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Category: Dogs

Noisette, our dog, has now been in the Netherlands for 2 and a half months, and has settled in quite nicely. She is enjoying discovering the new smells, new parks, and the new dogs.

There is a strange thing that happens every night though.

In the evenings, Noisette’s favourite thing to do is to snuggle up under her blanket on “her” chair and doze off, experiencing the occasional doggie dream along way.

Each night though, between 9 and 10pm, she wakes up from her sleep, dashes to the window and starts barking, and going crazy. The object of her excitement – a small grey dog (I think a Bishon).

The curious thing about this all, is that this particular dog is the only dog she ever does this for, despite there being quite a few dogs that go walking down our street. In addition to this she has never actually met this dog face to face.

Most nights, she is also at the window barking, while the dog is still a block away from our house, and not once have I ever actually heard any noise from the dog or its owner. The only way I know they are walking past is because Noisette goes so mad.

So then, why on earth does Noisette dislike this particular dog so much? And how does she know when this dog is coming past? Does she hear or smell something that I don’t?

I can’t answer any of these questions, but I do get time every night to ponder them.


Last night, Noisette (our neurotic staffie) was sleeping with Cole when she gave a single bark – which is normally her signal that she has heard something outside and wants to go investigate. When we ignored her, she came into our room and stood there next to the bed, waiting for us to notice her, for what must have been a good couple of minutes.

Then she did something I have never heard her do before. She gave a short yelp, and wanted me to follow her. She often wants us to follow her to investigate noises, but her yelp was a first, so up I got to see what was wrong.

Well anyway, she took me back to Cole’s room, and then stood looking at the window.

Lo and behold, standing on the windowsill, on the outside, was Garfield, our cat. He had managed to jump out the window, and then could not get back in, so was trapped out in the street (Cole’s room is street-facing).

The interesting thing about this whole story, is that Noisette seemed to actually show concern for the cat. I did not see the usual aggression when she was alerting us to the problem.

And to make it even more strange, Noisette and Garfield get along like…well…cat and dog. Garfield is always trying to swipe poor Noisette with her claws, and Noisette is always trying to chase Garfield. Your typical canine-feline relationship.

But I do think, after last night, that as much as they don’t get along, they are actually, deep down, fond of each other. Like most human families – they may fight a lot, but when it matters, they watch each others back.


I was completely disgusted when I heard the verdict on the worst animal cruelty case I have seen in a long time.

First, though, a little history lesson. In January, a teacher in the Eastern Cape decided to punish his dog, which had bitten his daughter on her nose, by dragging the dog behind his car for 1.5km along a tar road.

Needless to say, the poor dog suffer severe injuries, and had to be put down. Most of the skin on it’s right side had been scraped off,  his tongue was ripped loose, and his eye had been cut open.

The man was arrested when the SPCA laid seven charges of animal abuse at the local police. The scary thing is that the police tried to persuade the SPCA not to lay any charges as the man was “just punishing a naughty dog”.

The SPCA wanted the maximum penalty of R60000 fine or 2 year prison sentence.

The verdict was handed down yesterday. He is to have an 18 month prison sentence, 9 months of that suspended, or the option of a R3000 fine.

That for me is disgusting.
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Cars are not a natural part of life for dogs. Well, I would believe that, except they seem to have adapted well to these unnatural beasts.

Just this morning, I went down to the shops, and Noisette came along for the ride as she normally does.

Now, you would expect a dog to not know where they are going in a car, as the motion of the car is unnatural for a dog, but Noisette always sits up in the car and watches where she is going. If in her favourite spot in the front next to me, she will keep her gaze fixed firmly in front taking in the view, while when she sits in the back she will lean on the seat looking out of the window.

And to add credence to the fact that she knows where she is going, she knows exactly the route we take to the park for her daily run, or the way to the beach (her favourite place on earth), and several of the other places we visit. Often, even when we are still several kilometers away from where we are going, she will recognise the route and then start getting excited. This just goes to prove to me that dogs are aware of their surroundings and have a memory for routes even when travelling by car.

Another adaptation which Noisette has shown is that she is remarkably resilient to my rather bad driving. She has taught herself to lean into corners and compensates for my braking and acceleration superbly. She will sit on the seat and slip an inch.

Dogs truly have a great ability to learn.


The last few days I have been rather grumpy.  I am the type of guy that when I am grumpy, all I want, is to be left alone to think, and when I am ready I will bounce back.

However, this does not go down too well with Claudia, my girlfriend. She does not quite understand this and usually ends up making both of us feel worse.

But then when I came home, my mood immediately got better. Noisette, our Staffie, greeted me with her usual excitement. Unlike a certain woman (I don’t want to generalise in case I offend some poor woman out there) she doesn’t care whether I am grumpy or happy, she will give me the same joyful greeting irrespective.

Dogs have that special ability to understand their owner, and not hold against him his state of mind.  Maybe this is why man and dog has had such a close bond through the millenia. It is as though we are perfectly suited for each other. A symbiotic relationship like none other.