Last time I was here I went on and on about this hard life I love. I realize it's a fine line; wanting to be seen and known for the truth of what it is, but also wanting to be understood for the choice I made and why I would choose it over and over again. Today I have a really good example of the hard, but just like the regular hard. The stuff you don't necessarily think about, but this is exactly the kind of stuff that wears on you daily (or hourly), just like a dull tapping on the shoulder, that makes the actual hard feel like it might, actually, kill you.
Please hear my tone in this, I'm not complaining. I'm just telling you a story. I was shocked and scared and now, that it's mostly finished, I'm rolling my eyes and laughing about it.
It started on July 4th, Independence Day in the States and Liberation Day in Rwanda, when Wizzy had finally had enough. He, too, was ready to declare his independence. From the reign of Prince.
|Wizzy, Prince, Frank, Caroline, Bobby|
In case you don't know, Prince and Wizzy are our dogs. We also have two more; Bobby, the baby, is a year old and we've had him since he was about 2 weeks old, and Frank, the famous "lion cub" who moved to Rwanda two years ago. Prince came first, as a puppy, about 3 years ago and Wizzy a few crucial months later. Crucial because, in that time, Prince had fully established himself as THE prince of our world. When we found Wizzy, also a puppy but maybe 8 months younger than Prince, living in the garden behind our house, Prince's world was rocked. And not in a good way. Prince has been jealous of Wizzy from the minute they met. Thankfully, Wizzy could not be more laid back and he has always just let Prince's displays of dominance roll off. Until Liberation Day.
|Wizzy's first day home|
The boys were out of school and Terry and Mo were off doing their thing. Chazzo, Myla, and I were at home because Prince, Wizzy, and Bobby had an appointment that day to be neutered. AT OUR HOUSE. Which, in and of itself, would have been a big event. More on that in a minute. I had just put the baby down for her nap and when I passed through the dining room I noticed all three dogs (obvs, not Frank) in a tangle in the backyard. It's not the first time, it's happened maybe three or four times, but usually the boys can stop it or Wizzy will eventually let Prince win and we all go about our business. No one or nothing has ever been hurt, except my feelings. This time was different.
First, Bobby was involved and that's never happened. It seemed like he may have been backup for Wizzy but, in the tussle, I think it just became every dog for himself.... I hollered at Chazzo to go out there and break them up. For those of you who know Chazzo, this is laughable. He meandered out the backdoor and ambled over to the dogs saying, barely above a whisper, "Prince. Prince." as he started to reach for his collar. I could see blood, but not the origin of it, and I, screaming at Prince and heartbroken for Wizzy, yelled at Chazzo to get a stick. And then I ran to my room in tears.
Moses usually handles this kind of thing, or Innocent, not Chazzo and definitely not me. I frantically called Terry, who should have been on his way home, and he didn't answer. Then I called Moses, just because I needed him to know, or because I expected him to magically fly home and stop this, and he didn't answer. Then I went back to check on the fight, still in progress.
Chazzo was hovering around with his stick and Fabi, our day guard, had entered the ring with a broom. Mama Kevine was standing on the sidelines, shouting for Bobby. At this point, I'm equally worried for the people as I am for the dogs. Dogs, as pets, are new to this crew and so often they don't understand cues and body language and just how to treat dogs, in general. More so for the staff than the boys. I told Mama Kevine to come in the house because I didn't want her to get hurt, and she did, but not before storming over the fight, grabbing Bobby by the arm, like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum, and dragging him inside. OK.
So, by now we're maybe 3-4 excruciating minutes in to this, it feels like an hour. Bobby, in the kitchen, is limping and crying, his ear is bloody. I have paced every room in the house because I can't bear to see what's happening. I have called the boys 467 times. Chazzo and Fabi are sweating and tired, and Prince and Wizzy aren't showing any signs of slowing down. And then, from the front porch, I hear Prince yelping. I ran to the backyard to see that Chazzo and Fabi have dragged Prince and Wizzy, respectively, to their corners. Panting, fifthly, bleeding.
I put Wizzy on a leash and took him outside the gate; we instantly had a crowd. Kids and adults were staring and barking and hissing... laughing.... This is hard for me, always, but especially then because I was stressed and scared. And, as usual, different. Prince stayed in the yard, Bobby in the house. Ten minutes later, Terry got home, and an hour later the "vets" showed up. They got right to work; using the wooden base of one of the dogs' bed as a makeshift operating table, they brought in Terry as an assistant, and Bobby was up first.
The three dogs, still lunging and snapping at each other, couldn't be together and the vets didn't want the following patient(s) to see what was happing to the current patient, so Chazzo, Fabi, and I were at our various stations around the yard, exchanging dogs as they waited to go or finished up. Look, it was brutal; they did have anesthesia, so there was no crying, thank God, but it was really short lived and, surprisingly they were all up and around within minutes. Maybe you don't know this, I'm no doctor. But if I was, I may have done things a bit differently.... These jokers made two incisions, popped out the goods, and called it a day. Bobby was bleeding all over the place so they, at my insistence, agreed to give him a couple of stitches. The end. No medicine, no follow up instructions... just me, Google, and my oils.
So, there you go. Two things are just weird and random. And hard. They are hard, weird things that didn't happen in my life before I lived in Rwanda. I've always had the luxury of systems, or professionals, things that benefitted me but were completely out of my control. If that makes sense? Here, and maybe it's because I'm different and require different things, EVERYTHING is somehow in my control. Or in the realm of my responsibility. It was that way when we built our house, too. If I asked for something, like an indoor kitchen, and a sink with hot water hadn't been done before, it couldn't be done. Unless I told them how. They specifically asked for someone who "studied electricity" to wire our house because "Tara asks for special things", like multiple outlets in a room.... For someone like me, and I don't even really know what that means, that's hard.
So, back to the dogs. It's been two weeks and everyone is healing nicely. They all had lots of minor injuries from the fight and Prince and Wizzy, probably because they didn't get stitches, had the roughest go with their "surgery", but oils, man. Lavender and Tea Tree fixed those boys right up! If only oils could mend relationships... After some time on leashes and walks around the neighborhood, Bobby was able to be back with both Prince and Wizzy. But, even now, Prince and Wizzy can't be together and we made the heartbreaking decision to give Prince to a friend of ours.
We don't really have a choice and it probably, truly, is the best decision for everyone, but it's still hard. Prince needs to be the only dog; he needs to be doted on and spoiled and that's exactly what he is going to get. Sameer, from India, is single guy whose dog passed away not too long ago, living on a stunning tea estate not far from our house. The boys joke that Prince is "being promoted" to King. We know that Prince will be loved and we know we'll get to see him and we know that, should anything change with his new situation, he can always come back home. But nothing's easy, right?.....
Last night, Terry and I walked Prince from our house to his new house. It's about an hour walk. When we arrived it was dark and they had dinner ready for Prince. We sat and talked while he ate and then stayed about another hour just to make sure he was comfortable. We mentioned to Sameer that when we moved from our last house, Prince escaped in the night and we found him sitting on our old porch the next morning. We thought that, especially because he wasn't with his family, there was a chance he would try to escape again. When I woke up this morning I fought the urge to call Sameer and check on him. When I didn't hear anything, I was pleasantly surprised. No news is good news.
At 9am he called. Sameer had gone to work early and couldn't get away. He said that when the house staff arrived, Prince wouldn't let any of them come near him, and that he had lunged at the housekeeper, so she locked him in the room. Obviously, I came immediately. She was fine, but scared, and he was so happy to see me. I put him on a leash and walked him around, introducing him. Once he had settled down, I took him off the leash and she feed him breakfast, the fastest way to his heart. I sat on the porch to do some work and Prince explored the, crazy beautiful, expansive grounds. Prince is used to people, we have workers at our house constantly, but Prince has never been without his people. And he's a guard dog, so I was watching him closely, as there were lots of male gardeners milling around.
After about an hour, it seemed like we had met most everyone. I politely told them to ignore Prince as he ran around, busy, marking all his new territory. And then I heard him scream. I jumped up, couldn't see him, called for him, and he came sprinting through some bushes, followed closely by a staffer we hadn't met who was throwing bricks at him. As I've said, most Rwandans don't do dogs and this man didn't know Prince now belonged here. He was surprised, and stopped immediately, when he saw me. He was saying in Kinyarwanda, "I thought he was from outside" and thankfully there was another staffer close by who explained that Prince lives here now. Prince was fine and that man was apologetic but, you know, just more of your average hard.
So, I'm posted up here, probably for a couple more hours, in this beautiful garden, writing you this blog, hoping that our little Prince will be fine. And knowing that I'm going to miss him so much.
|Baby Prince as his foster home|
|Prince was originally adopted as a gift for Ange when she lived at home|
|Prince and Innocent share a birthday|
We love you, Princess!! xo