Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Santa Cause For Paws!

Being the beginning of October, we shall soon be hearing the strains of 'Little Drummer Boy' and 'Mary's Boy Child' accompanying our trundle round the shopping centres, as we gaily fling pasta and dog food into our trolleys. The cashiers get into the spirit too by wearing jolly red hats with white pompoms and bells, but it certainly does not help when each week every single item is up by at least 20%.... and we are told that inflation is actually on the decrease..... ha ha and Merry Rubbish!!

So, I had a pleasant surprise when I meandered my way through Facebook a few weeks ago and saw a post for 'Santa Cause for Paws'. Having never heard of it, but extremely interested in anything to do with animals, I delved further.

(All the photos are thanks to the Official Santa Cause for Paws Facebook page.

And I was hooked!

This is an easy and fun way to give a gift to an animal in a Shelter, or to an organisation like SPCA... and this year to our own 'Animal Lighthouse', here in Vredenburg. All you have to do is go onto their Facebook page, just search for 'Santa Cause for Paws', and follow the instructions. Pledge a box for a dog, cat, puppy or kitten, and you will receive an email with a printable label that must be attached to the box before the box is dropped off at the nearest drop-off place. On the label is a list of goodies to be included, namely: two food items, something warm like a blanket, a toy, something useful like a bowl or flea treatment or a collar for a dog and an item for the staff like food (non-perishable of course!)

The goody-box check list.

Easy so far......But, when I went on to pledge my box, the nearest drop-off point was in Cape Town, some 120 kms from us. So, I decided to send a message to the organisers and ask if there was a closer place seeing as our Shelter was one of the beneficiaries this year.

And that started a lovely chat between 'them' and me! And as there was nowhere closer, I volunteered to be a Western Cape drop-off point.

How could you resist this little face?

That is when I had my second brainwave (the first being to make a pledge). I asked Phillip if he would be happy to be a drop-off too as everyone around here knows Scotts Kwekery (Nursery) and it is on the main road, not tucked away like our village is!

Well, after much to-ing and fro-ing between me and... AUSTRALIA... yes, that is where the girl who started the 'Santa Paws' movement lives now (she is ex-Johannesburg.... one of thousands), I am now officially a drop-off point, as is the nursery, and the town of Vredenburg is now listed on the official drop-off list! All very important!

See, everyone enjoys a gift!

So I am now collecting my goodies for my boxes (one cat and one dog) and must head to the mall to gather all sorts of interesting items.

I may even sing along to Boney-M.......

I just hope that a lot more people pledge for this area, or I shall be delivering only my boxes!

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Mossie vs Malechite!

I am sure that everyone knows by now that Rob and I are avid bird-watchers! Not the serious twitching ticking off lists and peering through binoculars type, but the meander round the place and enjoy what we find type. We love the comings and goings of several different species in the garden and go through tons of bird seed and fruit a year, kilos of sugar for the nectar feeders, and I have also just discovered suet...... but the shops in Vredenburg haven't yet!!

So when the Malechite sunbirds decided to build their beautiful nest in the ficus tree in the wine barrel in the corner of the veranda, we were thrilled! We were a little worried about the cat-flap being a metre or so directly beneath it, but we are always around to deter the feline members of the family, and the birds are far more clever than Morris!!

So for about ten days we watched the sunbirds gather all the cobwebs that they could find from the corners of the windows outside (now do you see why I do not clean??? Think of all the nesting material that would be destroyed if I sallied forth with a broom?) Day by day the nest developed into the shape and size necessary, and the female lined it with feathers, fur and bits of cotton.

The beautiful Malechite nest

And she laid an egg!

Now, on the other side of the veranda just under the tin roof, the mossies (House Sparrows) have built their nest. This is an untidy collection of bits and pieces of grass, twigs and leaves and if it falls or blows down, they simply re-build it it. I admit that they got there first, but there is room for everyone, and all seemed peaceful.

The Cape Sparrow nest, somewhat messy.

Until this morning.

I heard the sunbirds calling and the mossies shouting, but thought nothing of it until I suddenly realised that it was a lot louder and more aggressive than I realised.
The mossies were intent on destroying the Malechite's nest and were actually pulling bits off it. The poor sunbirds were hovering and trying to chase the mossies away.

And then I heard an odd 'plop' sound.

When I went out to check, I saw the egg on the tiles unnder the nest, smashed of course. The mossies had pulled or pushed the egg out of the nest. I could see the yolk and the bits of broken shell. To add to the confusion, a pair of Lesser Double Collared sunbirds arrived to see what was happening and they stayed for a while, almost commiserating with the Malechite pair.

The mossies are still trying to evict the sunbirds, and the female knows that they had something to do with her missing egg because she has been checking their nest.

Rob and I keep going out to chase the mossies off, but I have a feeling that they will carry on until the nest is destroyed.

I am angry and sad and surprised. I really did not think that birds could behave so badly.

I thought that was reserved for humans.....

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Spring and Things!

So, here we are, in theory winter is over, spring is officially here, and we can look forward to a long, hot, dry slide into Christmas and 2018!!

Scary isn't it?

Anyway, before we all get maudlin, let me bring you up to date on The Week That Was.
I think I mentioned that I wanted to make a house for the cats? For Juniper (fixed), Jasmine (read on), and Jennifer (to be fixed). I started looking round for suitable containers and eyeing the wheelie bins that had been left on the road after bin collection, working out which one I could 'borrow' for a very good cause.

Then, suddenly, problem was sorted. Emma and Coert (our wonderful neighbours), had a small kennel that was not being used and they were happy to give it to me. So, round it came in a wheelbarrow and I cleaned it out, lined it with a couple of large empty birdfood bags, a piece of carpet (brand new) and a fluffy blanket (ditto). Rob and I drove round the corner and placed it in the corner of the garden where the cats seem to hang out.

It's beautiful, waterproof and warm.
And I think that they are using it because l have seen Juniper sitting just outside the doorway very often at food delivery times.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

National Dog Day!

Today, Saturday 26 August, is National Dog Day.

Our four-legged-friends special day, a day set aside to think about all the ways in which we can celebrate their help, love and friendship. The guide dogs, the sniffer dogs who head into dangerous territory without thinking, the dogs who 'know' when their owner is about to have a seizure, and the everyday much loved stay-at-home spoilt dogs.

Like our Alfie!

But, it is also a day when we think about all the homeless dogs, the dogs in shelters all over the world, the abused, hurt, abandoned, starving dogs and the sad dogs who are only used  for 'backyard breeding'. A pox on the owners.....

Since joining Facebook, I have 'liked' and followed, several Animal Shelters who do amazing work with limited funds, limited people and limited time! I have laughed, cried and cursed. I have shared and deleted, I have added comments and emojis.

I follow shelters who specialise in rescuing Donkeys, Birds, Cats and Dogs, Carthorses, Baboons and exotic smuggled animals.

I have put my comments under photos of horribly abused animals, and fat slobs who think it is great fun to shoot canned lions, (when are tourists going to realise that those cute lion cubs they like to have their photos taken with will most likely end up as cannon fodder for some rich idiot from overseas), and circuses who still use animals in their acts (although they are becoming few and far between, thank goodness!)

So, sorry for the ranting, but this brings me to my topic!

We have had the honour of Alfie's presence in our home for going on 11 years now. My sister was visiting in January 2007 when we saw him running in the middle of the road in town. We stopped and picked him up, a hairy, filthy, matted soul, terrified and confused, and took him to the vet in town. Of course he had no collar, no identification. She assured us that she would keep him, look after him until he was claimed, failing which, she would send him to the local boarding kennels on a farm.

Of course when we got home we told Rob all about this little dog, and he casually asked, 'So, what do you want to do about it?'
The vet was phoned with instructions to clean him up, give him his injections (we knew it was a 'him' by carefully feeling underneath when we first picked him up!), and I would be in to fetch him the very next day!

Alfie, I think this was his first day home with us!

When we went back to fetch him, the vet brought out this tiny little dog!
'That isn't the dog I brought in' I said.......
'Yes, it is him, we had to shave him' was the reply!

He came home and has been Rob's constant companion since that day.

The Loyal look... waiting for a little nibble....

We bought a caravan so he could come on holiday with us.....

Alfie camping!

He has been good for us, making us walk every day! He has never been sick, but we notice now that his eye is clouding and he cannot jump over the gate as easily as he once could. He had a tooth removed a little while ago, and has a few soft lumps that the vet assures us are not malignant and can remain.

The windswept look!

We are growing old together, Alfie, Rob and me.

But, as today is National Dog Day, he will have a special supper!

But for Alfie..... every day is the Day of the Dog.

I wish everybody who has a dog, could say the same.