Here’s a happy, rather than a shaggy, dog story to start 2018.
On January 1 at the advanced age, in human terms, of being over 50, our black Lab, Mitch, finally became a first-time dad.
I’d always hoped somebody would want him as a stud dog because of his gentle temperament and big head, but not one offer came along, and when he reached seven in May 2017, I thought that was that. Then, out of the blue, the breeder of my now six-month-old yellow Lab, Peri, asked if he could use Mitch (because of his “presence”) to give his oldest breeding dog, Milly, her last chance to have a litter.
I was over the moon, hastily got the approvals to satisfy the Kennel Union of South Africa that Mitch’s hips and eyes were up to standard, and October 29 was set for the assignation when Milly and Mitch would meet at our home. Alas, his inexperience and the heat that Sunday morning, scuppered their assignation. So Plan B was then put in place.
This involved independently, on November 1 and 3, taking Mitch and Milly to a vet near Klapmuts who specialises in giving Mother Nature a helping hand when horses and dogs can’t mate naturally.
This eye-opening experience followed a month-long wait for the scan which disappointingly showed that Milly was not pregnant.
However the night before Christmas, Milly insisted on crawling on to the lap of her breeder. Unexpectedly he felt something move. A scan the next day proved there was one puppy there!
The joyful delayed Christmas present was the news that Mitch’s little yellow daughter was born by C-section on January 1.
Though the golden singleton with tightly closed eyes looked minute in the large breeding box, she will have no competition for Milly’s milk bar and will surely grow up quickly to be a big strong Lab like her parents.
Criminals take advantage
Walking the dogs down the Tokai cycle path recently, I was shocked to see that a section of a green metal door of a domestic garage had been slashed open, exposing the back wheel of a motor bike. By the following day an expensive looking new section had replaced the damaged door.
While many people have been relaxing on well-deserved holidays, intruders, burglars and petty criminals have had a ball helping themselves to other people’s possessions but not without a spirited challenge from Tokai Neighbourhood Crime Watch.
Their New Year’s Eve greetings to subscribers reported 14 incidents in one week — including four burglaries, four attempted burglaries and four thefts from vehicles.
Thanks to the quick response of residents, patrollers, armed response officers and SAPS, there were four arrests.
Details of the incidents included hearing a noise upstairs and finding an intruder who jumped into the garden and ran off with two tablets and other items; gaining access over a rear wall from the M3 and stealing a TV, a MacBook and electronic equipment; returning home after a few days to find the house ransacked and jewellery and loads of electronic devices stolen.
In another case, a resident’s barking dog alerted him to an intruder inside the property. After chasing him out, he discovered two wallets were missing.
The list of valuable items stolen makes you realise that paying the annual subs of R220 to TNCW is a pittance for all the effort they put into keeping us safe and protecting our possessions. Yet some residents have not yet settled their 2017 subs and their subs for 2018 are already due.
Baboons feel the heat
We are not the only primates feeling the summer heat and water shortage. Baboons are too.
A parking attendant at Silvermine told us that the drought has caused a shortage of food and water on the mountain, resulting in baboons coming to the dam to drink and for a cool-down swim.
For the first time in ages, a troop of baboons entered the Lower Tokai Plantation possibly looking for food.
Fortunately the monitors kept the baboons and dog walkers apart. Unlike Silvermine which was so busy on New Year’s Day that the gates were closed for cars, few people picnic in Tokai so the hungry baboons probably went home empty – handed.
If I had one wish come true in 2018 it would be that finally I would not have to hear daily on the radio that urban trains are running late. Even worse is when the Central line has neither a train nor an alternative bus service.
It is unacceptable that we cannot again run efficient, reliable and reasonably clean trains on which so many people depend on getting to work. We don’t need a fascist dictator to fix the railways.
Cyril Ramaphosa could, like Mussolini, go down in history if, instead of spending R600 billion on building nuclear reactors, he rebuilt our railway network improving the lot of the work force and helping Cape Town lose its reputation of being the most car-congested city in the country.
If you are struggling to sort your income tax, hopefully your labours don’t go so far as to agree with the words of Thomas Jefferson in 1802: “To compel a man to subsidise with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors, is sinful and tyrannical.”
Say your say
“I don’t object to my wife having the last word – if only she’d get to it…”