Category Archives: Portraits

I See . . . Red Roses Too

Red Roses Too

Red Roses Too

Many roses today have little or no scent. I wish you could have smelled the sweet heady scent of this rose from last summer.


Portrait of a Dog #6


Joie de Vivre - the Idiot

Joie de Vivre – Little Monkey

Joie de Vivre!

Do you wanna play now, Mum?

How about NOW?

Little Monkey, nine years going on two. Full of life and boundless energy. Always ready for a game.

She was born in a rescue centre, from a rescued pregnant female. Adopted as a puppy by students, she was returned at eighteen months as the new place they moved to did not allow dogs. There is no stigma attached to this. If you can no longer care for the dog, please take it back to the rescue organisation, where it will be cared for until they can re-home it.

I’ve no doubt they loved her; threw the ball round the garden for her; had her sterilised and vaccinated. She was certainly never abused. But a dog like Little Monkey, of such an anxious, unbalanced nature, needed more than that. She needed exercise; such as daily walks round the area; and discipline; such as sitting quietly while waiting, not leaping in the air.

She has been, and continues to be, my most difficult dog. A simple walk is exhausting. In the beginning, she freaked out at everything; a bag full of grass clippings; a motorbike, parked and silent; something present, or absent, that was or wasn’t there on yesterday’s walk. And the dogs!! Seven years of taking her every week to socialise with 20 to 30 dogs all loose on a field and she still freaks out and leaps in the air when passing a dog on a walk. This is what happens to unbalanced dogs if they are unsocialised until eighteen months old.

From her I learnt patience. A lesson she teaches me over and over, all day, every day.

But, she has an endearing puppy-like quality that will never disappear. She is always ready for fun, always excited to see you again, and she does not bite! It could be worse.





Portrait of a Dog #5

Mr SL Says Hello

Mr SL Says Hello

Study in Black and White.

Old Mr Spaghetti Legs! Why is his portrait only appearing now, as number 5?

He’s been with us for 8 months, but he is so respectful that he did not look directly at me until just this last week! I wanted to catch that, and here it is at last.

A little of Mr SL’s story: He was removed by the police from his owners on the streets of a town, as he was severely emaciated. He was cared for at an animal rescue organisation for 10 years 8 months, until Little Monkey picked him out as her perfectly compatible companion and he came to live with us.

People feel sorry for Mr SL, for living so long in kennels. Of course I do too, but he could have had a much worse life: of neglect, abuse and starvation. As it was, he was given food, shelter, walks, companionship, both canine and human, vaccinations, medical care when needed, and LOVE LOVE LOVE. He was sorely missed when we took him away.

Dogs live in the moment and I try to follow their example. Still, it took Mr SL 7 months to really relax, and accept this is his home now. And another month to look at the camera and say “Dog biscuits”! (cheese)

Portrait of a dog #4

Still Life - Madam

Still Life – Madam

Still Life

Madam; Miss Independent; the most stunningly beautiful of all our dogs; the one everyone automatically went to stroke; and the one most likely to bite you! (Granted – the one time she did bite me, I had accidentally shut her tail in the door – so fair enough!)

She was about 7 years old when we adopted her from a rescue organisation. She had fur that constantly grew along her ears, legs, tail and undercarriage, with “bantam chick” fluffy feet. The fastest of our dogs; she could even catch the much younger Little Monkey. She was independent from the first, and quite happy, in later years, to spend the day on her own, snug on her bed in a little niche, round the back of the house; appearing for walks and meal times.

From her I learnt that even a pack animal like a dog may prefer to be alone.


Portrait of a Dog #3

Seeing Eye to Eye - Madam and Little Monkey

Seeing Eye to Eye – Madam and Little Monkey

Seeing Eye to Eye

The Alpha and Omega females call a truce and share a bonding moment; stalking. These two dominant females studiously ignored each other most of the time. Madam, the old alpha female, had spotted a squirrel in the garden. As the younger alpha-wannabe (Little Monkey) walked past, she noticed Madam’s stillness and turned to join her in a moment of silent hunting.


Portrait of a Plant #2

Camellia and Visitor

Camellia and Visitor

I’ll flower when I’m blooming ready!

What is it with plants in my garden? I have had this camellia bush for twenty years. For the first ten it simply sat there, not dead, but not flourishing; just a sticky thing in the ground. Gradually, it began to grow and finally there were buds. I counted each new flower. Thirteen one year. Hooray!

Now, there are countless blooms. But there was still a mystery. Why do I find so many dead flowers and buds under the bush, when I have just raked there the day before?

It took a while to solve this mystery. Then one day, I looked through the window and saw the whole bush shaking violently. I watched in astonishment, wondering if there was a cat fight or something going on in there.

The shaking stopped, and out popped a little grey squirrel. It turned round to face the bush and stood up on its hind legs. Then it attacked the flowers with a quick pitter pat of its tiny grey paws.

Flowers and buds alike fell to the ground, whereupon the little squirrel picked one up, hopped onto the old bench, and sat there happily eating my camellia!

Squirrel thief

Sparky the Squirrel Thief

Portrait of a Dog #2

Trust of an Old Boy

Trust of an Old Boy

Trust of an Old Boy

TJ was about seven when he came to us; a street dog from a rescue centre. He was blind in one eye and had an old wound in one back leg; a very badly healed compound fracture. Most likely he had been hit by a car, and received no medical attention. The shin bone had set like the letter T. He slipped into the pack as if he had always been here; never complained, and took all life had to throw at him with a quiet dignity.

From him I learned acceptance.

Portrait of a Plant #1



The Little Plant that Could

Yes, I know this is really a dog-blog, but I felt Plant deserved a mention.

It is winter in Cape Town; there is snow on the mountains and the air is icy. An azalea bush has lived in my flower bed for ten years, with never a single bloom.

Finally, the Little Plant that Could, decided it Would!