I usually get slightly irritated when people anthropomorphise animals (especially on nature programmes. Oooh don’t get me started). Which is funny coz I’ve had my fair share of strange creatures attaching themselves to me (and I to them) growing up. Acting as human as can be. From hairless squirmy pink mice/squirrels/birds to fluffy genets and civets to not so fluffy porcupines and elephants.
I'm sure I anthropomorphise too, but I guess it’s some of the nature programmes that make me feel this way. That husky voice on the tele pretending that the programme about baboons is a 5 act play and the (oh so complex) baboon characters are all acting out some intricate Shakespearean plot that only the scriptwriter and director appreciate. Or understand. Husky Voiceover: "It is act four and Skitty, the mother of Waffles can finally get revenge on Big Gump for ruthlessly killing her only child in cold blood. She plans her attack carefully, with the help of her sisters, and in the dead of night carries out her revenge". Oh puh-leeze. I kid you not. Have you seen that one?
Anyway, I digress (I SAID not to get me started!). What I’ve been witnessing over the last few days is making me become a little more forgiving of this. Most evenings, when I’m driving back home (and sometimes in the mornings too) I see two cows tied up to a tree with a rope long enough for them to graze and get some shade if they desire, but short enough so they don’t wander into the road and get turned into ready made beef burgers. Every now and then there is a dog there, hanging out with the cows. Sometimes the dog is licking the cow’s head. Sometimes the cow is licking the dog’s head. Sometimes they just stand, nose to nose, having a chat and enjoying each others company. Sweet, hey?
Then today I saw the most embarrassed looking dog I have ever seen (and of all animals dogs can look the most embarrassed, no? And elephants, come to think of it). Anyway, this dog was taking itself for a walk, minding its own business, when a herd of about twelve curious looking goats walked by. And they stopped dead and STARED at the poor dog. The dog, lets call him Albert, shifted a sideways, uncomfortable glance across at the goats and carried on walking. But the goats were not to be fobbed off and came right up to Albert, blocked his path and continued their unadulterated staring. Like about five of them all in a semi-circle about a foot away from Albert having a good old stare. Now Albert, being a courteous and bashful dog did not just tell them to all bugger off back from whence they came, go and hang out with your chum Lucifer. No, he just politely stepped past them, started off on a trot and kept glancing sideways to see if they were still looking. And hurrying along with an oh-please-don’t-let-them-talk-to-me-I-can’t-remember-their-names expression on his face. As I drove past he took the opportunity of ducking along next to the car and using me for cover so he could get the hell away. Much like leopards do when they hunt in Luangwa. And I could have sworn he threw a grateful glance up to me when he was past the goats as we went our separate ways. He may have even winked. Or maybe that was just the voiceover in my head.
Some old pics of me with a selection of pets and increasingly peculiar hairstyles