Vida – my dog, all precious dogs

Thousands of years ago man domesticated a wolf (probably for hunting purposes). Not happy with that genetic messing about (yes, your dog is a GMO!), a few hundred years ago man created what we know as ‘breeds’. I won’t go into the horror of the discarded creatures during the build up to breeds nor the bullshit associated with snobby breed pretentiousness because most animal lovers know all this. But dogs … why are they man’s best friend? How did they get to be so loyal and so favoured by humans who, let’s face it, are actually quite selfishly fussy and not generally inclined to appreciate the simple things in life?

Damned if I know, I’m not a shrink. All I know is that every day I have with my little mutt is a better day than without her.

Nine years ago I went through a patch of being burgled several times at the same time as personal sadness. Several people said “Get a dog, get a dog’. In South Africa many people treat dogs as security measures. I wasn’t really keen to do that because my property is small and I had a full-time job so no time to house-train a new dog. Then things changed and I was working from home a lot so I started thinking of maybe getting a dog. It had to be a puppy; I wanted that bond from almost-birth.

Many stray pregnant bitches give birth in dodgy places. The lucky ones are rescued and for a brief time there are puppies available at the SPCA. (I support the SPCA whenever I can with donations and during the recent lockdown I donated to their charity shop the results of a massive decluttering of my home – from clothes to rugs to suitcases and even my wedding dress!)

A visit to my local SPCA and this little furry ball jumped into my arms and the next thing I was being assessed as a potential dog owner. And then the furry ball was mine. My responsibility, my puddle of pee, my cuddly little 12 week old puppy with no name. I named her Vida at the suggestion of a friend who said it was a no-brainer because my life was a bit shitty at the time and she was going to bring me .. life.

No, you will not be allowed on the bed. That lasted one night, one whole night. And I don’t care. My bed is her bed, my couch is her couch, my car is her car. Ok, that last one took a while to deal with and we won’t go into too much detail. Suffice to say she now knows the car leads to fun places and is worth the trip. We don’t have nice walking places in my immediate suburb but within a short driving distance are some lovely green patches of nature and mountains and beaches so we appreciate all of them.

I am besotted with her so maybe I do understand why so many people feel that way about their dogs. They are unconditionally the best creatures to have around. All they want is food and warmth. They do not judge. They do not betray. They do not argue. They are not bigots. They don’t care if your house is fancy or trendy or not. They don’t care how much money you have or if your hair needs a cut. They are better than humans, I prefer them to humans.

Sadly, they don’t live very long so we have short time to love and appreciate, there is no time for bullshit. They seem to know this so they make the most of it and enjoy the simple things like walks and forests and beaches and catching balls and fetching sticks. And treats and limitless cuddles and tummy rubs.

I have thousands of photos of Vida so bear with me, here are a few. The black and white dog is Havana; she is my son’s dog and lives mostly with me at the moment. She’s about the same age and is a recent immigrant from France, where she was born into, and rescued from, a gypsy family. My son likes to brag that she is well-travelled because she’s been all over France and Spain. He also brags that she can fetch sticks – Vida does not bother with such activities because if you want the stick you can fetch it yourself. Vida claims she is not a trick pony and has more important things to do. Havana sheds hair everywhere and barks out of sheer excitement right next to your ear. But we still love her.

Ending off as usual with a link to my crowdfunding campaign to save my tourism business. Thanks for the contributions, they are welcome and you are wonderful! Stay safe and wear your mask.

NB: Ads on this free blog site are not of my choosing and I derive no benefit from them. I might sign up for paid advertising if I can be assured that the ads will be tasteful but I am not sure if I can have any control nor how it works – if anyone has advice, please share it.

About Francoise Armour

I run a small touring company (Tours du Cap) at the bottom of Africa, to show visitors the beauty and vibrant culture of the country I have lived in since my parents brought me here from France as a child. I enjoy taking photos and wish I had learnt to do it properly. I enjoy writing but don't do enough of it. I enjoy walking in the mountains that surround me and I marvel over the views and the flowers and the amazing rock formations. I have a small, cute, clever, black dog of indeterminable breed, named Vida, who reminds me regularly that walking and getting out is not only for when tourists want it.

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A note to all accidental visitors:

I am not a photographer and do not claim to have any particular skills whatsoever in that department. I have enormous respect for those who can see the potential in a scene and can create a great photo. Good photography is an art, in my opinion.

I am just a happy snapper, I have no special lenses or accessories, my camera is very simple and it's usually best to leave the setting on auto.

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