Now is the time to call the bluff of vagabonds

Time of article published Nov 28, 2020

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Joubert Malherbe

TAKING a tumble becomes an occupational hazard later in life and when the lyrics of the old nursery rhyme, Jack Be Nimble, are but a distant memory.

When one tends to take dogs for a walk – and of one of them is a powerful husky-chow cross – the occasional instance where meeting Mother Earth at close quarters tends to occur more frequently.

“Oh, Mother Earth with your fields of green/Once more laid down by the hungry hand/How long can you give and not receive/And feed this world, ruled by greed…,” goes the great Neil Young song.

It went through my head, briefly, when I had a “splat” moment the other day.

I had taken our above-mentioned husky-chow, Ziggy, for a stroll around the neighbourhood, with tiny Jack Russell cross, Fudgie. Both of them are, at once, adorable but also pretty excitable.

We mostly go the same route on the 4km or so stroll. We have made plenty of acquaintances, both of the two- and four-legged variety. There is an instant rapport with some dogs, all of which show varying degrees of interest as we pass by their fences.

There are specifically two dogs, both female like Fudgie, who are very affectionate towards us, especially Ziggy. Ziggy is thus named due to the fact that he has two different-coloured eyes (brown and blue), which remind me of David Bowie, who had adopted the stage name in his early days.

The two females – I don’t like the term “bitches” – are called Poppy, a golden Labrador, and Johanna, a border collie. Ziggy is no pushover and appears to like playing hard-to-get, although he sometimes deigns to reciprocate the attention, mainly to Johanna. Fudgie remains strangely aloof in most of the interactions.

On the day in question, we got to Johanna’s house, opposite Eben Jansen Park, just around the corner from home.

Johanna, as always, came towards us, but she walked gingerly, with one of her hind legs held up in the air. She was clearly in some discomfort, but she nonetheless made it to the fence, where she and Ziggy had a brief flirtation.

I always have plenty of biscuits (broken in half) in my pocket which I dispense to the doggies on our way – mostly with the owners’ blessing.

Anyway, on this day, upon noticing Johanna’s injury, I called out to the owners, Leonie, and/or her daughter, Lana, since I was worried about her. In doing so, my back was turned towards the street and at that moment a fellow dog walker came trundling past.

Ziggy lunged at the pair. Now I know he is generous in dispensing affection towards all and sundry and that his intention was probably to slobber all over them with love.

But, in lunging towards them, he – and by extension, Fudgie – dragged me into the street and I fell onto the tarmac, sustaining two or so grazes on my elbow and the palm of my hand.

I managed to hold onto both their leads.

The hapless woman in question asked if she could assist, but I told her to please just walk on – maybe a tad brusquely.

Hearing the commotion, Leonie came out of the house to help and brought me a plastic cup of water, which was just the ticket. I hobbled back from there and was happy to get back home.

I settled into watching footage from the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture. Man, talk about taking a plunge and fallen heroes, wasn’t it simply agonising to watch former president Jacob Zuma’s behaviour?

May Judge Raymond Zondo emulate the aforementioned Jack… and be nimble and quick in acting against the (alleged) architect of state capture.

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