The Dogs Again!!!!: As most of you know John and I adopted two dogs. We got little Rati (means Lovey in Setswana) and fell so madly in love with her that we told her sisters owner we wanted little Phoenix (we shortened to FiFi) for a year – and she gave her to us. I never loved or needed an animal so much.
I love them: The dogs are so easy to love. They love me so completely and unconditionally. When I come home after a crappy day and I want to yell or scream or cry – they won’t let me because they are so happy to see me and want my love so bad, that I have to be nice and reciprocate – and it always turns my bad feelings around.
They are also predictable, which is a comfortable thing to have in Botswana with a culture that I find hard to understand and difficult to penetrate. Batswana people think we are crazy that we make their food, take them on walks, comb their hair, give them baths, let them in our house and sleep in our bed. They attempt to taunt me at times and say, “Are these your BABIES ???”. I smile broadly and affirm they are. John and I call ourselves mommy and daddy for the dogs sake in front of all. John Kyle was asked to accept them as his sisters while he was here. The Batswana shake their head in despair at what they consider our insanity. Nearly all of them pity us or think we are too lonely for words. Animals are respected much less than children if you can fathom that.
Finally, they love me more than John. John has always had a good way with animals and turns vicious attack dogs into lay on the back and get a belly rub from my new and best friend dogs with in two minutes of meeting every time. But these dogs look to me as there master and John is a clear second. It is cool to be adored over the Dog Whisper of Botswana too.
One of my more level headed PCV friends told me I was in danger of going too far with the dogs, and in fact I was on the brink of becoming a crazy dog lady. She told me when I started buying them clothes and dressing them up – that would be the sure sign.
The Mats: After a year, my cute little Maltese puppies (the Internet said I could call them puppies for 18 months) had to many mats for me to remove with the tools I had. The dust, sand, animal poop, thorns, stickers and other day to day dirt
became embedded and entangled and could not be washed, combed or pulled out with my hairbrush. Of course there are no pet stores with steal combs or mat removers. We did our best – but it finally got ahead of us. We spent a month planning and saving to take them to a groomer in Gaborone who said they could remove all mats for P160 or about $20 per dog. Of course everything about getting two dogs anywhere without transportation is horrid. But we did it.
The groomers where better than most people here, but not exactly what I would call “good with animals”. They pulled about half the hair out as my dogs, as they mostly cried and Rati tried to bite them a few times. The workers told me my dogs were spoiled and and threatened to quit – and I had to hold them myself as they pulled out the hair by the handfuls – and I am not exaggerating. After five employees spent 2 hours – they there beautiful and silky for the first time!!!!
I couldn’t stand the thought of them chasing chickens through the bush and getting covered with embedded dirt that does not wash out with shampoo.
The T-Shirts: We went to the store and bought 4 infant size T-shirt for a total of $8 to protect them from the dirt/sand/thorns/poop/twigs/stickers. And now they are SO SO CUTE!!!!
It’s Official: I have crossed over and I am “the crazy dog lady”. I can hardly wait to see how my Batswana friends react to this!