Without question, the hardest part of our lives at home to leave for this trip around the world was our dogs, Ayla and Sadie. More than our cats or horses or house or things. OK, maybe or maybe not more than our friends, but equal at any rate. They are our canine children and siblings, depending on who in the family you ask. Especially if you ask them.
Every so often during our wandering, we have to stay in one place for several days to catch up on school and work and laundry. Marlie needed a follow up x-ray to check the progress on her healing tibia, so the most recent catch up time needed to be within easy shot of a city with an orthopedic surgeon and hospital, in this case Port Elizabeth. We’d discovered Cape St. Francis, a village built by surfers, and opted to find a beach house. The house was exactly what we needed, and the best parts were the canine neighbors.
Wax came by first, a dalmatian with a grin. She smiled a big toothy dog smile and made herself at home. Her collar said “Wax : No Food : Home By 5” The no food was less of a problem than the home by five part. It’s a little hard to get a dog home who: first does not want to leave, and second we don’t know where she lives. One night she spent out on the porch, after we made a very sad doggie go outside so we could close the doors for the night. I felt bad enough I made a little bed for her from the camper mattress we were drying out…
Next to arrive was Frankie, the tenacious dachshund. He chased seagulls his own size, pounced on crabs which were trying to pinch him, chased a mongoose into the bushes, and raced up and down the sand dunes on the beach. He also adored laps and attention, both of which he found in abundance with our doggie-love-starved family.
These two arrived each morning and hung out all day for the rest of our stay, and we are grateful for the canine fix. Wax’s smile and always wagging tail, her whine to wake the girls after we opened the doors in the morning. Frankie’s antics. Both will make us laugh at many family meals to come. And, both have given us the gift of dog love in a time when we had none, and we are mostly thankful for the loaner dogs.