Goodbye Poppy!

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Today we say goodbye to the last little puppy, Poppy Reid. She is flying back to Cape Town with her new parents Penny and Mark who have been visiting us for the past two days. All of us have become very attached to little Poppy, especially Hope and Coco who spend hours playing together in the garden. Coco is still very attached to her little ones so it must be hard for her when they don’t come home, but at least little Hope is staying with her. We’re going to have our hands full with two beagles, because they really do like chasing after scents and it’s impossible to stop them running off once they’re on a trail. In fact, Coco has been taking puppies on expeditions up the mountain whenever she gets a gap, which usually ends in some kind of rescue mission to retrieve a crying distressed puppy! They are simply not big enough or brave enough to keep up with their mother so it’s been quite stressful keeping them safe. We’ve had an incredible 10 weeks with Coco’s litter, but all good things must come to an end and it’s time for life to return to normal. I am so grateful that all four little ones have gone to amazing people who will take good care of them and keep us updated on their progress. What a rewarding and joyful experience this has been and a little insight to what’s in store when our real deal baby arrives in January! Goodbye little Poppy. Thank you for your love. Be well, be safe and be happy with your new family. We will miss you little one.

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Hello Winter

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We’re back! After an amazing holiday in Spain it feels like I’ve been “in transit” for the past few days. I spent a few days in Joburg after we got back, followed by a quick trip home before I leave again tomorrow for the opening of my grandmother’s exhibition at the SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch (see Hannatjie van der Wat: In Retro – Seventy-Year Career Survey). I am so excited for her and feel extremely privileged to be able to share this proud moment honouring her career as an artist.

Winter has very definitely arrived in the Eastern Free State! Although the days are clear and bright, night time temperatures have dropped to zero bringing the frost with it. Our house is situated against a mountain, which protects the garden a bit. In fact, there is a stark difference between the leaves on the poplar trees next to the house and those in the valley. This afternoon I needed a bit of farm soul food so I went for a walk with Tumi and Coco. Paris and Patch were off somewhere with Quentin. I took the camera along and could not resist snapping away in the beautiful golden light. As I left our yard, the sheep were being brought back to the kraals. We did a big loop down to the valley and then returned to see that the sheep were all safely put to rest for the night. The light was fading quickly by the time I got home, but I couldn’t resist a photo of the garden, which still has a few roses, some beautiful purple irises and pink daisy bushes in fine form. As much as I love travelling and seeing new sights, I have to admit, home trumps all!

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Stragglers.

Stragglers.

Coco in her element.

Coco in her element.

Valley Poplars.

Poplars in the valley.

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Happy hounds.

Happy hounds.

Still a few golden leaves.

Still a few golden leaves.

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Safely kraaled for the night.

Safely kraaled for the night.

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Garden in the fading sun.

Garden in the fading light.

Coco’s Year in the Wars

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I might not have a baby, but I have Coco. My gorgeous moanie groanie hound dog puppy. She turns 1 tomorrow. Happy birthday Coco!

Coco at 3 months.

Coco’s had an eventful first year. In fact, it’s a miracle she’s made it this far with all the trouble she gets herself into. She has big ears. But they are just there for show. They only work when she feels like listening.

Little Miss Moanie Groanie

At the end of her first week with us she almost had her head bitten off whilst trying to eat out of Paris’ bowl – our 60kg blind Boerboel (see A Few Words on Pet Names).  There started the first of many hair raising car trips to the town vet 17 kilometers away. It’s amazing she was okay. Look how tiny she was compared to that big dog!

Meeting Patch and Tumi for the first time.

Less than a month later, while I was in Paris on a business trip, she devoured a tub of bright blue rat poison whilst sniffing around one of our storerooms. Fearing my wrath, Quentin made it to town in under 10 minutes and once again, the lovely vet fixed her.

At five months, she was out on the farm with Quentin and the other dogs one Friday morning. One thing led to another and crunch, she was under the back wheels of the bakkie. What a panic! Poor Quentin, he felt so bad. At the vet we discovered that her tail and pelvis were broken and she was admitted over the weekend for observation. Bed rest for a puppy is no joke and we had to construct this 1m x 1m cage to keep her contained. Poor baby, just look at her! Fortunately she was still growing because she made a full recovery.

Don’t let me go near those car wheels ever again!

I worried that her tail would never stand upright again, but it did!

Queen of the mountain!

She grew and thrived and became more confident in her milieu. She has no fear of cows and amuses herself for hours chasing meerkat and barking at the sheep near the house, in true hound dog style. But the day came when she encountered a rinkhals (spitting cobra) and it spat in her eye… another mad rush to town! After cleaning it with milk and water her eye was fine. Phew!

A boring rainy day inside… think I’ll just eat this dried mealie.

Thinking that she is getting grown up now I stopped worrying so much. But then last week she came in from a long run in the rain and started acting funny. After giving her a bath to rinse off all the mud (because she can’t help but lie on my down-filled scatter cushions) she started to throw up. After about an hour she became disoriented and lost her balance. She was groaning and moaning and drooling. She looked very sick. At 8pm I called the vet and got into the car in the rain. He agreed that she was not well. Had she had her rabies shot?

Miss Miserable in a familiar spot.

After a night of rehydrating at the vet, I was told I could fetch her. The prognosis: Garbage Disease. I kid you not. Garbage Disease! From something she ate whilst scrounging in the dustbins or goodness knows where on the farm.

I don’t know what the next close shave will be or when she will use up her nine lives, but it has certainly not been a boring ride so far. I love you Coco! Please make it through the next year in one piece.

My favourite spot on the back of the bakkie howling at the cows!