The Dog Sandwich
Don’t worry, this is not a recipe. At least not for a meal or a snack. It is a recipe for joy though. As with food, I suppose it will not work for everyone, but it works for me. It is a staple that I live on.
I lived outside of South Africa for about nine years. My son was small and we always knew we would not be in a place for longer than a year. I always wanted a dog; I grew up with dogs and always had dogs after that, but when we went oversees our two dogs went to live with my parents on the farm. My son was three then. Getting a dog was difficult because transporting animals between countries is costly and sometimes complicated. Our longest stay at the same address, or at least in the same city, was Dubai, where we lived for five and a half years.
By the time my boy was nine, I thought it was just too sad to let a child grow up without a dog. We then adopted Bandit the Beagle. He is no longer here but I still think of him and miss him. I could write a whole book about Bandit the Beagle, but let me do that some other time.
Today I want to write about how I moved out of the darkness into sunnier, lighter days, as the filling in a dog sarmi.
Skapie, aka Slinky Toykie is my long dog. She has, surprisingly, a long body on fairly short legs. Nope, she is not a sausage dog. Probably a bit of German Shepherd and a bit of Border Collie, and then a bit of something else that is a lot smaller and would account for the short legs. She is a beautiful dog though! I fell in love her the first time I saw her at an acquaintance’s house. She greeted me at the gate and had the friendliest face and the nicest smile. Her owners also had kittens and she carried the kittens around as if they were her own puppies.
This poor dog has been through a lot and I suspect I don’t even know the bulk of it. She was picked up by the Animal Welfare Society in Gordon’s Bay as a stray dog. Named Carrie, she stayed at AWS for 8 months and didn’t get adopted. Then, someone I was Facebook friends with adopted her. They had her for 6 months before they sold their house and moved into a complex where they could not have dogs. That was how Slinky Toykie came to me.
She was scared and nervous at first. As the weeks progressed, she slowly became incredibly playful, loving and protective. I have had her for almost 2 years now, and she is a happy, well-adjusted dog who loves her Mom.
I lost a dog in the dark months when this blog started. A Spaniel. He was not mine, but my partner’s and I loved him to bits. He loved me too. A lot. We were close, him and me, and we had many good times, and as many bad times together. He made himself a man cave in my cupboard and would sleep there whenever he got gatvol with the women in his life. There was this one night his human mom spent in jail and I came home around midnight after trying to get her out, to find Mr. Spaniel covered in cow poo. I bathed him at that time of the night and dried him as much as I could and tried to reassure him because he suffers from separation anxiety when his mom is not with him.
She thought I had finally had it with her and was going to leave him outside in the cold, but the truth is, that is just not who I am. Besides the fact that I could never be mean to an animal, I loved her, and the dog, too much. Maybe one day I will be able to post a picture of him. For now, I can’t bear to look at those pictures. It hurts too much. I miss him more than I can describe, and Slinky Toykie missed him for long, and frankly, I don’t even want to think about it all. I only brought it up to set the scene and make people understand the significance of what I want to get to next. Bear with me.
In the winter of this year, 2017, a friend of mine’s mother sadly passed away. She had a little dog. Anita, my friend, could not keep the doggie and started looking for a home for her. She showed me a picture of a little black and white spaniel, sitting between yellow flowers, looking up at the camera. It was the brown eyes and the smile on her face that hooked me immediately.
I tried to resist because I couldn’t really, and actually still can’t, afford another dog, but to make a long story short – Xena is now the one slice of bread in the dog sandwich. I could not resist. I lost one Spaniel, and although I don’t believe you can ever replace someone, be it canine or human, I am very, very happy to have found a new Spaniel. Little Xena is amazing. Cute like you can’t believe, and she laughs. Really, she makes a little laughing sound when she is happy. She was depressed at first. Remember her human mom is no longer here. Now she is getting happier, showing her personality, and laughing more and more.
Slinky sleeps on her bed next to mine. Xena sleeps with me. In the early hours of the morning, when it gets too cold, Slinky jumps on the bed and crawls up behind my back. Xena sleeps on my other side. They sandwich me in. That is how I wake up in the mornings. A bit happier.
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