On the Beach

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Zebra Ribs

South Africa is a huge country and diverse in terms of geography, ethnicity, lifestyle: you name it. It is so easy to become so embedded in your life that you forget that other people live their lives differently to you. I don't mean just that their child goes to a different school, they live in a different suburb, they don't like sushi or have a pool. I mean people who might look like the same species as you but, who, 6 hours drive away live a life that you cannot even begin to imagine.

Our paths crossed with the purchase of a dog. I'd love to say the kids wore us down, but actually I think it was me that wore my husband down. In a weak moment he agreed and, before he knew it I had ordered the dog. It seems very odd to order a living creature online, my requirements based on looks, gender and how it fits into my lifestyle. Confirmation, if any were needed, of my shallow nature: I can't have it spoiling the aesthetics of my house and garden by not looking right.

Before the due date- it really felt like a due date, except without worrying about the pain- we went shopping for puppy things. As with everything in modern times, it is possible to spend an infinite amount of money on things that I- and, I'm willing the bet, the dog- never knew were needed. The prize for the most outrageous item was a pet brush priced at R970- around US$97. For that price, it really should do more than just the pedestrian task of brushing. Among the things I bought were puppy treats which sounds sweet but is actually a selection of stinky parts of roadkill including, predictably, bones and-unexpectedly- hooves.

The creature was to be delivered to the Cape Winelands by the breeders from the Eastern Cape. Specifically a place in the Eastern Cape that the vet described as "the absolute centre of nowhere".

We turned up at the allocated time and place, ready to collect The Dog. My father and I arrived in an urban 4x4- you know, a great performance car but it looks so nice that it would actually be a shame to get it dirty on a road where you need a 4x4. We were dressed for the winter in a city slicker kind of way, clutching smartphones whilst making sure that our boots and trousers didn't get too muddy.

The breeders greeted us in a room of puppies, a warm fire in the corner of the cold damp room. They were lovely, genuine people who love their dogs. Their bakkie and trailer were filthy and their gumboots covered in mud. I can only imagine what they made of me and the lady who came after me, even more inappropriately dressed for dog collection and wearing all her investment jewellery. I watched them bid every dog goodbye and provide them with a bag of treats. I asked about what treats to get and what she was giving me for the puppy. The reply:

"Those treats in the bag, they are home made. I prefer homemade. Last week I bought a zebra, skinned it and hung it out to dry. Those treats for your dog, they are the ribs. The problem for you here in the Western Cape, is that it is too damp for the zebra to dry out properly."

Yes, the main problem with that whole idea for me, is the damp climate....