Thursday, 24 December 2015

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

An Afternoon Out - The Monkey Sanctuary

On Saturday, we went to The Cattle Barron for a very early lunch and whilst there, after talking about kittens and bunnies and other exotic pets we decided to go to The Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary. I confused the place with Mystic Monkeys but when we arrived I remembered the place, we went there about 3 or 4 years ago. Most of the monkeys except those born at the sanctuary were once pets and then when they became too much for the owners they were taken to the Sanctuary. The Sanctuary takes in Capuchin; Lemurs and Squirrel Monkeys and they also have a Spider Monkey. These Monkeys do not live in cages, they live in the "Wild".

You go on an hour long tour, walking amongst the animals that roam freely in the sanctuary. The tour is quite expensive at R275.00 a person so for four people it is over R1000.00 for an hour of walking around looking at monkeys. Before going on the tour it seems like such a waste of money, but after going on the tour, you realise that it is really worth it. The monkeys are fed a mixture of fruits and bread and peanut butter three times a day and the sanctuary, although in the wild, is very clean.

Just as our tour started when our tour guide, Wiseman, went through the rules and procedures, we decided to lock our bags and wallets in the lockers provided. Firstly, because it is an hour long walk in temperatures in the 30's and higher and also because the Capuchin monkeys are pickpockets.  When I put my bag in the locker, I looked for my phone and couldn't find it anywhere. We looked in the toilets and at the two places where we sat waiting for the tour to start, Chad went to look in the car, Mark was phoning it and it rang and then stopped ringing and went to voicemail when he phoned again. Chad couldn't find it in the car, JD went to look in the bathrooms. We had the whole place looking for my phone. They have more than 20 staff members that popped up out of nowhere, looking for my phone and we didn't even tell anyone that it had gone missing. We couldn't even blame a Capuchin monkey, because we hadn't even been into the sanctuary. I wanted my phone to take photos. I went and looked in the car and there it was, it had fallen between the door and seat. Chad doesn't ever look properly. It was so embarrassing, I thanked the Sanctuary staff for helping me look for it and said I was just desperate to find it so that I could take photos.

We started the tour with Mr T, a Capuchin monkey who climbed all over us and was so fascinated with our hair and looking in our pockets. He also wanted our water. You are allowed to take water in, nothing else. They were also so fascinated with JD's shoes, maybe because they had no laces. I will post photos of her here in this post but not ones of her face because I don't have her permission to post her photos all over my blog. When the monkeys climb on you, you have to stand calmly and not shriek or panic. It is rather creepy having them lick and dig in your hair and scrummage through your pockets.

Our guide was very knowledgable and friendly and the staff clearly love the monkeys and it is more than just a job to them.

If you are ever in the Haartebeespoort area, then this is definitely the place to visit or if you live in Johannesburg and you are looking for something to do, then it is only an hour away. It may seem expensive at R275.00, but what can you buy for R275.00 anyway. It is less than a carton of cigarettes and a little more than a bottle of wine. OK a good bottle of wine, but still, even good wine is not good for you - not as good as walking in the fresh air learning about monkeys and their habits.

I am not sure how much the entrance fee is for children, but it is a fun and interesting tour for kids and safe. There was a little girl on the tour with us and she was scared of the monkeys and they didn't bother her. They were from Botswana and came through to South Africa for the day. The monkeys didn't go near Mark either - either because he didn't have hair or maybe because he didn't have water. They loved JD; Chad and I.

The moms with babies were not even aggressive towards us and came right up to us with their babies. The one male had three babies with three different females - weeks apart - quite the ladies man.

Go here to find out more about the sanctuary and read this to find out why it is not a good idea to have a monkey as a pet - as cute as what they are. this is not a sponsored post in any way, just a really great place to visit.

It is definitely worth a visit...

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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Our Dog Nala Loves Our Visitors

I heard that my brother was coming back to South Africa, we hadn't heard from him for some time and he hadn't asked about Nala nor did he tell us he was coming back to South Africa and would like to see her. On Wednesday, I said to Mark and Chad that I would love to know if Nala would remember him if he came here, but it seems as if he doesn't want to see her. He is back in the country and hasn't asked about her, perhaps he feels it is better to just move on and not stay in contact. Then on Thursday morning, I received a Whatsapp message from him early in the morning to say he was back in South Africa and if we are around, he would pop past and say hello. We chatted about Nala and then I had to go to work and also go and do my blood tests. I told Mark that he wanted to come and see Nala and Mark said he didn't think it was a good idea because she has just settled down and she will regress. Nala took awhile to take to Mark and with Mark's rejection issues he was having none of her rejecting him again. I think it was more than just a joke when he always jokingly said if it wasn't for him, Nala would still be sitting in the car.

Excuse Me I Am Having A Bath

On Sunday, after Mark and I went shopping, I looked for my phone and saw that my brother had sent a message, asking how we were and I said to Mark, I bet he wants to come and see Nala. I was right!! It was around 1 pm and what could we say. If we made excuses it would be a month of excuses and he would think that something had happened to her or we had given her away. I had mentioned to him that we were worried that she would regress if she saw him and she was doing so well and we finally belonged to her. He said he didn't think it would be long and she would be back to being settled again. Chad was in a mood and said if Nala likes "C' more than him then she must just go with him and not stay here. Chad's rejection issues are worse than Marks. I think Chad was going through all the emotions or very similar emotions of what a parent of an adopted child must go through when their child wants to meet their birth parent. Chad's rejection issues stem from Clint's death and losing someone so close to him again would be devastating for him.

Put Your Laptop Away & Give Me Some Attention

We assumed my brother would come straight away and Chad kept asking when he was getting there and eventually at 3.15,  I sent a message to find out when he would be coming and he said about half-past four. It was the longest one hour I think Chad had to go through. The old man next door had people over and every time we heard a car we thought it was my brother. Eventually, when he did arrive, we didn't even hear him, he had to phone to say he was at the gate. Chad opened the front door and said must I let her out and I said you might as well. She went rushing up to my brother's bakkie (Ute) and jumped on it and Chad walked off and said I swear she can just go with him. When he got out his bakkie and said hello, she danced around and wagged her tail and Chad still feeling rejected said she has never done that to me (she has and I reminded him that she does) and he walked to the lounge. My brother came inside, introduced me to his girlfriend, they brought us biscuits and biltong for either us or the dogs.

We Sleep Anywhere That Is Cool

His girlfriend sat down and Nala jumped on the couch and jumped all over her, licking her and when we told her to get down she went and sat by Chad. My brother said, give her ten minutes and she will remember me, ten minutes came and went and she just did her own thing, sitting by Chad or lay on the floor. Spike was more all over them than Nala. Spike will take his ball to anyone who comes to our house so they can play with him. My brother's girlfriend went outside to have a cigarette and Spike stood barking at her with his ball in his mouth and I knew it was his "let's play bark" Mark said I better go out and see if she is OK because she doesn't know it is a friendly bark. Nala came out with me and wanted to play and Spike played with his girlfriend. Chad said my brother must feel really sh!t that his dog doesn't really worry about him and my brother kept saying that it is strange how she just attached herself to Chad and it is strange. I am sure he is happy (and he did say so) that she has settled so well and he could see that she was settled, because although she was all over Chad, she was also all over the house, inside and outside doing her own thing and not attached to Chad. She has only been with us for 2 and a half months and when she was with my brother, he had been out the country for longer periods and when he came home, she would not leave his side and when he left, she pined for him for a long time and would not eat.

I Match The Decor

We thought we would have a problem when he left, she ran up to his bakkie and jumped on it, so my brother said we should put her in my car, we did, but before they were out the gate, Chad let her out (probably testing her devotion to him) she just jumped out and ran to get her ball. She did not even look at him leaving. We just played with her and she carried on her normal routine.

Come On We Wanna GO Play

Chad said she is well and truly our dog now and everything is hers now, the house, the cars and all of us, she is a part of, but she is Chad's dog. We were so amazed yesterday, we know that she knows that if Chad goes in my car she goes with, but yesterday he went out in my car three times and as he picked up my keys, in the house, she went running outside with him to the car. How she knew he was going in my car and not his, only she would know.

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Monday, 21 December 2015

She Is A Lifetime, Not A Christmas Present

Whilst everyone else is either on holiday or rushing around shopping or preparing for a Christmas feast, I am blogging. In fact, this time, last year we were on the last leg of a VERY long trip to Paternoster. As fun and relaxing as what that holiday was, I am quite glad we are not going away this year and I don't even feel as if we are missing out. As much as we need holidays to de-stress, they can be very stressful, especially when you have animals and finding trustworthy animal lovers to take care of them. We are also not doing anything exciting for Christmas and we are only buying Chad and his girlfriend Christmas presents. Chad is all sorted and for once he will be getting a Christmas present on Christmas Day, not like in the past when he gets them months/days or weeks before Christmas, birthdays or Graduation.The other day we were talking about his aversion to surprises and getting presents on his birthday/Christmas and his love of opening presents that don't belong to him and his girlfriend said with this shocked/surprised look on her face and said, "I know, Chad said look I bought you a Christmas present (a month ago) let me show you, whilst unwrapping it, they are earrings, let me just see them, I forgot what they look like". A week later he bought her actual Christmas present - a heart pendant - same story - so now he has no idea what to buy her. Chad has always been like that, he can't keep a surprise and doesn't like surprises and she loves surprises.

Well being the odd child that Chad can be, I asked him what the protocol was on parents buying [his] a girlfriend a Christmas present. I have to check with him first although it would seem a bit odd if we didn't buy her a present when she is at our house every day, eats dinner with us every night and I sometimes send food home in a Tupperware if she leaves before we eat. Buying a present would be a normal thing to do, but there is nothing normal about us I guess. The biggest problem is that I have no idea what to buy her. What do you buy a 16-year-old girl, who you don't know that well even though she is at your house every single day! Well, that was until Saturday - she has gone to stay at her bestie for a few days, who lives far from here.

Buying for  a teenage girl should be so easy, except she is not a girly-girl at all. On first impressions, she looks like a real little Madame and very very girly-girl, but she is actually a tomboy, but puts in an effort, because she feels she should try to be girly sometimes. I guess her mom or stepmom or some other girl has told her that. She is a really pretty little thing, but would rather be jumping on the trampoline with our dogs on a Friday night or shooting Chad's pellet gun than being out at a club or painting her nails. She is naturally pretty and doesn't need makeup. I am not posting pictures of her on my blog because I don't think it is right. She knows I blog because Chad told her, but won't give her my blog name and I told her I am not a blogger as such, I just have an online journal and nothing exciting to read. I told Chad, in front of her, he shouldn't have told her about my blog.  I still don't think it is right to post pictures of her unless I have her permission.

I am really struggling to think of what to buy her and went shopping on Sunday with Mark which was a nightmare, so I am attempting to go again tomorrow. She desperately wants a kitten, but her father hates cats and she thought (so did Chad) that she could keep it here as we seem to be the adopter of many animals and we love cats. One problem Garfield hates cats. I asked her the other day if she knew how old Garfield is and she said no, I told her that she is 17, her eyes grew bigger than the day we discussed Chad's present opening habit. Garfield is older than her which is mind boggling. She is a lifetime, not a Christmas present. What happens if they break up ( I am not allowed to say that). What happens if our dogs don't like the kitten and what happens if Garfield in her old age stresses and runs away or dies. I know Garfield won't live forever, but I don't want her to stress in her old age. Garfield also has a litter tray now and it is just one litter tray too many - she has had it for about two years. As much as I would love a little kitten it is just not practical. I told Chad and JD when Chad moves out one day (never) they can get a kitten.

Clinty & Garfield

I am probably the worst boyfriend's mother right now, but I just can't have another animal attaching itself to me. To distract her from wanting a kitten we went to the Bush Babies Monkey Sanctuary on Saturday, now Chad wants a monkey - haha not a chance!!!

Will it be a slap in the face if I bought her a toy kitten?? I have no idea of where to even start looking for teenage girl presents. She may be a girl after my own heart because I am certainly not a girly-girl but I just don't know what to get her.

Thanks for reading...

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Saturday, 19 December 2015

The Idiosyncrasies Of Two Idiots

My posts about Nala and how she is getting on with her new siblings are not in chronological order or any order for that matter - they are in Dianne's too lazy to blog or do anything order. I was going through photos on my phone the other day and saw just how much she has changed over the past month and how her real personality now shines through. She had a bit of a setback the other day when Mark and Chad went away for the weekend, but it was short lived and she is back on track again  (more about that weekend in another post). In fact, she is so back on track the other night she suddenly started jumping all over Mark whilst he was sitting on the couch and then she had a game of rough and tumble on the couch with Spike. By the time I opened my camera to video them, they had calmed down, but no, we are not getting new lounge furniture anytime soon and below is a snippet of why not.

Yesterday Mark and I came home from work at the same time. He came home early because it was our last day at work and we had a braai for the staff then left early. The normal routine for the dogs is that as I get home, I have to go and play with them. Both Spike and Nala come running to the car, each with a ball in their mouths, I barely put my stuff in the house and we play, otherwise Spike barks like a crazed dog. When Mark gets home, he plays with them, but he does not put in as much effort as what I do - I really tire them out, especially Nala. Mark playing with them is just a habit - Spike's routine. Yesterday I didn't play with them because Chad and JD had just played with them. We were sitting in the lounge and Spike kept barking at Mark, so he played with them for a bit (2seconds) because they didn't want to play, translated to Mark was too lazy and hot to stand outside and play. A while later Nala came and stood by me and kept dropping her ball by my chair - she actually stood there bouncing it at my feet, but I was even lazier than Mark and ignored her. She then went to him, climbed on his lap and started licking his face - they went to go play. So cute!! At around about 8 last night, Chad and JD were playing with the dogs outside and called me to watch her playing with a soccer ball - she was chasing after the ball and trying to get it in her mouth. I then had to play with her - our normal game of fetch and then she was satisfied and settled for the night.

Too Tired To Move

I always feel quite bad, because our dogs don't go for walks. We used to take them for walks, but it is far too stressful, especially if I go with. I always stress that they will have fights with other dogs and going to parks where people allow their dogs to walk without leashes and the dogs come up to Spike who then wants to fight, is just too stressful. Piggy turns into a monster if she is on a leash walking with Spike. She was the total opposite if she walked with Pluto - he had such a calming effect on her. The other week, I read an article on why walking/running your dog until they are bone tired, does not stop them from ripping up your garden or destroying everything in sight - it doesn't stimulate them mentally. I can't remember where I read it, but I have been watching our dogs playing and giving it a lot of thought. Playing with them, not only tires them out physically but mentally too. Pounding the pavements in a long straight line doesn't give the mental stimulation of racing after the ball, looking for it, turning around when it goes in the opposite direction, finding it hidden under leaves. Sometimes the ball goes by the cars and Nala who is very good at finding it hidden somewhere in our carport, first stops waits a bit then races to get the ball and gets it before I have even discovered where it landed.

Any floor Will Do When We Are Tired

I take back my words of her being slow (retarded) - I think her not being able to find her ball when it was right by her was her way of hiding it so no one could take it away from her. It was her form of security. This photo below of her ball in Spike's bowl of food, totally confused Spike, he would not go near the bowl and kept barking at it, but she put it in the bowl after Chad had been home every day for awhile and then went back to school. This was on the 28 October and she has come a long way since then.

What The Heck Food Is That In My Bowl

A Ball - You Seriously Expect Me To Eat A Ball

Chad and Mark went to the workshop one Sunday and she went with. Chad took her upstairs once and then down again. We have like an alcove or passageway that leads off the reception area that has an interleading door and the workshop which also has an interleading door. The stairs to the upstairs offices are in the passage area then if you go upstairs there is another passage to a mezzanine kind of area opposite the offices and right on the other side are fire escape type of stairs into the workshop. Chad closed the workshop door and reception door and they went into the workshop area and left her in the passage area, within seconds she was upstairs across the mezzanine area and down the stairs into the workshop by Chad. He only took her to the offices, not across to the mezzanine level. She is definitely not slow - the not finding her ball had something to do with her insecurities.

We went to fetch Chad's new (pre-owned) car the other day. He couldn't collect it straight away because Bidtrack had to take the tracker out of his Golf and put it into his Audi and that took a few days. The minute that was done, I had to rush him there to fetch this long awaited car and it was at 3 in the afternoon and Mark was busy. I went home to pick up Chad, Nala walked with him to the car and saw he was getting into my car and stood waiting for him to open the back door so she could get in. If he goes anywhere in my car or this old Nissan Tracker Mark has, he takes Nala with - let me rephrase that, Chad only stoops to the level of driving a Hyundai Getz if he wants Nala with. She hopped in the car and off we went to collect the car. I took this photo (below) of her in the car when Chad went into the dealership to collect his car. Chad loves that photo of her and said it is a stunning photo and it is, but I said he needs to clean her eyes, because they are full of muck - his reply was "Oh no that is why we got her - she is a no maintenance dog" :D - Piggy has to have her eyes cleaned, her folds powdered and her backside wiped 9 out of ten times. Chad is having nothing of that with Nala.

Car Rides Are The Best

Shame Chad also said after we had been to fetch his car, it must be terrible for her that every time she goes in a car, she wonders if this is going to be her new home. Her face lit up and her eyes were bright and happy when Chad climbed out the car and then when he was no longer in view, she became very sad and withdrawn wondering if he was gone for good. She hasn't had multiple owners. She belonged to my brother as did her mother, so she was with my brother from birth. He bottle fed her and found her at birth next to her mom who had collapsed whilst giving birth, so couldn't feed her pups. The mom was hospitalized and sterilized - long story, but my brother became Nala's surrogate mom (not too sure about the other pups). Then last year he went through a very ugly breakup with his partner of more than 25 years  and he left with Nala and the clothes on his back and his car. So Nala went to a strange house, leaving behind a family of dogs and a human family. She went with my brother because she was so attached to him. I think he may have also worked out of the country before the breakup. I am not sure of the details, but after the breakup, he did leave the country for a few months at a time and had to leave Nala behind. She was well looked after and loved, but she missed him and we saw how traumatic it must have been for her, every time he left when he left her at our house the night she came to live with us. That she attached herself to Chad is quite something and what I think helped her settle was having Spike as a distraction. Spike also suffers from separation anxiety even though he has never been taken away from Mark, but he gets very agitated when Mark goes away and if he is in a car with Mark, he is an absolute pain. He has to sit on Mark's lap when he drives, which is not practical, so it becomes quite stressful having him in the car, but he is not on the level of seperation anxiety as what Nala is.

Spike has an inner concern that is hard to explain. When we first got Spike, he was the sweetest thing ever but as he got older, he became destructive, he fought with Pluto all the time - I mean a Bull Terrier against a Dashcund, no brainer who was the one who was badly hurt. He would chew up my stuff and I just hated him, because he hurt my Pluto. It was during the time that we were going through the courtcase against the person who killed Clint. Pluto was always my comfort and took all my heartache and stress onto himself - hard to explain but he did. On the days that we went to court, I was completely wiped out and devastated and broken. On those days, Spike would be an angel, he would lie on the floor next to the bed where I was lying after I got home from court and he would do nothing wrong. He would not chew up anything, fight with the other dogs or even bark. He would just lie quietly, Pluto would always lie in my arms. It happened every time we went to court or on days, I could not cope with my grief. Spike had an inner sense and I believe he had that same sense that Nala was troubled and grieving and he took care of her and made her feel safe and comforted. It is something beyond normal explanation and understanding. Every time she cried for Chad when he left to go somewhere, Spike would run to her and lick her and sit by her. Even when she was panting and tired from playing, he was even more tired than her, he would run to her side and lick her and make sure that she was ok. He still does it.

There is no doubt that Nala ended up at the best home possible, not because we are better dog owners than anyone else, but Chad needed a dog like Nala in his life, even though he has Piggy who loves him to bits, it is a different kind of love. Nala also needed Chad, but she also needed Spike and Spike probably needed her. They are two loving idiots who complete each other. Neither dominate each other. We don't really have a dominant dog in the house, they each dominate something different. Jingles is probably the most dominate one. JD said last night that she was scared of Jingles and for a long time, because she is vicious, but not to strangers coming here, like a guard dog, but vicious towards the other dogs and anyone who tries to pick her up or cuddle her. She gets love on her terms.

Chad bought Nala a new ball a few weeks ago, but no new ball is safe from Spike and that afternoon after many short sessions of playing with the new ball whilst the plumbers were at our house digging up the kitchen, they got into some serious playing after the plumbers left. The new ball lit the fire under Spike and got him moving again. This video was after they had been playing like crazed wild dogs for about 20 to 30 minutes, then I only decided to video them. The last fuzzy bit was when I tried to video her getting the ball from Chad when he was washing his hands. She thought he was washing the ball, but Spike had it. She went to the tap to take the ball out of his hands like she does each time we play and then wash the ball at the end of the game.

Chad takes JD home every night in my car, because he takes her home late and takes Nala with. The other night he took Nala and Piggy and they both sat like angels in the car. Last night he gave Spike a turn and left Nala at home. He sat quietly for two minutes then went crazy in the car - no manners Spike!!

What???? Why Am In The Car!!!!

If there is a dominate animal in this house it would actually have to be Garfield. I took this photo earlier when I went for a biscuit break. A biscuit fell by Garfield and Spike waited until she walked away from the biscuit to take it.

Umm - That's My Biscuit

OK I Will Just Wait For You To Move

This photo below of Nala licking Garfield is for my mother (if you reading) who believes Nala hates cats. OK, maybe Garfield is actually just a dog disguised as a cat and immune to dog hatred because Chad just told me that she also chased the cat from next door and almost got it. The cats that Spike hates, because they come into our garden and torment our dogs and stress out Garfield. I hope they realize that Nala is so much faster than Spike and she will get them. Even with Spike chasing them they still come right up to our door and try and get into our house. They are just lucky Nala listens when she hears the word no.

Morning Kisses

Biscuit Time

Well, that is the latest on Nala and her antics with her siblings - not blood siblings but definitely love siblings.

Thanks for reading...

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