take my husband away for a weekend, just to clear our minds a bit, see some different scenery, and spend some alone time. I booked us into Marrick Game Farm, just outside Kimberley, unfortunately not knowing it is also a hunter’s paradise. This was a huge shock to us in the frame of mind we were, but we nevertheless decided to stay. The owners were very hospitable, the food great, and we grabbed the opportunity to book a night drive, as apparently the farm is world-renowned for its sightings of rare animals at night, with good guides to get you to the right spots for viewing. We were not disappointed, and got to see very rare aardvark, black footed cats, porcupines, lots of hares and buck eyes shining like little lanterns in the dark. In the distance, some show in Kimberley entertained us with a magnificent fire-work display. I bet not many people can count such an experience in their book of life.
Next morning, we took off to the SPCA, South Africa’s oldest and largest animal shelter group, to go and adopt a dog. The reality is however that you must have a will of steel to only walk away with one animal, as every longing pair of eyes, every wagging tail, every sorry howl, beckons you to “please adopt me”. We walked out after adopting three girls, ranging from small to very large. We were not allowed to take them immediately. A thorough home-check was to be done, and after that they would be spayed and vaccinated. It was almost three weeks later that we finally got the call that we could fetch the new additions to the household.
The drive home, with three bewildered dogs that have been in the kennels for some time, all sore from stitches in their tummies, but all exited too, was long. They took turns in standing up against the back of my seat, heads peering in between the seat gaps, licking me incessantly. Immediate love and acceptance radiating from their every pore. I was emotional to say the least. Thinking of my Lady and Buster that had to die so that I could go and rescue three others from possible death. Life is weird and wonderful all at the same time.
I would be lying if I said it has been a joy-ride this past week. My other dogs are incredibly well trained, and these three are of course not. It is a battle to contain the mad-hatter Greta, a beautiful black Labrador, not to eat everything in sight – from dead birds that fall out the trees, to everyone else’s food! Little Fifi, not sure what the cross-breed is, but she has a body of a sausage dog, and the cutest face with pointy nose and Cleopatra eyes, makes a pest of herself wanting to kiss the other dogs’ mouths all the time. Then the large Miss Sokkies (Socks in Afrikaans), so named as she has four white paws on her black body, also has a large white star on her chest, with one tail of the star smeared a bit down towards the tummy, looks almost like a small horse. She can tilt her head from side to side, listening attentively, and picks up a stone in her mouth as a gift to mom or dad every time she has been outside. So cute when she gets to the water bowl, she first drops the stone into the water, gets such a fright, and then returns to drink. But, she has had a lung infection, with the resultant snotty nose, coughing and splattering, Greta ate all the birdseed after climbing on top of the feeder in the water pond, and I was greeted by shit all over the lounge floor yesterday afternoon, crumbly with bird-seed!!! Not fun!!!
They sleep in the bedroom with us – yes I know, they are spoiled. They each got a continental pillow and compared to the sleepless nights last week, it is more peaceful by now.
We still wipe tears for Lady and Buster every now and again, and these are not a replacement ever, but they keep me so busy that it helps with the pain.
So, I would like to encourage you to rather adopt from a shelter, choose a dog breed that will suit your life-style, and love them. Or, at least donate to the shelter to feed, care and house the strays or unwanted animals, or give of your time to go and walk them – the cages are small, they are in there for months on end if not lucky to be adopted quickly.