Me, Lindsey, two dogs, two oceans, a wedding and kilometers of empty roads, driving through a beatiful country.
I've had animals for most of my life. When Segugio, our family dog, died back in the early 90's, I couldn't stand to have another one. It was too painful when he died while I was on holiday.
We had a cat for 10 years, Pulce, who fought all his life and killed and raped in the whole neighbourhood... it made me so proud!, and while I was in the army, my sister basically replaced me with a new dog, Bart, who still lives and prosper in Italy (he's now 10 years, Pulce, unfortunately, died after 12 years, in 2005, trying probably to kill a car).
Then I moved to London. I had Rob, Jack Daniels, an internet connection, football and not much else. I didn't need anything else, I thought. Maybe a place bigger than 40 square meters. Maybe a bidet. But at the time, I was happy with what I had.
Then, moving to South Africa, and suddenly owning a big house, and being married, I felt like I needed a dog to keep me company during those long days at the office. Lindsey was keen too and so we got ourselves two puppies that grew quite quickly, surviving any kind of disease and problems due to the initial malnutrition they had when they were abandoned.
Living with dogs is an experience that everyone should try. Yes, they piss everywhere at first, and their poo is either too liquid to scoop or too smelly to face. They also eat, fart, and bark in random succession during the course of the day (and night). And don't forget the insanely expensive veterinary bills!
But their unconditional love forms a bond with the owner that is difficult to experience in any other relationship.
So our trip to Cape Town with Bruce and Cucciola was a risk. We just wanted to have some memories that in the future we could share with our friends, family and kids. Everything was fine until the day after the wedding. Then, suddenly, on a Monday morning, the whole experience almost turned sour.
Lindsey and I were sitting at Kirsten's home. I was finally connected on internet and all I need was some credit on my phone to be able to finish some works that required my urgent attention. So with Bruce house sick (there wasn't much garden around the house to run freely with Cucciola) and bored, it was a nice chance to take him for a walk to relax a little. As soon as I left the house, Cucciola started crying and crying. Lindsey even phoned while I was crossing the road, noticing how desperate to get out she was.
So I crossed the road. And at the local Caltex, I asked for the location of the closest cash point. Then, for some reason that still today I can't explain, Bruce freaked out. Maybe was the smell of the petrol station, or the strange local accent used by the colored guy who was talking to me. Bruce backtracked, managed to get his head out of the collar, leaving me with a limp leash, and crossed the road. In the middle of the traffic. Just when the lights turned green.
It's strange how something that happened in probably 10 seconds, replays in your head like it was really 10 minutes long. I remember thinking "Fuck, I need to do something" and then "Fuck, that car is not going to stop" and "Fuck, that car just hit my dog" before I moved. Bruce was already screaming in pain, but luckily the car was just off the light and its speed wasn't too bad. I stepped on the lane, and Bruce, jumping on three legs, decided to run back home, and crossed the next lane. Again.
This time my brain finally stopped thinking (when you swear in your mind it takes forever to actually react) and I crossed with him, trying to grab him.
And so another car saw me, and slowed down. Bruce crossed the road and jumped his way home, ale 300 meters of it, and I was hit on my hip, or my big ass. No time to swear again, and here I am running behind a dog still too quick for me and thinking "I'm so unfit".
Two people tried to stop him but he managed to avoid them. And finally he ended his run at Kirsten's door (which was only two corners away, dogs have a great sense of orientation apparently). I shouted at Lindsey, who was at the phone with her mum, and we took a bruised, scared and bloody dog to the vet.
Few hours later he was out from the hospital, with a big bandage of his leg but in decent condition, considered what just happened.
My ass got the worse, it was painful for few days.
Suddenly the whole week changed. Bruce got used quite quickly to the cast, and all we had to do was taking precautions when walking him in parks on in wet grass. I guess that since he was alive and just annoyed by that white thing surrounding his left front leg, everything was almost ok for Lindsey and me.
The week in the cottage was slow, and mostly was a routine after another: wake up, take the dogs for wee, take the dogs for a walk, back home, breakfast, work, lunch, work, take the dogs for a walk, get a take away dinner and go to bed, surrounded by 4 furry friends, until the next day. One evening we decided to go out and watch Marley and me... a dog movie (very well done by the way)
Strange to say, it was quite relaxing. I've even managed to meet my old friend Dermot, from my London days! (he got married, had a kid and now took a year off to travel around the world with the family. Great plan)
The next Sunday Kirsten and Andy were back (thankfully their honeymoon was only a week long!) and after spending the last day with them with another huge breakfast - Andy and I already look quite pregnant - , we said goodbye to the one week old married couple and, with Bruce and Cucciola in the car, we started another leg of our long trip.Wilderness, near George, on the Indian Ocean.