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.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

A Trundle And A Train!

Today we went on a trundle!
The flowers are just beginning to open, in fact we had a wonderful show of rain daisies this week, a day after our 5 mm rain. Talking of rain, this month we have had 16 mm compared to the average August total of 71 mm..... so we have a loooong way to go and time is running out. The farmers (them what knows weather), keep insisting that the big rain is coming, but we are getting tired of hearing it, just as we are getting tired of  'plans are in place to bore holes, start desalination and recyle grey water' given out daily by the City of Cape Town. Our dams are now at 31% full compared to last year's 53%, 89% in 2015 and 105% in 2014 in August. And still our precious water is being abused.
Some rain daisies... our fields are a mass of white now.

Anyway, back to today.
Rob and I just love steam trains! In fact we love trains, period, but here in SA our lines stand overgrown and our rolling stock is rusting away in various places around the country. The beautiful old Railway Stations have been vandalised and destroyed, except for a few that have been rescued privately and turned into restaurants.
So when Rob heard about a steam train coming from Cape Town, up the West Coast and passing through places close to us on the way, we started planning a trundle to find it and take some photos and just stare! And wave at the driver! The special train bringing flower-spotters on a flower-spotting tour, would begin it's journey in Cape Town, wind it's way to Malmesbury, then on to Moorreesburg, then Piketberg for an hour stop, then on to Graafwater where it would overnight before doing a quick trip tomorrow, back to Graafwater and home again on Sunday.
The original sign. 107 miles to Cape Town.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Cat-Trap Update!

I thought that I would follow-up on my last rambling writings as I left you kind of in the lurch. I had the trap, my daughter was due to arrive and hopefully I could report some positive news!

Read on!
As Tuesday 8 August was the International Day of the Cat, this report back about cats seemed to tie in very nicely. The International Day of the Cat was started in 2002, and August 8 is the Day! In this house, every day is the day of the cat, so Tuesday slid by without being noticed!! At that stage we were making sure that the abscess on Morris' head was clean and that we were managing to shove the antibiotic down him morning and evening. (I bless the pill-popper every time I use it!)

Anyway....digression time there as usual!
Catherine has trapped many cats in her time in Dubai, so she took charge. We decided to trap in the early morning so that we could get the patient to the vet early and have her awake by the time we picked her up later in the day. Also, we didn't want an awake and agitated feral spending more time in the trap than was necessary. So, 6.30 on Thursday morning last week (gulp, still dark), we grabbed torch, dish with tuna, trap, blanket and a cable tie to close the 'front' door once we had placed the dish with tuna inside and crept past the still sleeping houses and into the garden where I always put the food. Catherine set the trap while I stood watching and holding the torch for her, she covered it with a blanket, and home we came for coffee and breakfast (thanks to Rob!)

After breakfast Catherine went back to see if we had caught anything.... yes! There was a tabby in the trap, quietly crouching and warily watching!

We loaded the trap into the car and set off to the vet! I was elated that it had been so easy, Catherine popped my bubble by calling it 'beginners luck'!

The vet was in darkness!!! No operation. They didn't know what the problem was, but until it was fixed they couldn't help us..... come back tomorrow!
We left and trekked off in thick mist to find the other vet!

They were open, had power and yes they could (and did) help, so we dropped our little terrified tabby and headed for the Hospice Shop as Thursday is my volunteering morning! When we returned to the vet later in the afternoon, (after a delicious lunch of fish and chips and salad at the nursery in St Helena Bay), our little soul was still very drowsy, so we decided to leave her in the trap overnight in the garage, covered with a blanket with food and water available.

By now I was ready to catch another one!

So, Friday at 6.30 (eish) we carried our still occupied trap, plus the torch, food, etc back to the feeding station and let her out! Off she went, none the worse for wear and we re-set the trap and went home!
When we returned an hour later...success! There was another catch!

Except this time, instead of a feral that we wanted, we had caught the cat who lives next door! And he was furious! I have never seen such an angry cat. He spat and growled, his tail was puffed like a bottlebrush, and if looks could kill both Catherine and I would have dropped on the spot!
He shot off home to tell everyone about his adventures!

So we went home empty-trapped.

Catherine went home later on Friday, and I have tried this week alone. With no luck. I was going to try again yesterday but there was rain in the forecast (yay yay yay) so I am leaving it till next week.
Juniper (the patient) is fine, I have seen her a few times when I feed, so hopefully I shall catch Jasmine and Jennifer next week. Why all the J names? After Jacobsbaai of course! (My sister said I should have called them January, June and July. Guess Jan, June and Julia would have worked!)

Fortunately Michelle does not need the trap at the moment, so hopefully I have time to catch before they are 'in trouble'.

Now I am planning to make a little house for them from a wheelie bin. I shall cut a hole in the lid, lie the bin on its side with the lid closed and have blankets inside. I think it will make a super house.

Next step..... steal a bin!!