Puppy Love.

My daughter has a lot of affection for one of the dogs. Both kids love all the dogs but there seems to be an extra special bond when it comes to this specific dog. Anatalina is her name and she is a playful and delightful dog that loves human attention.

This girl knows all there is to know about this specific dog. She knows its age, what it likes and is able to tell whether it is feeling good or a bit low. What the different barks and whines mean, even how to calm the dog down sometimes. I have never seen such an intense bond between a child and an animal up close. It is something special to watch.

Growing up, not many people kept indoor pets where we lived. Even now, many people keep dogs as a security measure so they are usually built for kennels outside, and let out at night to deter intruders. Getting the kids indoor pets was not anything we took seriously. Back in Nairobi we lived in a homestead with cows, pigs, rabbits and chickens and they helped out in feeding and caring for them, but we do not have deep emotional attachments as compared to keeping a little chihuahua or pet parrot, nope.

We did have a pair of love birds once some years ago…for a day or two, then they disappeared and no, it was not my fault. LOL! Even cats are out of the question for us. Animals live outside, we live inside, that is my rule and I like it that way.

When we found out we would live with the dogs here, I was obviously apprehensive but the kids and the dogs get along just fine.

Anatalina always barks happily when she senses the kids leaving for school or when they are getting in back later in the day. She has this special whine she lets out that can be really insistent and only calms down when my daughter goes to her side of the garden and pats her down.

My daughter always checks to know when the Vet is coming to check on the dogs and watches him treat the dogs as she asks why they are being given specific meds or vitamins. There is a time she cried when Anatalina was not feeling well, and could not bear to see the dog being injected.

Seeing her interact with the dog has made me learn a few things too, and made me understand a bit on why kids love animals, in this case dogs, so much.

Dogs are known to be loyal, affectionate creatures. Probably why they are known as ‘man’s best friend.’ Dogs offer companionship, loyalty and understanding. No matter how lousy you are feeling, the sight of your dog’s delight to see you will lift your spirits. Dogs are no longer just helping us to keep safe, their presence in our lives has health benefits too. Playing with them, walking with them, stroking them helps keep us active and happy. Dog owners are actually more physically active than people who do not own dogs. If the kids are sad or had a bad day, they will sense it and try to cheer them up.

Dogs are great protectors, they will alert you when something is not right in or around your home. Their behaviour and the sounds they make will let you know of anything suspicious.

Which reminds me, I have a bit of a mystery I have been unable to solve in the neighbour hood. Almost everyone around us keeps dogs and these guys (the dogs, that is), always bark and howl insistently when one of our neighbours drives back in the evening. I do not understand why it is always that specific neighbour. At first it was a bit amusing but it has never stopped, and it has been over a year now since we moved in here. Every night this guy comes home just before 9.00 pm, ALL the dogs in our immediate area howl and bark like crazy for 3-5 minutes. I wonder why?

Anyway, back to why kids love dogs. I have also read that playing with dogs can calm down hyperactive kids, helps kids with special needs, and also teach kids a few skills. By caring for the dogs, the children learn responsibility and commitment. Knowing that there is another living being they care for will also boost their self confidence, teach them kindness and to be trustworthy.

I may have not liked dogs in the past, but I am definitely developing puppy love vibes recently. Watching my kids play with the dogs so gleefully and interact with them so freely, has taught me to also loosen up a bit, let go of my inhibitions a bit and have some fun too. What’s a little dog fur on my clothes in return for doleful eyes watching me, tail wagging crazily as I rub Anatalina behind her ears?

She is also an amazing listener. I can rave and rant and she will lie down and watch me as I vent out all my frustrations. With a few whines thrown in here and there, that I am pretty sure mean she agrees with me. She will watch me exercise or jog in the garden even dance with no judgment at all. And she keeps me company when I cook. Always at the kitchen window trying to keep up with whatever is going on with me. She is obviously begging for some kitchen scrapes but i will go with my delightful company as the reason she is always there. She is such a delightful dog.

George Graham Vest said, “The one absolute, unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world—the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous—is his dog.” Every time I watch how my daughter bonds and plays with Anatalina, I am reminded of how special dogs are. In this crazy world, who would not want a loyal, non judgement and playful companion by their side? Will we get a dog when we leave here? You bet we will.

(You can read on the other dogs’ escapades here and here. )

I will also be back soon with an update once I solve the mystery of the dogs’ reactions to our neighbour. Keep it locked.



Dogs Gone Wild.

We had an incident the other day when this little Miss Tonella, who I have talked about here, got into a tangle with the other dogs. Scratch that, not a tangle but a full blown dog fight!

Backstory: We have three dogs in the compound; two female, one male. The male is generally polite, likes chilling but very playful, and loves the kids. The two females do not see eye to eye. They have to always remain separated. So we have one on one side of the compound, and the other two on the other side with three gates so they cannot reach each other.

The one that’s by itself is called Anatalina, she is playful, likes attention and sheds a lot. Rex the male, gets along with both pretty well, but he and Tonella (the one that bit my exercise mat) are tighter buddies. So he will stroll to where Anatalina is, sniff around a bit ( I guess his way of saying hey to her), then wander back to the garden after a few minutes to frolic and chill with Tonella. I think he is a charmer, covering his bases with the girls, letting them know he’s cool with each of them, LOL.

A Rex lookalike.
Photo by Vladislav on Pexels.com

Do you ever get a sense of foreboding? When all is quiet and tense, you are just waiting for something to erupt but not sure what it is?

There was a lapse the some evenings ago, when one of the smaller gates was left open. Anatalina’s territory is on the kitchen side, so she always keeps me company when I am cooking. I had gotten started on dinner but she had not come to the window yet to do her doleful eyes act in her attempt to get some treats from me.

See those doleful eyes? How do you resist such a look?
Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

I should have really gone to check but I didn’t think much of it. A few minutes later I heard loud barking and a shout. H rushed out of the house to check what was happening. I stayed back with the kids so they would not follow him.

Sure enough, Anatalina being the smart girl she was, saw the open gate and walked through into the garden, where Tonella pounced on her and the fight began. By the time H and one of guys on duty got to the dogs, Rex was part of the fight! Imagine a snarling jumble of three adult dogs, tangled and rolling in the grass, nipping and barking. Chaos, I tell you, CHAOS. Because of the commotion, the neighbours’ dogs began barking too! It was quite a noisy racket.

After a few minutes of loud clapping, physical effort, and I guess Tonella’s really painful injuries, the dogs separated and all went back their bloody ways. Each retreating to their own areas, panting heavily. Their ears were bleeding, all scratched up and they were all whining in pain, it was not a pleasant sight. H did some dog first aid and called the Vet who told him what to do, till he would be able to come over the next morning.

The dogs are all much better now, thankfully. The vet came and checked the injuries, treated them accordingly and all three got a clean bill. Their ears are healing well, and hopefully all of us in the compound have learnt our lesson now and will not leave the gates open.

That incident made me search a few sites on what to do when this happens and below is a short list of some sites that offer good information:-

I sure hope we will not have to go through this again, but if it happens at least we will be better informed.