World, meet Jasper

We’d been toying with the idea of getting a dog for some time, Guillaume and I.

Maybe it started with the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Border Collie we met during our first weekend away together in Tulbagh almost three years ago. For those two days, he was a constant companion – chilling on the stoep while we braaied and even joining us for a hike up the mountain in search of an elusive waterfall. We dubbed him Wouter for some reason and soon ‘Wouter’ became a central figure in our future dreams.

Our far-in-the-future dreams, that is. Because, let’s be honest – first, a long distance relationship and now, living several suburbs apart – our situation has been far from ideal for co-parenting a canine.

But, then, we stumbled upon the sweetest soul who somehow decided he had to be ours. And who were we to turn him down?

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Sandokan, the hipster

It’s official. My kittie. Is. A hipster.

I mean look at him. Wearing one of those hipster bandannas, camera tucked in tight by his side.

Sandokan, the hipster with a bandanna. Nadia Krige

Doing that longing, far-off gaze thing to absolute perfection.

Sandokan, the hipster. Nadia Krige

Posing in a well-lit window, showing off how unattainably relaxed and awesome his life is.

Sandokan, the hipster in a well lit window. Nadia Krige

Next thing I know, he will be drinking craft water with weirdo chicks.

Chicks.

Or popping his latest collars on a dedicated Tumblr.

Check out these pics of Sandokan in his rave phase.

 

Remembering Mully

Photo by Imar

After 13 exuberant years, we had to say goodbye to our Mully-dog yesterday. I’m sure after all the agony that old age had recently bestowed on him – legs so stiff that he could no longer lie down or vigorously scratch his flanks, a constant attack of fleas and ticks, and hazy eyes – he was relieved to drift off into peaceful dreams, no doubt of chasing little white birds along the beaches of Betty’s Bay.

He was fiercely protective over those he considered his own (which included quite many), at one with the nature that surrounded him – even though his wild romps with the sea birds were often misunderstood as being a predatorial chase, instead of a mutual game – sweet natured, funny… in short, he was the best.

What an honour to have been part of his pack.

To quote Pablo Neruda’s A dog has died:

“His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations….

how many times have I envied his tail
as we walked together on the shores of the sea
in the lonely winter of Isla Negra
where the wintering birds filled the sky
and my hairy dog was jumping about
full of the voltage of the sea’s movement:
my wandering dog, sniffing away
with his golden tail held high,
face to face with the ocean’s spray.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,
as only dogs know how to be happy
with only the autonomy
of their shameless spirit.”

 

Cat and dog

Strange to think they became such good friends.

Full moon on the beach

My wolf and I

My wolf and I

 

My cat on his thinking post

He stares into the grass, pretending to look for prey.

My cat spends a lot of time sitting on a certain pole that forms part of the fence surrounding our backyard. When he knows we’re around he feels compelled to look as though he’s busy with something constructive – i.e. scanning the bushes and grasses below for a catch to lay at our feet.

But when he thinks we’re not watching, he relaxes. He lifts up his head and stares. He stares at the mountain. Sometimes at the sky. He stares and stares and stares. For hours on end… and I know why.

And he pretends to make a move

BECAUSE…

The naming of cats is a difficult matter
It isn’t just one of your holiday games
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you a cat must have three different names

First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James
Such as Victor or Jonathan, George or Bill Bailey
All of them sensible, everyday names

There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames
Such as Plato, Admetas, Electra, Demeter
But all of them sensible everyday names

But I tell you a cat needs a name that’s particular
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?

Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo or Coricopat
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum
Names that never belong to more than one cat

But above and beyond there’s still one name left over
And that is the name that you never will guess
The name that no human research can discover
But the cat himself knows, and will never confess

When you notice a cat in profound meditation
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought
Of the thought
Of the thought
Of his name

His ineffable effable effanineffable
Deep and inscrutable singular name

(From Cats – the musical)

I called him Sandokan, and even though he sometimes seems to love me... I think he is searching for another name