Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
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Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Walking the Woman

This morning, I am getting the collar and harness on our Jack Russell puppy, whom we have named Lily, (Who said she couldn't be a Lily, though I am told it is not a dog's name.') when I realise how clumsy I am. The animal is contemptuous. 

   I am reminded of the two dogs in Nelspruit then. (Well, actually, Nelspruit is now called Mbombela. Lost all its Afrikaner associations.  Not too dissimilar from Bombay becoming Mumbai and Madras, Chennai. But I just keep on calling them by their old names, the ones I have an association with, pre-independence.):

   Cody was the young brown male, pavement special breed, my friend Dorothy said. Joey the old, tired female had significant bits of Jack Russell in her and a very pretty face. When Cody got bored, he tried to persuade Joey to go out with him. They lived in this huge mansion with much garden space and the whole veld outside their front door.

   If you opened the impressive roll-back gate in front of the compound and stepped out, the path went left to the end of the housing estate and right towards Nelspruit town. Me and the dogs always walked left. No collars, no harnesses. There were no humans to be seen for miles and no traffic to worry about. No paraphernalia to carry around either.

   I did not have to take poo-bags with me. I did not have to hold a leash. The dogs ran happily in front of me. Well, Cody ran, but Joey hobbled along. They wandered off into the bush now and then and unfailingly did their deposits. They always returned to me when I called them.

   That fortnight in Nelspruit was a hot one. Dorothy gasped for breath and I broke out in a heat-rash on my face. Something I mind admitting, born and bred South Indian that I am. I think living in England has destroyed my heat defences and sucked all my D vitamin away.

   Joey sensibly, found her cot in that kind of weather or slept under a tree. Behind the living room curtains was also a favourite place. Cody could be found by mid-day under the living room fan, proudly displaying his masculinity.

A puff adder appeared from nowhere near the edge of the swimming pool and lay there, absolutely motionless until Cody found her and mayhem broke loose. It had crawled on to the edge of the swimming pool and had to be rescued and liberated by Sarah, Dorothy's daughter.

   England's test cricketers toiled in the heat and won two matches, but lost the series. After the first two matches, which we won, South Africa asserted itself and we also lost the plot. And the matches.

   Gradually, Cody got the message. I could be coaxed out if she hung around me and wagged her tiny tail. I got the impression she loved walking the old woman. I loved it as well.

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