Now here’s a story, a little bit gory, a little bit happy, a little bit sa-ha-had … No, no, relax; we’ll stop before we get to Aunty Martha and the pipelines!
It could have been a dark and stormy night, but it wasn’t. She came to me one morning, one sunny Thursday morning, her long hair flowing in the late summer wind (aah ha aah ah-ha aaah ah-ha aah). I was happily bouncing my ball on the floor, waiting for breakfast, but being a gentleman, I went up to say “Hi” to the girl in the Animal Behaviourist vehicle … and she ignored me.
Of course, I knew she was just playing hard to get, so I waited for them to be seated before I resumed bouncing the ball. I have to admire their self-restraint; they must have been dying to join me in playing with the ball, but they kept on talking. I’m not sure why they discussed other dogs, but I did pick up bits like “unacceptable behaviour” and so on. I even heard her say something about “obsessed with his ball”. Such a girl!
I continued demonstrating my ball skills, allowing these soulful hazelnut peepers to work their magic, and it wasn’t too long before resistance crumbled and she invited me over. There was that delightful rustling sound; then she produced a whole bag of snacks. An angel! A goddess! I even gave up my ball for her. (And I decided not to mention the “blame the poor rescue dog” moment …)
She had me eating through a type of basket at first, which made me wonder which of one us really needed the shrink, but I still hadn’t had breakfast, so I humoured her.
Even in paradise and at mealtime, which are more or less synonymous, the serpent is working … the next thing I knew, the basket was fastened over my face. After some fumbling, they managed to get my halter onto my body – kept their hands to themselves, though – and we went dancing in the street. (Of course, she wanted to know if we were going to put on shoes … such a girl!)
The basket seemed to scare the two uglies; Ratface and Whitey went ballistic and then ran to their backyard, where they continued taking on the world from behind the safety of their Vibracrete wall. I was doing my p-mails when her tongue wagged again, “He doesn’t have to pee all over the place, you know.” He doesn’t? Such a girl! And you should have seen her when I stopped for a download …
There were a few anti-social mutts in the second park, but I was not allowed to eat them, even although I had not had breakfast. So I was turned back and we went to the vlei, where we ran into the weirdest little creature.
She looked like a dog, but bounced like a ball and ran like a cat and I really tried to eat her – I had still not had breakfast, after all – but the basket kept me from sinking my pearly whites into her.
And then there was another “such a girl” moment. “You see, he doesn’t know how to play.” For Dogmor’s sake, how could she have missed my ball skills? So I wrestled this other creature to the ground and pinned it, but instead of counting, they yanked me off her and said things like, “You see? He wants to play, but he doesn’t know what to do.” So, I gave up and tried to breathe in the weirdo instead.
Back home, they talked some more, making it clear that I was going to have socialisation training, and I’m going to get a new diet (have I mentioned that I had not had breakfast at that stage yet?). I understood that I’m going to get (three barks!) my own mouth basket, too. And then she left. I didn’t even bother to greet her, and watched dignified and from a distance as she pulled out of the driveway (and her vehicle stalled … such a girl!).
Now, let me ask you: Having read this, how does it make you feel?
Elvis has left the building, but The Boss visited these shores recently. So, instead of making the trip to Heartbreak Hotel, let me tell you something about my new hometown.
Thabo was an African. Me, I’m Africanis. So I need land, lots of land, and a home where the buffalo roam, but, as Uncles Keith and Mick put it, where I live is compromise solution. I had to settle for suburbia.
So, in the late afternoon or early evening, we reclaim the streets of the area. I check that three parks are safe, although I have been prevented thus far from really cleaning up; the Maltese poodles are still around.
The parks have some of these self-help kiosks that are to die for. You won’t believe the quality and variety of interesting items they stock. Alas, however, I’m not allowed to make use of the facilities. On the one hand, I’m worried that lack of support may drive the kiosks away; on the other, it won’t make any difference to me.
Two noisy, fat Labradors live at the entrance to the second park. They often yell at me from the balcony. I take great pleasure in ignoring them while I mark the shrubs in their front yard.
This wall protects innocent eyes from the ugliest mongrels in the hemisphere. The rat-faced one is somewhere between black and brindle. On second thoughts, calling it “rat-faced” is being unfair. No rat could ever be as ugly. The other one is white. Enough said. Other than bull terriers, no dog should be seen in white. White is for toilet paper and Maltese poodles. These two characters have been very generous with their comments since we walked past their place the first time. They’ve called me a son-of-a-she-dog once too often, though. One of these days, they’re going to have the opportunity to check which of my bark and my bite is worse. Until then, they’ll just have to live with watching me write my name on the tree next to their driveway.
A Cape dikkop (Burhina capensis) couple breeds in the garden just opposite the mongrels. They’re not too anti-social during the day, but come dusk, the male has a lot to say. I suppose he is banking on us being aware that no bird tastes worse than dikkop. He probably hasn’t noticed that my left eye is there for decorative purposes only, so I often don’t even see the spotted bugger.
Sometimes we take a different route, just to annoy the two asthmatic Rottweilers or the hyperactive Huskies. And when these city boys with their Bob Martin’s coats and Hill’s diets hurl their educated insults at me, I have to grin in smug superiority. My vocabulary comes from the Cape Flats, gents, and my teeth were cut on township bones … “have some sympathy, and some taste, use all your well-learned politesse, or I’ll lay your soul to waste …”