My brother’s dog died yesterday. It was very sudden and completely unexpected, but at least it was peaceful. We’re obviously all very sad, especially the kids who were really looking forward to seeing the dogs and rest of the family in a couple of months time.

Kaiser was a lot of dog: 55kg of prime Rottweiler – potentially terrifying. But once you got to know him, it was clear that he was just a gentle giant: loving, patient, kind, good-natured.

However, for me, Kaiser wasn’t just a big softie. He was the dog that changed my view on the whole species.
I had several bad experiences with dogs when I was younger: indeed, I can still show you the scars. And when I see people backing away from the beagle when we’re out walking, I completely understand where they are coming from, even though I know that she wouldn’t harm a fly.

I used to feel that way too.

Kaiser’s gentle nature made the difference for me. It’s almost like he was a willing, knowing ambassador for dogkind. He had such obvious power, but with it, such restraint and understanding. A great example of how it’s the training, care and management of potentially dangerous breeds that makes all the difference, rather than the breed itself.

Kaiser was much-loved and doted-upon, not just by my brother and his wife, but also my Mum. Having the dogs visit was the highlight of her day when she had cancer. And Kaiser doted on her as well.

Looking back through photos on Facebook and on the family Whatsapp group, it’s clear that my brother and his wife gave Kaiser a great life. Just in the last couple of months, he was running free on beaches, through the snow, in the woodlands. Not bad. Not bad at all. If you were a dog, you’d want to be a Kaiser.

He will be sorely missed over here in Cape Town, as well as back home in Sheffield.

Air kiss your dog

Do you have a dog? Of course you do. Or perhaps you don’t.
Either way, there’s good evidence that allowing your dog to lick you (this is apparently the dog version of a kiss) could lead to all sorts of nasty stuff happening to you.

It may seem like a harmless display of affection, but allowing your pet to ‘kiss’ you could be dangerous – or even fatal.

So states the Guardian in their article, entitled:

Should I let my dog lick my face?

And the easy answer seems to be “no”, unless you want to play with Clostridium spp, E.coli and Campylobacter spp. Or Pasteurella multocida, a regular part of your dog’s normal mouth flora, which was:

… blamed for meningitis in 42 infants in France under the age of four between 2001 and 2011. Nearly half the babies were newborn, and most were infected as a result of dogs or cats licking them. Four died.

Or Haemophilus aphrophilus, responsible for causing brain abscesses and inflammation of the heart.

Or Dipylidium caninum – the double-pored dog tapeworm, the human excretion of which is always a favourite at parties. (Depending on which sort of parties you go to.)

And never forget the virtually unculturable (it’s really tough to grow it in a lab) Capnocytophaga canimorsus responsible for nearly doing for a 70-year-old woman in London earlier this year.

Statistically, you are extremely unlikely to get an horrific infection from allowing your dog (or cat – they’re hardly innocent in all this microbiological mayhem) lick your face. However, you are even less likely to get an horrific infection if you don’t allow your dog (or cat) to lick your face.

I know which route I’ll be taking. And I don’t even have a cat.

Subdued hound

Not 24 hours after this now infamous video was shot, the beagle was at the vet. Which wasn’t good news for anyone concerned – save for the vet’s bank manager, I suppose.

rsz_dsc_0003The diagnosis? A poor diet over the weekend. We’re guessing sand, fish, bones, seaweed and some more sand. That sort of thing is going to irritate your colon and it seems that the colon of the beagle is indeed irritated. We do try to watch what the dog eats, but it’s impossible to be there 24/7. We have prevented any previous episodes of this nature, which, given the desire of this breed to eat anything and everything, surely deserves at least some praise.

Despite appropriate medication, Colin remains rather subdued this evening, so we’re left hoping for an overnight turnaround before more serious measures need to be taken tomorrow.

Jasmine the Dog

As you may or may not know, we’ve recently been joined Chez 6000 by Colin the Dog. You can see my views about this development on this post. And yes. the puppy is very cute, but it’s a dog. Just a dog.

Same could be said for Jasmine Terry. Jasmine is also a dog. Just a dog.

The major difference between Jasmine and Colin (who, in a confusing development, isn’t actually called Colin) is that Colin doesn’t have her own Facebook page. But then Colin isn’t from Port Elizabeth and as we’ve discussed before, things are often a little weird that far along the south coast. (I fully recognise that for some of you, the bigger shock here will not be the dog with its own Facebook page, but rather the revelation that PE appears to have somehow developed internet access.)

I’m not sure how Jasmine set up her own Facebook page, although looking through the pages and pages of rules and regulations, at no point does it actually state that you have to be human. You do have to be 13 years old to use Facebook though, but I guess if you’re a dog, that’s only about 22 months.

Jasmine’s grasp of the English language is pretty good and, despite having paws instead of hands (this is just a dog, after all), her typing is nothing short of excellent, with only occasional lapses into Dog, such as at the end of this update:

Sorry peeps I have not been on FB much as my mom & dad are so busy working. However we are going away this weekend to Hogsback so I will post lots of pics. Cannot wait. I really hope it snows. Luckily my mom found pet friendly Accomodation so I get to go with. Woof!

Incredible. In fact, this dog is either the most talented canine out there or some human is pretending that the dog is writing the page. But can this really be the case, because that would be rather sad, wouldn’t it? Writing in the third person. Third dog, rather. Pretending to be a dog. Like something you’d do at junior school. Not an adult thing.

But then look at the adults that have sent Jasmine messages.
Here’s a screenshot of three of them.


Let’s start at the bottom:
Heather Coyle-Downing is an adult human (according to her profile picture, at least) and she is addressing Jasmine like it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to be doing. Jasmine, lest we forget, is a dog. Yes, a dog with a Facebook page and an uncanny knack of typing fairly decent English, but still a dog.

Working our way up:
I’m desperately trying to overlook the fact that Luke Harold appears to be a cat. If I choose not to ignore that, then everything falls apart, because Luke Harold – ostensibly a cat – has left a message on a Facebook page administered by a dog.
But still, despite the extremely dodgy relationship twixt cat and dog throughout history, Luke is wishing Jasmine well. That’s nice to see. Israel and Palestine could learn from this magnanimous behaviour. Unless of course “Mew meow” turns out to be Cat for “F*** You!”, in which case Luke Harold is a very naughty cat indeed.

We continue to Mark Mans’ contribution. Mark is a human. An adult human.
Mark is an adult human and yet he appears to have ventured onto the Facebook page of a dog, clicked the “Message” button, typed a series of potentially dog-related noises into the window that opened and then, presumably having carefully considered and approved his contribution, hit the “Send” button.
I find it unlikely that this was a series of accidental occurrences.
I think that he actually meant to do this.

What is wrong with these people (save for the fact that they all appear to be from PE)?

Because, let’s face it, there’s a huge difference between telling your Facebook friends that you’re enjoying your holiday and that your dog seems to be having a great time too, and setting up a page for your dog and writing it as if you were actually your dog. The former is, these days at least, considered perfectly reasonable behaviour.
The latter, however, suggests to me that you should urgently be seeking some sort of psychiatric therapy.

If this is you, talk to your vet immediately.

Thanks Jonathan