Last time there was lots of packing and squeezing of bags into the car, I got left behind in Cape Town while Lucie and Lachlan hiked the Otter Trail. This time there was packing, I was prepared and absolutely determined that my owners would take me. I sat right next to Lula the Landy all day and was relieved when I noticed my treats, toys and kennel also being packed. If only I had known then how vital my role on our journey was to be, I would not have got my tail in such a twist. It turns out that my keen hearing, ferocious growl and sharp gnashers are going to help my owners sleep much more soundly when we are camping in dodgy areas.
I am eight months old now. In fact, in the two weeks that we have been travelling I have grown bigger, so much so my collar has had to be loosened twice. I’ve also met some total lunatics who I have been practicing my growl on. On Route 62, there was that demented cockerel who woke me up at 4:30am, lucky for him I was tied up otherwise he would have been drumsticks. Then at Oudtshoorn I met truly terrifying ostriches, Jack the Ripper and Suzy the Stripper, boy was I thankful for that fence. On the Wild Coast there were insomniac long horned cows with clanking bells that I had to bark at all night and thieving acrobatic monkeys to boot. In Lesotho I was ganged up on by a motley crew of mountain ponies and donkeys, I hunted ice rats by the Sani Pass and I am quite convinced that one night a cheeky jackal had his eye on my Hills dog food.
I’ve made some good mates along the way too; playful Alsatian Blaze, Suzy the Jack Russell who I think secretly had the hots for me and that’s why she kept on with the biting, dainty Daisy the Dachshund who disappeared in long grass and whose long ears made a funny flapping noise when she shook and I shared the contents of a delicious dustbin with a fox red Lab called Amber. We stayed with a dear sausage dog duo called Pippa and Chippy at Bushman’s River. They made me feel right at home and even lent me a dog basket so that I would have a good nights kip.
Pippa is what Mma Ramotswe would call traditionally built (she is almost as wide as she is long which is very fat as sausage dogs are very long) with expressive orange dots for eyebrows and a kind maternal nature. We went for a long walk on the beach together and I was really impressed with Chippy, for such a little chap he sure was speedy and he expertly spotted objects on the beach that required a good sniff. We tore up and down the dunes together with the wind in our ears.
Then something horribly sad and totally unexpected happened. The saddest thing that’s ever happened in my short life. Chippy ate something poisonous on the beach, maybe old sardines in a tin or some rotting fishing bate, whatever it was made Chippy very sick. He went to the vet but the poison was too potent for his little body and he died.
We dogs are transient friends who bless our owners lives for only a short time. Chippy was such a happy wee fellow. He had a wonderful life full of love from his owners and Pippa. One thing that I am so glad of is that we spent that special day on the beach but it has still been very hard to say goodbye.
Cheerio Chippy. I hope that in heaven there are lots of cats for you to chase, sandy dunes to sprint up and down and that you don’t miss Pippa too much. We will all miss you.