When we moved from Cape Town to Johannesburg at the end of 2006, we made the heart-rending decision to have our old Border Collie put down. She was fifteen years old, blind and frequently incontinent. She was also terrified of loud noises and would likely have suffered a heart attack at her first experience of a Highveld thunderstorm. I had inherited her from my husband’s ex-wife (She.Who.Must.Be.Obeyed.). Her name (the Collie, not S.W.M.B.O.) was Feens; which is – I’m told – an Irish term: ‘feebleness’ with the middle consonants removed. I loved her dearly and owe The Child’s survival through infancy and the perils of toddlerhood to her doting vigilance.
Feens was my first experience of a breed other than the Daschund, a series of whom had been my beloved companions since early childhood. We decided to settle into our new home and then bring in a pup. Before we were quite settled, Mr. Bullard was shot in his home around the corner from ours and we decided to speed up the process. Much as my heart longed for a Daschund, I proposed that we get something a little scarier; an alarm system and biter in one. The criteria was simple: a short haired dog, smallish breed as it would live inside the house (read On Child’s Bed), with a good disposition and suitable as a companion for a young child. Ideally a female, for the sake of the newly upholstered furniture.
We settled on a Staffie and began combing the Star Classifieds. Within a week, we’d seen Noeleen’s ad (078 396 4223) and arranged to meet her at a fuel station in Rivonia. She was from a farm, she said, which was difficult to find. Oy! Said The Husband. Bring cash, she said, no cheques. Oy! Said The Husband.
Needless to say, the puppy was a bit odd looking, but we were unfamiliar with the breed and a bit confused when Noeleen told us that she was an ‘American Staffie’. The Husband and I conferred quickly on the fuel station’s forecourt and came to the decision that we really had no choice in the matter.
We named her Lulubelle.
She is the poster-child for all that a dog should be.
She is not a Staffie.