Gabby

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It’s been way too long since I’ve written a new post.  I get so bogged down in trying to update my photo library and placing photos within the blog.  But, then, for me, because this monumental task is so frustrating, I abandon the entire endeavor.  And the momentum of writing is completely crushed.

I’ve also been struggling with the loss of our beautiful boerboel dog, Gabriella.  Gabby, for short.  We had to let her go on June 15 after sharing 10 wonderful years.  I still tear up at the mention of her name but wanted to share her magnificence with you.  I know so many of your have lost a four legged companion and often it is cathartic to share.

She became part of our household when we were living in Cape Town.  When we decided to permanently leave South Africa, she traveled with us  to America.  Her first acquaintance with snow was fun to watch.  She tenuously tip toed but quickly learned she could stick her face into it and snort it around.  Surprisingly to us that she adapted  after having lived in the sun for about five years.

A boerboel is also known as a South African Mastiff.  ‘Boer’ derives from the Afrikaans/Dutch word for ‘farmer’.  ‘Boel’ is an old Afrikaans/Dutch slang word for ‘dog’.  It is believed that the breed dates back to 1652.  Jan van Riebeeck arrived in the Cape accompanied by large, strong dogs who were bred with the indigenous, domestic dog breeds of South Africa.  Then in the  1860s, bloodhounds, greyhounds, bulldogs, terriers, mastiffs, pointers were found scattered across the South African frontier at military posts.  The Boer dog further evolved and was a cross between these breeds.  In 1928, De Beers, the diamond mining company used Boerboels to guard the mines.

Gabby was our gentle giant.  One hundred and forty pounds of sheer muscle with a blocky head and a brindle coat.  She could be protective with strong territorial instincts.  But she was also calm and stable.  Loyal and playful.  Intelligent  and stubborn.  Often, she would ‘play’ with my mini wire haired dachshund instinctively respecting his size compared to hers.

Gabby gravitated towards children and tried to engage any dog that came near her.  Only once did I witness a dog growling at her.  A small dog, of course.  She just looked down as if to say ‘really’?????

Wherever she laid, she’d face the doorway, exhibiting her protective instincts.  She gravitated towards Jack, my husband, but was right at my side whenever he wasn’t home.

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Once we ‘introduced’ her to someone at the door, all was fine.  But anyone walking around the outside, mowing the lawn, plowing the driveway…..she’d respond with a lion-like guttural growl.  The home was her turf to protect.

One of her ‘tricks’ was to flip her water bowl when empty.  If we still didn’t respond to her ‘request,’ she’d then drag the bowl across the tiled kitchen floor.

She made us laugh.  She brightened our life.   She will forever remain in our hearts and we feel lucky to have shared 10 years with her.

 

 

A Scrapbook of Memories

“People do not take trips, trips take people.” John Steinbeck


“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
Helen Keller

“Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkein

Meeting a new friend

“There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne — bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive.” Karen Blixen

Unfortunately, too many of the Botswana photos are on slides.  And our trip was before the dawn of digital cameras.  One of these days I might haul out the slides and have additional ones printed.

But I will always have my memories.

Botswana Barter

It all began quite innocently.  Or so I thought.  My hubby, Jack, returned home from a very long overseas business trip.  He was exhausted and a bit overwrought.  “I’m quitting.  This is enough traveling for me.  I’ve had it.”

This couldn’t be happening.  Visions of bills piling up filled my head.  His moping around the kitchen hours on end.  No way.

I quickly suggested a getaway.  Fishing?  A cruise?  Take some days off and relax?  My mind was racing for a solution.

“Africa,” he said.  “I want to go to Africa.”  Huh?  Where was this coming from?  Yes, I knew he enjoyed spending summers as a kid at his uncle’s farm.  And he devoured animal books and could win the pants off anyone in trivia pursuit when it came to world geography.  But, Africa?

This Bronx girl was hardly happy about going camping.  However, I said “let’s make a deal”.  If Jack would carefully research what entailed in going on an African safari and tuned me into his research, I’d consider his idea.

I figured in a few days or so, he would be rested and this would all blow over.

However, within a few months, our mailbox was teeming with slick brochures exclaiming the virtues of a safari in Botswana.   The phone rang constantly from people all over the US extolling the excitement of camping in the bush.    Jack had done his research.  And by the end of the year, he had somehow managed to save without impinging on the family budget.

 

A deal was a deal.  I now had to hold up my end of the bargain.  And go.  And go I did, but I went kicking and screaming.

Never realizing that my life would forever change with that one ‘deal’.

Finally…

This blog is a long time in coming. The whole technical side was always too daunting and exhausting whenever I made the attempt. I thought it would have been fun to start when my husband and I lived in Cape Town, South Africa. It just never got off the ground. Then, after returning to the US, we moved twice in three years. I was too busy packing and unpacking to even think about it.

A view from our home in South Africa