Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Dog Days

The dog days of summer are here, at least it must be the tail end now, (but wagging furiously!), those sultry, stifling days of heat that are summer's last blast before it renounces its sway to the mists of autumn. We've already had a few misty mornings, dressing up in layers for the morning school run, only to collect children, arms piled high with shed clothes, from a scorching dusty car park in a car with non-functional air conditioning.

I only recently found out where the expression 'dog days' came from. (Google is a wonderful resource!) I used to think it was something to do with 'shouldn't do it to a dog' or 'mad dogs and Englishmen', images of dogs lying flat out panting in the shade, but then I found out it's all about Sirius the dog star, who rises with the sun in full summer in the Northern Hemisphere. This probably means that we don't officially have proper dog days here in South Africa ….so all I can say is that it's blooming hot!

The perfect thing to find on the table for lunch, when we get back from the swelter of the school run, is a huge watermelon, cool crisp and fresh. I hardly ever buy them on my weekly shop, the trolley is usually too full and my budget already stretched to the max by the time I reach the fresh produce section. So I rely on my husband to impulse buy, for a steady supply. Asked to pick up some milk in Spar after an appointment in town, he turns our usual bread and cheese lunch into a feast, with a bagful of flavours - samoosas, salami, fresh rolls and the enormous elongated watermelon. It'll last several days, filling up the fridge with the rest, but guaranteeing a steady supply of sweet, refreshing crunch.

Returning to the dog theme - we have a new addition to the family, a short haired Jack Russell called Amy. You have to understand that she has inveigled her way into our home in the face of all my reserves of passive resistance ... obviously not very forceful when it comes to the crunch.

After Vygie died, the children immediately wanted to know - when could they get another dog? They wanted a small one to play with, perhaps another dachshund like the one their aunt had just adopted from a Rescue Centre. We put them off - maybe in the summer holidays.

The holidays came and went and they realised that we still only had three dogs. I put my foot tentatively down. Enough dogs, enough puddles on the floor, enough barking to go out in the night, enough money spent on tick collars and flea spray …boring Mum stuff ... like all the boring Mums in stories who deny their kids the joy of animals of their own. After all three dogs and three cats, plus a rabbit and two guinea-pigs clearly aren't enough for one family.

So when my sister-in-law came home from work, with the sad story of a colleague who needed a new home for his beloved pet, which was being bullied by his fiancee's two pugs, I said "Hmphh", as the children all joyfully chorused "Yes!"

I knew I was on a losing wicket. Amy was brought to visit, to demonstrate how sweet and well trained she is, and here she stayed. She is sweet. And not nearly as crazy wild as some of the Jack Russells that I've come across.

The cats have had to deal with her firmly. One duck sacrificed its life for her to learn that important farm life lesson - No chasing the tempting feathery creatures. I'm wondering if she will one day try to jump into the rabbit enclosure, but so far she is now keeping her killer instinct to the safer ground of footballs, rugby balls and any other balls that she can get her teeth into.

So apart from the fact that she keeps nicking MY place on the sofa, and I keep being mean Mum and insisting that a dog's place is on the floor, she has settled in pretty well.


  1. I love Jack Russells and their spirit. Amy looks like a lovely dog - is she about to leap into the pool and rescue the girls?

  2. Aww...what a pretty dog!

  3. What a sweetheart Amy is! Jack Russells are so intelligent and are fiercely devoted to family! Does she swim in the pool? My sis has one named Mason. He is very excitable, and pees when strangers visit. He was a rescue and abused by former owners which accounts for the peeing. You kids will have so much fun with Amy! Loved the pic of the melon! Looks luscious!

  4. My kids want a dog too and I feel so guilty that I don't want one. It's not that I don't like dogs, just that I don't want to clean up after one!

    I love your farm, by the way, and it's theoretically spring here, but it's snowing! So I'm seriously coveting your summer watermelon too!


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!