We have this….I can’t really call it a dog….let me explain….. For a short while, I was living on my own in Cape Town and decided that what I needed in my life at that particular point was a companion of the furry sort. To cut a long story short, Tass (short for Tassenberg wine – cheap plonk much loved by my mother) came into my life. She was one of seven Maltese Terrier pups that were abandoned, or rather ignored by there mom 5 weeks after they were born so Tass was very small and from an early age, didn’t realise she was a dog. She took to my dressing gown – a soft fluffy affair from Woolworths and would drag it after her stopping every now and then to suck on it. He love affair with the gown won and became her ‘doo-doo’ blanket and I had to buy another one. When my Beloved came home, she took to his motorbike like a duck to water and was soon in the newspapers dressed in a leather jacket, visi-vest and ‘doggles’ which we found on-line. Tass knows when I’m sick, sad or worried. Tass is there for you – but only on her terms…as soon as she’s checked in, she’s off again to sit on the back of the couch or in the sun and will do anything possible to look for ‘forest friends’.
When we lived in Brittany, we took care of an estate and our house was near a fairly large lake. One evening, we let Tass out for a bit and no matter how hard we tried, she wouldn’t come inside. She just sat in the middle of the lawn, in the dark staring at us. Nothing would get her inside which was unusual. We went out with a torch to find her sitting next to a hedgehog, wagging her tail and periodically giving the poor thing a wet and loving lick. She was ecstatic when we brought it inside to get a better look, washed the poor things face and attempted to involve it in a game.
Inside the lake were ragadons or ‘coypos’ and in Tass would go, swimming slowly in the green water to see if they would come out and play as well. Even now, if a bird hits the window and stuns itself, Tass is there with a gentle lick and will sit next to it until we come with sugar water (She could also kill all of these by breathing on them as her breath is not the freshest!)
So, with that background, you’ll understand why Tass isn’t really a dog. To us, she’s – how can I put this the best way – to us…well she’s just a Tass.
When Tass saw Thumper, she behaved in true Tass fashion. A wag of the tail, a giant wet slobbery lick, a thorough sniff and then a thorough bath. And Thumper took to Tass and immediately wanted to snuggle in. There Tass drew the line. She darted away, went down on her front paws, bum in the air, tail wagging furiously, demanding this tiny little hare to come and play.
Ted on the other hand – Ted we can’t trust and we have to wait till he’s asleep before we let Thumps out for a run around the house. I’m sure it will come right, but for now we can’t take the chance.
During the first week of having Thumper, it could only drink milk but after a week or so, we introduced it to dandelion leaves and some grass. One afternoon, I took it to a patch of wild hedge and let it choose while trying to note carefully what were the favourites. We were both learning from each other really and I was rewarded by the fact that when a bird flew overhead, it ran and hid in my lap. Thumps was beginning to trust us.
The Dear One, after much hoo-haa-ing, decided to take the bull by the horns, brave the Internet (you never know what you’ll come up with ) and check if Thumps was a boy or a girl (sounds strange but when they’re that little, it’s actually quite difficult to ‘see’).
At this stage, we think Thumps is a little girl and to be honest, she acts like a little girl.
She loves love, loves cuddles and will reach up on her really long back legs to get a kiss on her head. She seemed to learn from very small that the milk came out of a syringe and that I was usually the one who was in charge of that. She would run up to me, lift herself
up and scratch on my dressing gown. As soon as I bent down and held out cupped hand, she would pop herself in and wait for the lift to the kitchen counter where warm milk would be waiting. Five or six syringes later,she would dig in the open V of my gown or jersey, crawl inside, wash her hands and face and snuggle in for a nap. She’s actually like no other pet rabbit I’ve ever owned and doesn’t seem to realise that she should be a non-domesticated wild hare.
Every day, we pop her into the scales to see how she’s doing and steadily her thin little body started to plump out. Soon she was weighing 200 grams and we had passed the two week period where she would either make it or not.
What a relief!