Yes, you read correctly. My dog, well our dogs, understand Afrikaans. And this is not just a random statement, because when a random statement is supported by a theory or proof it becomes more than just a random statement. The companionship we have with our animals is coined by Donna Haraway as “companion species” where she states it as a kinship claim (Haraway 2007:8-9). She further writes that not all people realise the essence of a companionship between a dog or other species and its owner.
Stories are filled with life and life is a story. When one shares a story with an animal it becomes far more emotional as we cannot communicate phonetically with animals but with feelings, signs, and sounds. And a beautiful story is never complete without a photograph. So the following photo essays are about my own pets as well as friends’ and families’.
She came as a birthday present to simply steal my heart. She was my ‘baba’ and still is my ‘baba’ even though she is now almost 7 years old (in human years). We had a very close relationship from the beginning as she slept on my lap when I had to practice piano for three hours straight. When she grew a little bigger and could not fit on my lap anymore she would lie under the piano stool until I was done practising. Yes, my dog is intrigued with music just as I am. And I solidly believe in the statement that owners and their dogs become the same or have the same habits. For instance, I love tomatoes. Have you ever met a dog who loves tomatoes? Yup, my dog. She is not fussy at all, just like I am when it comes to food. Nowadays, she patiently waits for me to wake up in the morning and then observe how I do my makeup or whatsoever.
This photography is a photo of my dad (left) and one of his varsity friends, whom they called “Hoender”, as in chicken. His cockatiel, Jackson was with him all the time and even went to the grocery store with him. Jackson was a great party-animal as well and never stayed at home when there was a braai. This is such a beautiful example of how a bird can become attached to a human being and be loyal to them.
Daisy, a dachshund-greyhound mix, is Suné’s baba. Daisy is a very extraordinary dog who has the ability to melt anyone’s heart. She loves going for a walk or rather as my sister explained that “We love walking. Daisy just tends to walk me, rather than I am walking her.” This can be understood as she is a mix with a greyhound and has longer legs and a thinner, muscular body which causes her to be really fast. It is really is a workout when you go and have a run with Daisy. Then, as I mentioned earlier about my dog, Lila and how her likings are much similar to mine, Daisy is also exactly the same as my sister. My sister does not eat any sauces (like tomato sauce, chutney, mayonnaise). Neither does she mix her food like stir-fry is a no-go. She is basically very picky when it comes to food, and so is Daisy, who will simply take a sniff at the pumpkin and green beans mixed in her bowl and then retreat. Then Lila, my dog, is all smiles, as she loves anything food related, and then steps in to clear Daisy’s bowl. And then they wonder why Lila is a bit more chubby…
This is me again, about 4 years old. The lovebird is Pietskiet. Pietskiet was my dad’s lovebird and then he also became attached to me. He would sit on my shoulder while I was watching television and he loved to sing or try to imitate the sounds in the house. He also loved nibbling on my ears while sitting on my shoulder. Pietskiet would sometimes hop around on the floor and even the dog did not dare to go after him. He was most of the time not in his cage simply because he never wanted to fly away. Well, that is what we thought (tear). But after two days, he returned home. He probably just went on a road trip.
When looking at all of these photos, I cannot help but smile because even though all of these pets are not with us anymore, they made a lasting emotional impression on me as well as their owners. They teach us that the little things in life matter and that sometimes we should really stop at every lamp pole with the dog, to maybe notice the beautiful wild flowers next to it.