Alleycat, a huge black and white farm cat, was actually placed in the care of one of the other farm managers at Malmesbury, but disappeared after the first night, much to our dismay. We searched the farm area from east to west and all around, and I had a very sad husband pacing the room before bedtime that night. I put some food out as per usual, in the hope that Alley would come home – but also had doubts, as he had to cross a river to do so. Next morning, Kobus woke and went to work at 4 am as per usual. I woke up a little later to what sounded like an Egyptian goose flying over the house. I worried about Kobus and got up. Through the lounge window I could see the lights of his pickup driving slowly through the sheds on the opposite side of the farm, and I knew he was looking for his cat. As I could not sleep anymore, heart-sore and choked up myself, I ventured to the kitchen for a cup of tea. That’s when I saw that the plates where I had carefully left some meat morsels and milk for Alley, were empty! My heart leapt and at that moment I heard the pickup driving into the yard. I yelled at the top of my voice to Kobus that Alley was home and he immediately called out to him in the direction of the shed where he often slept during the day – and the rest is history – Alley had walked home! So, he had to come to Zanzibar with us!
So now, we live on this large plot, in a lovely big house, lots of birds and geckos, (beware the falling coconuts and palm tree leaves!).
And Alley is master of this universe, slapping the dogs when they try and pass him on the stairs up to our bedroom. And they all sleep with us at night, Alley on the bed with us, Jackie on the floor on my side of the bed, Bonjo on the carpet at the foot-end of the bed, and Whiskey on the small mat by the bathroom door.
They absolutely liven up after a long, hot day of panting, to go walk on the beach the minute it looks like we are preparing to move in that direction. With tails wagging, some talking from Whiskey and Jackie, excitedly running around, they nudge us towards the car. Kobus picks Jackie and Bonjo up, as they are 11 years old already and we do not want them to hurt or strain some muscles or ligaments, and I pick little Whiskey up into the back of the pickup. The beach is a short walking distance from our house, but we rather drive, as the bushes along the way are covered in ticks.
The dogs are crab mad!!! They search, dig and run after crabs, with mom and dad assisting by pointing them to a possible catch. Bonjo had one hanging on his lip last week after sniffing down a hole, so now he is more afraid of sticking his nose down holes, but will tentatively scratch around a hole and hope a crab darts out. Jackie is like a trained sniffer dog and catches them in a flash. When they get too hot from chasing crabs, they dash into the sea for a quick cool-off swim, only to start the chase again.
Whiskey has calmed down a bit, but still finds it hard to contain his enthusiasm to join the local boys playing soccer on the beach at sunset. It is the ball he is after, but they don’t know it and scatter in all directions when he comes charging! And if he can’t find a ball, a washed-up coconut will entertain him for a while, until it becomes too heavy for him to play with.
We try and walk them at least every other night, it is good for them, but even better for our souls. When you see the pictures, you’ll understand why – it is a beauty too great to describe – so enjoy the visual delight!