The pups crowd at the fence while Princess keeps a close watch them and Michael!
Here is Zechariah, my night askari who keeps an eye on the pups who now sleep outside the huts but in the enclosure at night
Joshua my Friday askari/angel!
Princess adores Joshua as much as Zechariah and Michael
I've been asked questions in many comments. One that comes up regularly is do I have homes for them. Some of you might remember that I did post on my and Michael's idea of re-homing the pups while they're still within sight of either of us. You can read about this here
We have several places of accommodation within sight of our home. And they could all do with a pup or two who'd grow up to be a good watch dog in due course. Meanwhile, I had to suggest this idea to Grant; I did and he agreed. Last week though, Nordeen, company security manager who lives up the road in another block of houses, asked for a pup. Although I believe that he, his family of two kids and the askari who guards his house will take good care of the pup he chooses, I walk past his house twice a day; every morning with Marita and every evening with Grant. So I can keep an eye on the pup until it's settled in well with Nordeen. I might even convince him to have two pups...
I'm hoping to still keep two here with Princess; we had three dogs before Buster was moved to guard another expat house and then two until Toffee died in August. Then I'd still like to have a pup as companion to Nando, the young dog at the Guest House. And that leaves one each at the two adjoining expat houses diagonally across from our house and opposite the Guest House.
All the pup placing will happen three weeks after I return from leave near the end of November. The pups will be twelve weeks old and can begin to adjust to their new homes. All that will then remain is for Michael and me to keep an eye on them, albeit from a distance.
Another comment was that I'd probably go on leave with a heavy heart this time. And the answer is yes! I am loathe to leave the pups in two weeks' time. But I've also shown the carers how to care for and keep them safe at all times. I've roped Regina in to cook ugali/maize meal which they'll progress to by then and to help keep the towels and blankets clean and dry.
The questions I've been asked locally is am I selling the pups? The answer is NOOOO. They are already booked. I've also stood by when workmen come into the yard to collect tools for jobs (the tool container is at the back of our house). And inevitably they all congregate around the puppy pen. I watch their expressions, these hardworking grown Africans, and see that they're touched by with the cuteness and healthy look the pups have. And the first question they ask Michael in Swahili is: how many females. When he answers five, they nod approvingly. A female dog is very sought after because she can breed many times in her ten-twelve years of life with them and her many pups can be sold.
Of course, then they ask me, if I am selling the pups. And the answer is noooo. Even a wonderful person like Michael or Joshua (who have not asked me because they know they can enjoy the pups daily here at my house without the costs) would be unable to care for a pup at home. The houses generally don't have fencing; even though the properties were fenced originally, the wire had long since been taken down for other more important uses. So the dog would be chained to a washing line pole or a remaining gate post. And not with a regular dog choker chain, such as I use to walk our dogs back home in South Africa. No, these chains are acquired cheaply at the hardware shops in Shinyanga and the links are thin and hard. They warp and twist and ultimately adhere so tightly to the stay that it chokes or chaffs the dog's skin.
The locals also have their own families to feed, so dog food isn't a priority. And unlike a Mzungu home where there often are leftovers, an African family only has enough for that specific meal for the people sitting down to it. Therefore that isn't an option.
So far not all the pups have names. They can be named when they 're placed in their new homes. The runt of the litter, a tiny female who looks like Princess, has remained several grams and centermeters behind the others in weight and size. Yet in intelligence, courage and activity she is way ahead all the others; even the pups who were born first, second and third and who are large and sturdy. Johan, who lives in the cottage behind our house and loves dogs, especially Princess and her pups, has said this little one should be called Bibi after me! (Bibi, my Swahili name means grandmother. It can also mean lady!) One of the two males looks a lot like Bibi only a little bigger and I'm already referring to him as Mvulana / Boy. The other little male is dark with white socks. Grant told Johan he could choose which dog we keep on the yard, and Johan chose this one. He named him Colonel. I didn't want to disillusion him, but a word with so many "L's" in it is most difficult for a Tanzanian to pronounce. But the name will stick.
So that's today's update on the pups and hopefully the questions answered satisfactorily.
Have a great week, everyone!