Ten years ago: a sad day

Ten years ago, 10 July 2006,  was a rather sad day in the life of our family.

When Val was leaving for work early in the morning, when it was still dark, she found the back gate open and our Toyota Venture gone. There was no sign of the cable we used to lock the gate.

Our Toyota Venture, stolen on 10 July 2006

Our Toyota Venture, stolen on 10 July 2006

There was also no sign of of our four-month-old puppy Mardigan, and Val called him and went looking for him while I phoned the police. Eventually, after quite a long search, Val found Mardigan cowering behind a wall. He looked ill, and we thought the thieves may have poisoned him, and Jethro and Simon took him to the emergency vet that was open at that time of morning.

Mardigan

Mardigan

Later Ariel, our older dog, started looking sick, so they took her to the vet as well, and brought her back, and the vet said she was OK, but kept Mardigan for treatment.

Ariel

Ariel

Later in the morning Ariel looked very sick, so we took her to our vet, and he gave her an atropine injection. He said we should warn the neighbours as other dogs had been poisoned, and when they left to take them to the vet, burglars broke into their house. Val worked at home for the rest of the day. Jethro came home as well, and bought new and bigger locks for the gate.

A couple of days later we fetched Mardigan from the vet, thin and weak and wobbly on his legs. The vet said we should watch him because he could have a relapse, and might need immediate treatment. And the following day he looked ill again, and so, not having a car since the Venture had been stolen, Simon set out for the vet’s surgery on foot, with Mardigan in his arms, but later returned saying that Mardigan had died even before he had got there.

We had used the Venture for our mission work, taking people from our mission congregations to services and courses and conferences.

At Tembisa, with Fr Spiridon of St Thomas's Church in Sunninghill

At Tembisa, with Fr Spiridon of St Thomas’s Church in Sunninghill

A few months later we got the insurance money for the Venture, but it was not enough to buy an equivalent vehicle. It also didn’t cover the R2500 vet’s bill. In August 2006 we drove to Durban to buy a second-hand Subaru station wagon, which the insurance money did cover, and we still have it, and I would say it is the best car I have ever had. It is a nice family car, but could not do the same job in the mission congregations as the 10-seater Venture, and looking back over the last ten years we can see that the mission congregations have declined ever since, so we are still feeling the loss.

 

Last days for Squiffylugs

Today our dog Squiffylugs was diagnosed with bone cancer, so she probably won’t be with us for much longer.

Squiffylugs, 12 Jan 2015

Squiffylugs, 12 Jan 2015

On Friday she was fine, on Saturday she began limping, and as there seemed no improvement today we took her to the vet, and he said it was bone cancer, and the prognosis is not good.

She was born on 12 November 2007, her father being our German Shepherd Samwise, and her mother being our cross German Shepherd-Border Collie, Ariel. There were three surviving puppies in the litter, and two of them went to a monastery then at Hennops Pride.

She had lots of nicknames when she was growing up — Fatty Lumpkin, because she was the greediest of the litter and the fattest. Jethro called her Pidlet, because she would piddle when she was excited, and she didn’t merely wag her tail, but her whole body.  Eventually it became apparent that she would always have one ear sticking up and the other folded down, so she became Squiffylugs.

She is the third dog we have had who has had cancer. The first one, Lucy, died in January 2001, also from bone cancer, in the same place. She was quite old, and would probably have died of old age quite soon anyway. Squiffylugs’s mother Ariel died of the canine equivalent of breast cancer nearly three years ago.

And that makes us wonder. One sometimes hears stories of people living near to high tension electricity lines having higher rates of cancer than normal. We’d not paid much attention to such stories before, but there are high tension lines just across the road from us.

The view from our sitting-room window

The view from our sitting-room window

And it was in October 1994 that another line was strung up on the other side, so that we have high-voltage lines on two sides of our house. Three dogs getting cancer makes one wonder if there is a link.

How does my garden grow?

About 9 months ago we started to turn our ruin into a garden.

Now the building has been completed, and we’ve started to plant things in it — tomatoes, parsley, potatoes and lettuce. If the birds and insects let them grow, perhaps we’ll be able to eat some some day.

Garden01When I was taking the photos our dog Squiffylugs came along and posed, so I took some of her too. She has many nicknames, which probably gives her an identity problem. She was Fatty Lumpkin (because she was the fattest and greediest in the litter when she was young), Pidlet, and several others. But Squffylugs because her ears stand up at different angles. She is threequarters Alsatian and one quarter border collie.

Squiffylugs

Squiffylugs