Do you remember where you were this day in 1997?

Born Diana Spencer on July 1, 1961, Princess Diana became Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. She married heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, on July 29, 1981. They had two sons and later divorced in 1996. Diana died in a car crash after trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris ………

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I am not sure if other people remember historic moments and where they were and what they were doing.

Kennith and I were up in Bloemfontein for a dog show.  Dog shows normally start at 08h00, which means you are up before 06h00, to pack, walk the dog, and get to the ground before 07h00.

I was walking our Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Willy (Int Ch and SA Ch Timanlee Wicked Willy of Anfield) on this grass patch.  It was cold, not freezing, and Willy had just taken off to run after birds.  The fact that he is a white dog, and running through mud was not lost on me.

I was sprinting — I am sure it looked like running in slow motion, but to me it felt like I was travelling at the speed of light — I heard Kennith calling me from the guest house — I could not hear him, but based on his volume I took it the entire guest house was now awake.

He ran out to tell me that they had just reported on the news that Diana, Princess of Wales had died.  We sat and watched the footage on Sunday morning, 31 August 1997.

Our friend, who we were sharing the room with, Tim, woke up and saw the news.  Tim being Tim commented that he was deeply saddened as he always felt he had a chance with Diana.

I guess we all cope with sadness in different ways.

The day at the dog show was busy as they are — but people were still talking about Princess Diana and her death.  Initially there was not a lot of information, but tons of speculation.

We returned to Cape Town later the same day and the week that followed could only be described as the collective world crying.

I recall watching it on television and basically sitting there sobbing — not the pretty kind where a tear falls out of the edge of your eye and runs down your cheek in a designer line.  No, mine was more snot bubbles and retching with tears.  Your nose red and raw ….. your eye looking much like sheep’s vaginas.  You know that look.

Every day it got worse, as I still was not finished crying from the day before —- and it seemed everyone was crying.  Life just came to a stand still — you were either talking about her, her death, her boys and the flowers outside the palace or you were crying in unison.

There was telephonic coverage across Sky, the BBC and CNN 24 hours a day -and it just did not stop being sad.

The funeral on the 6 September 1997 was a full day of crying.   Her brother’s eulogy made everyone cry the little bit of salt and liquid they may have held in their body.  Elton John’s tribute was literally the final straw ….. if you were not already hysterical with the pain of it all, then that sent you off into the oblivion.

No matter what you may think of feel about her actions – she was a mother, and she left her two children without her love and protection.  I still find thinking about her and how she died left an almost permanent impression on me.

It is hard to grasp that was 18 years ago.

And this woman touched us all in such a profound manner.

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The curious incident of the dog on Saturday …..

I have written about our dog Annabelle.

She is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and was born on the 1 January 2001.  The amazing thing about her is that she went missing for nearly two years – and then showed up at a Vet on the other side of the peninsula.

She was fitted with a pet ID tag, and she had appeared at the Bergvliet Vet and they had called me to tell me they had my dog. As I had just left my home, and my “new” dog Dexter, I was a bit perplexed to understand how it was possible he had turned up in Bergvliet.

The vet receptionist then used a tone of voice that one often uses when speaking to a very young child, or a person with diminished mental capacity and explained that my dog Annabelle was at the vet and I should collect her.

I tried to explain that Annabelle was dead and went missing nearly two years before in Parow — and that the dog could not possibly be Annabelle.

Speaking in single syllable words the receptionist told me to get my shit together, and my red and white Staffordshire Bull Terrier was standing in her reception, and that I needed to fetch her.

I dutifully drove through and cripes there she was.  Fatter, older, greyer – the both of us.

I put her in the car and she came home, and sauntered in like she had never been gone.

Dexter who was the new dog, was a bit confused.

It was very much like a scene from The Bold and the Beautiful where the woman has just remarried, and on the first day of her honeymoon, her dead husband, who had died in a plane crash in Sierra Leone, shows up at the door, and there is that awkward moment when you are not quite sure what to serve for dinner – or who will sit at the head of the table.

The last few months Annabelle has got really old.  Her joints are swollen and she struggles to get up and down our stairs.  She has also lost all bowel control, and messes in the house – which for her is very unusual, she has always been a very well trained dog.

Even for short periods in the house she would wee or poo – and it became a bit of a challenge to have her inside.

Eventually we kept her outside and that was also not fair. Crappy to have one dog allowed in, and the other not.

I thought maybe it was because the weather was colder, but even as it got warmer, she looked like she was in permanent discomfort.  Her joints were swollen, and we also could not have her inside without her weeing or pooing within the first 5 minutes.

At the end of the last week I decided it was time to “let her go” – I did not want her as outside dog.

I was concerned that she was getting so crouchy and snapping at Dexter, and my concern was that because she was becoming moody and erratic it was a matter of time before she snapped at the kids.

The final thing that tipped the scale, was that if she could not be in the house with us, then what was her quality of life?

I asked Kennith to take her to the vet on Saturday morning at 09h00.

I did not want to be there – I know she would not have been in pain, or scared, and she would have just gone to sleep.  I knew it was more an emotional issue than thinking she would be traumatised.

The house is a little bit emptier without her, and when the back door is open, I still expect her to come sauntering in …. ‘night ‘night Annabelle …..

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My dog bit my child …

Dexter is a really lovely dog.  He has such a goofy expression that you cannot but love him.

That being said he has one or two serious behavioural issues.

1.  He sprinkles his urine for no apparent reason.

He could be outside for 72 days, you let him in, and 5 minutes later he will take a piss.  It has if he has been holding it in so he can put urine in your home.  He never pees on a surface that is easy to clean, he will pee on the corner of your pot drawer, your curtains or on your shoe.

2.  He takes a crap in the most bizarre places.

Again adding he has unhindered access to the great outdoors.  He will be outside for ever, walk right in and take a crap.  Never on an easy to clean surface, but right in the centre or your prized zebra skin, or in this week’s case, right in the centre of Isabelle’s bed!!  Crap and a giant piss!

3.  He is brilliant with the kids, but will growl at them now and then – when he is eating something he thinks they might want, or when he is sleeping and has a really good spot.

We teach our dogs from the time they arrive in our house that humans (even small humans) are permitted to touch them and take food out of their mouths. Dexter is find 85% of the time, but then for the remainder he growls and his hackles go up.

I am not one of those people who refer to my dogs as my children.  I used to, and then I had children.

I now understand that clear line between the two. One you can lock in the kitchen when they irritate you, the other you can’t.

So I treat dogs as dogs, I understand the pack mentality, I understand that they behave a certain way, and I can get all Caesar Milan on your arse.  Really got it.

Dexter has become my kryptonite.  I understand what he is doing is wrong, but I am absolutely powerless to stop him, because I do not understand why he does it, and also does things in a non-consistent way.

I buy the dogs a hoof each to chew.  Annabelle (our Staffordshire Bull Terrier is 12) – I decide okay let me put her outside with the hoof, as she will eat Dexter if he comes near her whilst she is chewing it.

I put her outside – also because she is standing at the backdoor asking to go out.

I leave Dexter inside and he climbs into the dog basket, happily chewing the hoof. First time he has had a hoof, so it took him a few moments to grasp the point of eating a bovine’s discarded foot!

Dexter in box.  Isabelle (note the dog and child have similar names …. long story) anyway Isabelle sees Dexter and walks over to him to give him a hug.  Dexter thinks Isabelle is after the hoof and takes a bite of her arm.

It nearly broke the skin, and I was amazed by the bite pattern.  Dexter is a Boston Terrier, so their bite is totally ridiculous.

But back to me and said SCREAMING CHILD.  Isabelle is screaming like someone stole her Nuttella sandwich.  I look at Dexter and the communication between my eyes and his brain was: “You little shit, I am going to kill you!!”

I did not kill him, though for a moment (if you add the crap on the bed to the week’s mix) I was seriously considering giving him away on gumtree.

I really really think if he has bitten her in the face, this conversation would be different.

I really love my dog, but cheese and rice I love my kids a lot more.  I really have a lot of work to do with Dexter, but I can promise you if he ever bites my child again, I am so going to gumtree his arse!

Dexter if you are reading this – and I know you log on with my password, take this as your FINAL WARNING mate!  You are very cute, but you will still be cute stuffed with sawdust on my TV cupboard.  You my friend are on probation!!

Run away. Run away. Come back. Come back Annabelle.

I like my daily dose of normal.  My daily dose may appear chaotic and crazy to others, but is my normal, and the result is that my mind can tick off the “normal” every day.

If there is a shift or you take away a key element, or add something extra, I am likely to have a little spin out.  And this is the reason I make lists.  I always have a list, and I like to tick my things off my list, as then it makes me feel “in control” and that I have got it all buttoned down.

This morning I am driving to work.  Traffic is shocking.  My phone goes off, I hear it ring, but cannot attend to it and navigate an interchange.

I hear my phone beep a phone message.

I smile.  I love people who sms me a message, rather than leave a long fangled phone message.  I do like sms people.

I am in traffic, and in neutral. ,I dig my phone out.  It is an sms from a vet in Bergvliet saying “Hi we have your dog.  Thanks Carol St Francis Vet Clinic 021 712 0357.”

Hmm, I am thinking Carol is tucking into the tipple a bit early this morning.

I just left home.  My dog was there, and Bergvliet is several miles from Parow, even for a fast dog that might be bending the time/space thing a bit.

I call Carol – Carol tells me she has my staffie.  My brain is trying to compute.  I try to explain to her I do not have a Staffie.  She re-explaining to me that actually I do have a Staffie and she is at their vet.

I am starting to speak to Carol like she is a special needs person, and I am really to busy for these rather bizarre phone calls.

So she goes “I am sure microchips don’t lie.  We have your dog Annabelle, it is a red and white Staffie….”

Annabelle went missing about a year and a half ago.  I ran ads, I contacted vets, I put notes on Facebook, I cried, I worried, I felt terrible.  I healed.

I am floored. Once my brain started working, I decided to re-aim my vehicle towards Bergliet, and sure as sh*t there was Annabelle.

Older, fatter, but still Annabelle.

She looked at me like I had just come back from the shops, after buying some wine.  She was not going to tell me where she had been for the last year and a half, and instead decided to pant and leave saliva all over my car’s front seat.

Anything can be forgiven the day you get back from the dead.

I brought Annabelle home and explain that I had moved on.  I had mourned her death, I had got a new puppy.   Dexter looked at her and his hackles have risen, there appears to be an usurper in his midsts.

As my friend Joyce says, it is the dog version of the Bold and the Beautiful, where the dead husband returns to find his wife has now remarried … and has a new family … because in the Bold and the Beautiful, dead husbands and dead dogs always come back.

Moral of the story: Microchip your dog/cat.  That shit works.