The comedy dog

When my friend, Lucy, and I moved to Namibia, we went to work on a volunteer-run project that has been going for years. It is a bit strange because, just before you arrive, fresh-faced and excited, the volunteers from before you, worldly-wise and infinitely superior, leave and you just step straight into their shoes. You inherit everything from their life; their home, their friends, their job, their pets….

As so when we turned up with our backpacks as big as ourselves at the door of our new home, we were greeted enthusiastically by a big golden floppy-eared dog called Diaz. It was lovely. I’d only ever had a dog once and that lasted for about a week. (I’ll admit that it’s because I was terrified of it so I think my parents had to return it to the pet shop. As I recall, my brother was having great fun with it.)

She was so funny. Her personality was a cross between a small child and an old lady. Before we had become aware of her peculiarities, she would fall asleep on the floor, her legs twitching in her dreams. We’d be going ‘ah, look, she’s so cute.’ Then she’d urinate. It must have been something about the cold tiled floor or something. She didn’t do it when she slept outside. We’d be reading books in the front room, enjoying a mid-afternoon siesta, perhaps. She’d sneakily fall asleep without us noticing. And she’d do it again. Our mop was well-used, let’s put it that way. I don’t even want to go into the time when she fell asleep on the sofa….

One time, we had been asked to house-sit for a friend who was going out of town for a few days. She had three dogs. We knew Diaz wouldn’t get along with them so we thought we would leave her behind. She was prone to staking out the school where we worked and barking incessantly so we knew we couldn’t let her see where we were going. As she was originally a street dog and adopted by the volunteers at the project a few years before us, she was more than adept at fending for herself. Plus, everyone knew she was the volunteer dog and when they saw her around town, she would get fussed over and sometimes fed better than us! We’d be munching through our fiftieth plate of rice and sweetcorn and Diaz would be getting fed burgers at a restaurant in town.

So anyway, we thought we’d leave her behind. Easier said than done. We shut the door which led down the steps into the garden and started walking down the road. It was only to the end of the road, then up the little hill half way, then a right. Very close. We’d be there in two minutes. We got four steps into our journey and Diaz was there next to us, panting away, her excited eyes asking where we were going.

“No, Diaz,” we told her and opened the door to the garden. She ran in and we locked the door again. We started walking, and again she was next to us. She could jump over the garden wall…. This time, we locked her in the garden and ran for our lives, hoping to get away before she got over the wall. She got over, of course, saw us and came along for the run. This was proving very difficult.

We eventually employed a technique which consisted of throwing sticks and things for her to fetch then ducking around corners and hiding inside porches. We must have walked halfway around the town trying to lose her! We kept on thinking we’d done it, she’d found another dog to play with, we’d get on our way again and then we’d see her rounding a corner in front of us and we’d have to backtrack quickly and hide inside someone’s porch or a shop for a while, waiting for her to pass. Needless to say, we were late to our friend’s house and Diaz found us anyway.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. […] comedy dog, Diaz, barking at the kids at school or following us around or weeing on the […]

    Reply

  2. […] I lie. We had a dog when I lived in Africa but that was more like looking after a child in a dog’s body. She came and went as she pleased […]

    Reply

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