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.


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.