I will be the first to tell you that I have the most amazing life! I have been blessed to have visited and/or lived in close to 40 countries. That said, one of my regrets for living this lifestyle is the fact that I cannot have a pet. It just is not possible the way we move to different countries and so frequently. Personally, I do not think it would be fair to say, a dog. For example, the long flights. On this last trip, for me to fly to South Africa from the states, I was traveling close to 30 hours and the flight to South Africa was 17 hours. I cannot imagine saying good-bye to my pet and expect that he will be alright with having strange people handle him, being jostled around and then cooped up, in the belly of a jumbo jet for 17 hours. I don’t know about the dog, but I would certainly be a basket case. That all said, I am very grateful for how The Universe provides animals for me wherever I go! Over the years I have been blessed to befriend Smokey in Madawaska, Maine; Lucy in Decatur, AL; Callie Cat in Texarkana, TX; Woody in Frazier Park, CA; Francesca in Lima, Peru; Buddy, Nellie and Poco in Cabarete, Dominican Republic and Lizzie and Jack in Hallowell, Maine. I am pleased to say that the blessings have continued here in Johannesburg, South Africa. When we first arrived here, we were living in an apartment complex. Now, we are living in a beautiful home that is the guest house to a the main house on the property. The owners of the main house have three dogs…not one, not two but three (!!!) dogs….and there is an occasional cat that comes to our house when he feels like it. Each animal has their own personality. This is Titus. She is a Golden Retriever and is 14 years old. She has the sweetest face and the biggest paws I have ever seen on a dog! She reminds me of the dog in the remake of the Disney movie “The Incredible Journey.” When she comes for a visit and I am inside, she bangs on the door to come in. She loves treats and doesn’t quite know what “gentle” means when taking one from me. I have to be careful not to lose a finger with Titus. This is Eagle. He is about 12 years old and is a mixed breed. Titus is Eagles’ mom. His dad is an Irish Terrier. Neither of the dogs’ names seem to fit them. To me, Titus is a male name and I have a tendency to call Eagle “Elvis”!!! Anyway, Eagle also loves treats and is very gentle when taking the offering from me. Many days, Eagle will just come down and lie on the porch for the day. I try to spend as much time with him as I can, when he is down here but then……. There is Tara, the 11 month old Bull Terrier. She is a “holy terror!!!” I have compared her to being a toddler in the “terrible two” stage. Occasionally, she will be subdued when she comes trotting down here for a visit but then, very unpredictably, she will start nipping at you….and it hurts! When she starts to get rambucksious, I have to go inside. She has not learned the command, no! Usually, during the day, I do not let the dogs come inside. As well as being pets, they are also used for security around the property. The owners do not mind if we allow them inside but just not all the time…..if I had my way, they would be inside and on the couch all day long! After they have their dinner at 5:00 PM, Eagle and Titus will come down for their nightly visit. If we are inside, we will hear this “boom” as Titus’ paw hits the door. When you look over, there are Eagle and Titus standing there, wagging their tails. Tara never seems to be with them and it is just as well because she is not allowed inside. She has gotten in the house a couple of times and is like the Tasmanian Devil…she goes straight for the garbage can, the pillows on the couch or heaven forbid, the cat. Trying to catch her is next to impossible. She seems to have accepted her fate and will just look through the glass doors whenever she comes down. Tara is also like the troublesome little sister to the two other dogs. She will run up and taunt them and then, when they take off after her, she will run off. Poor Eagle gets so exasperated with her. I think one of the reason why they come down every night to see David and me, is so they can have a break away from their “annoying little sister!” MacCafferty, who I call Mac for short, is the beautiful and independent cat. I did not see him for the first week and a half that I was here. He just showed up the other day and has been hanging around ever since. We keep the bedroom windows open so he can come and go as he pleases. The only way we knew that he was around was his food, which has to be kept on the counter so the dogs won’t eat it, had been eaten. Now, he spends most of his days sleeping on the bed in the spare bedroom and at night, he will cuddle with David on the couch. I just love having animals around…yes, even Tara. As exasperated I can get with her, she can make me smile. Like the nursery rhyme, “when she is good, she is very, very good and when she is bad, she is very, very bad.” Each one has such personalities and having them around enriches my life.
The Animals in my Life