Farewell to Shiloh of the Ears

Dog with stick

Shiloh and the very first fabric toy stick that we bought for her. There are more pictures at the end of this post.

This Friday it will be three weeks since the death of Shiloh of the Ears.
Our dog, who was only eight years old, succumbed in the early hours of the morning of Friday August 17 to a horrible cancer, of the spleen thought the vet. We had an appointment to “put her to sleep”, as they say, but death came earlier, and I was glad of that. Better to go on her cushion next to my bed than in fear at the Horrible Place.
She and I had spent a lot of time in the Horrible Place in the run-up to her death, trying to find out what was wrong with her, coming and going with packets of pills and fear and hope in my heart. In her heart there was just fear. She would sit on the vet’s scale in the hope that being a good dog would make me take her home again (because she would always sit on it to be weighed, so obediently, not like other dogs who wriggle and bounce).
She had not been our dog – my dog – for long.
This coming September 24 will be the second anniversary of the day she came to live with us, a gift from a family emigrating to the United States and unable to take her with them. The Snymans posted her picture on Facebook, and since we had been looking for a new dog, and they said “good with cats”, she seemed perfect for us. And she was (good with cats, and perfect).
Her predecessor, our first dog Indiana, taught me the Way of the Dog, to like them, to understand the joyous and irritating and noisy and fun ways that dogs are are nothing like cats.

Saving the world, one dog at a time

A dog of uncertain mind and big heart.

Cape Town – A long time ago I copied down something out of Time magazine, from an interview with the Dalai Lama.

This is what he said: “Whenever I leave a hotel room, I always try to switch off the light. In a way, it’s silly. But if another ten persons follow my example, then 100 persons, there is an effect. From that point of view, I believe that constant effort, tireless effort, pursuing clear goals with sincere effort is the only way. It’s the only way! The bigger nations and more powerful leaders are not taking care. And God is also somewhere asleep, I think. So we poor human beings, we must make the attempt.”

This last week I met some people who are making the attempt.

Dinner, with a side order of story

Cape Town – “So,” said the rather vexed voice,” they’ve moved in, with two cats.”

“Of course,” she continued,”my father-in-law can’t organise anything at all.”

The cashier wanted my card, so I missed the answer.

The same cross voice continued: “And he’s started drinking again.”

I missed the next bit as my shopping was handed to me.

“We must do lunch,” said another voice.

I had to stop myself from going over and asking if I too could come to the lunch. Why, I wanted to know, were the cats such a problem? What had the father-in -law failed to organise? And who, for the love of all that is holy, had started drinking again?

Welcome to my Great Big Bad Hair Life

Cape Town – When I was at school, there was a girl who had shiny, straight, black hair.

I wanted her hair more than almost anything.

Mine was (and is) an unmanageable mess – a wavy, frizzy, bumpy, boring brown mass of hair. Short or long, it has kinks and cowslicks and crinkles, and a tendency to go to dreadlocks if I neglect to brush it with great fierceness at least twice a day.

Why we love Lego, kits and all

A Lego creation

A Lego creation

According to British TV presenter Ben Fogle, Lego is a Bad Thing.

Apparently Fogle is an adventurer (though perhaps not as well known in South Africa as Bear Grylls), and he had a rush of blood to the head at the annual conference of the Boarding Schools’ Association in Manchester.

Oddly, as he was once a brand ambassador for Lego, he is reported to have told the gathering that modern Lego is harming children’s development and stifling creativity because of the rise of prescriptive build-it-yourself kits.

SA history just an exercise in boredom?

Cape Town – So, Freedom Day.

On Tuesday night I reflected quietly on the freedom of not setting an alarm for the following morning, but resisted the temptation to share the thought on social media for fear of seeming to trivialise the day [April 27].

On Wednesday we had a friend round for a braai, who said that as she was driving to our house someone on the radio was talking about how we voted all those years ago, and were part of history before it became history. I asked my 13 year old if he knew what Freedom Day commemorated and he rolled his eyes at me. Of course he knows. 

Forget the ‘BitchSwitch’ and get to work

Cape Town – So, is there a “bitch switch” or not?

Cell C CEO Jose do Santos has had a terrible week for saying – on online radio station CliffCentral- that they do. After an outcry, he apologised. Then senior women managers at Cell C issued a statement supporting him, saying that while he had chosen some inappropriate words, these were “far outweighed [by] what he has done for every employee in this company, particularly women”.

And Adriaan Groenewald, who interviewed Dos Santos, took to Twitter to defend him. “People must listen to the interview for context,” he said.

I don’t know what Dos Santos was thinking, because that is simply not the sort of thing the head of a large business says in public.