The pole-yard dog

22 03 2013

There’s an old song by Jim Croce (long deceased) where a character is described as being “… meaner than a junkyard dog”. I have no idea why a junkyard dog should be mean as I have never come across one. Ella, or Erra as the Shona speakers pronounce the name, is no junkyard dog. She is old, very over-weight and very gentle and I would think a Lab x Rottweiler.  I have being going to the particular pole-yard where she lives on Harare Drive for quite a few years now and she sometimes comes to say hello, her tail wagging gently.

Ella has not been badly treated at all by Zimbabwean standards but there has not been a lot of love in her life. I watched on one visit as she walked up to someone her tail wagging expectantly but he didn’t even notice her and her head sagged, her tail dropped and she walked off dejectedly to lie in the sun. So when a couple of weeks back I noticed that she was covered in ticks I decided to do what I could and bought some spot-on Frontline® tick chemical and called in on my way out-of-town. I discovered that no-one actually owns Ella but the person who took responsibility for her was genuinely pleased that I’d gone to the trouble so I showed him the container and applied the contents to Ella. It emerged that she is only fed sadza (cooked maize meal) which would account for her large girth.  There was little more I could do except keep an eye on her.

I called in yesterday on business and she was sleeping by the building that serves as an office. I couldn’t see any ticks on her and she didn’t respond to my call so I left her dreaming her old dog dreams. As I got in the truck to drive off her “owner” reached down and gave her an unselfconscious pat. She didn’t move.

An old dog dreams

An old dog dreams

Rhodesian Ridgebacks – the breed description

20 10 2011

The Wikipedia page on Rhodesian Ridgebacks is quite clear – “Ridgebacks are strong-willed, intelligent, and many seem to have a penchant for mischief, though loving.” This is not part of the official breed standard as listed by the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of Great Britain. Maybe it should be. Kharma, my 3 and a bit year old RR seems well familiar with the concept.

“Kharma come here. I need to clean your eyes.”

Dutifully comes to me and sits with her head behind me so I cannot easily get to her.

“No, Kharma. Sit. Here!” I indicate a position in front of my knees.

She turns around, sits in front of me then lies down and rolls over.


She stands and walks off.

A Dog Day

6 11 2008

So it’s all over. Bully for Barack Obama but will he live up to the charisma? We will have to wait for the answer on that but his election will almost certainly do nothing for the Zimbabwe situation. Why should it? We still don’t have anything that the US wants. Curiously the results of the US election were known within 6 hours of the poll closing. We still don’t know the results of ours some 6 months later!

Yesterday was oppressively hot as only November can be in Zimbabwe. There were vague promises of storms but the real rains only start around the middle of the month. I needed to make a short trip of around 50km to go and pay for the next load of used peat moss that we use in the nursery. It costs 3 dollars (all prices are in US now) a bag of 100 litres which is expensive for a waste product but we are getting used to paying high prices in Zimbabwe now; 26 dollars for an oil filter for my pickup, 275 dollars for switchgear for a borehole that would have been expensive at 75 (it consisted of a capacitor, overload relay and metal box to hold it). Anyway, I was looking forward to a trip out of town which is something that I rarely do these days.

On my way out I crossed over some traffic lights that were not working (power cut) which is one way to control the traffic; people are much more cautious when they don’t know what’s going on. About 100m down the road a white Jack Russell dog ran into the road. I had plenty of time to avoid it and as it did not look lost I hooted and it moved off the road. There was a lot of hooting behind me and looking in the rear view mirror I was horrified to see it back in the road and running in front of a large and impatient pickup. Fortunately there was plenty of space to pull over which I quickly did and opened my door and called. A very scared little dog leapt into the cab and literally burrowed under the clutch pedal. It took me a while to extricate her and she then burrowed under my left arm. It was not long before a concerned (I think he thought I was stealing the dog) gardener ran up to the cab to claim the dog back. I handed Candy back to him and carried on out of town. Somehow the rest of the day seemed a bit more tolerable.