Friday, December 19, 2014

Askari dogs' assembly point

This past week Michael and I have done a spot of gardening. I'd had  hibiscus, a couple of lemon trees, and other shrubs in pots so it was merely a matter of digging holes, adding compost (we have a rich stash already this summer) and filling the hole with water. Then Michael removes the plant from its pot, places its new home, covers with ground and stamps it down. 

Of course, this is all relatively simple except that in our garden Michael had to contend with five very inquisitive pups sniffing and tugging at everything with Unca Nando and Mama Princess tails-wagging, tongues lolling and nosing in as much as possible. 

No sooner had he completed the last task when Princess and the pups took up their positions around a flamboyant sapling Michael had planted near the gate. He said to me, "Look Bibi, Askari Assembly Point! " Our askaris/gate guards regularly meet at an assembly point where they're put through their paces, refreshing their tactics. 
Princess, head Askari dog and her team 

Bibi - right and Colonel at her tail, had a hard night of guarding the property! Msichana Neusi (behind Bibi) checks up that the tree is growing properly

Michael and I are teaching the dogs not to jump up. I showed him how to flick a pup on the nose , which hurts just enough for it to know that what it had just done caused this slight pain.  In the video clip below you'll hear Michael saying: "Don't jump" and on one thumbnail, his normally soft, friendly countenance was most stern as he pushed his hand - palm downwards - and said: "Down!" 

As I focused specifically on Princess, I realized that the day the pups celebrated their third-month birthday, Princess had been with us exactly one year. For those readers who don't know Princess' tail  er - tale - see here.

This time of the year is normally one of retrospection. I think of projects undertaken (as this post is aired, I'm at Amanda's home in the client camp, helping her and other expat ladies make up parcels for the Christmas party being held at Buhangija Center for Blind and Albino children in Shinyanga tomorrow) and various other tasks we've supported Marita in. One of my most successful has that of raising confident and obedient dogs in our care. 

Princess has become a beautiful, adult and loyal dog and one who will not lapse again (LOL); her pups are such a pleasure to have around (yes, even five boisterous little tykes) and Nando? Well, with Nando it's just heart-warming to watch how another dog has fitted in and responded so well to the love and attention shown him here at House No 2!



  1. I can't get over how big the pups are now and they are certainly learning to not jump up. Loved the video.

  2. You are to be commended for your work with animals.

  3. Hello Jo, I love seeing your pups and Princess. I think you and Michael will do well training the pups. Have a happy and weekend ahead!

  4. it is good to teach them not to jump, it would be hard having 5 dogs jumping up at the same time. another thing to do is knee to the chest, not hard to hurt but to stop them while saying down... they are just so precious, all of them

  5. yes, i do the raised-knee-to-the-chest to dissuade pups from jumping up. that way they don't get afraid of my hands reaching for them. :) so adorable. so glad princess and nando are with you. the pups have a great start with you!

  6. What a great troop of helpers. I'll bet they loved that cool moist earth.

  7. What a dormitory ! I think dogs learn very quickly when they are young ! I am also in Christmas gift wrapping !


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