Friday, April 23, 2010

Walking with Wizard

My dog Wizard may look like a wolf,
but underneath all the fur he's a wimp.

My dogs (photo taken before my Belgian
shepherd was snatched by a crocodile).

Now you may think that a dog who's been savaged by a crocodile, eye-sprayed by a cobra and gored by a warthog has every right to be a bit timid. But Wizard isn't afraid of dangerous animals (that would save on vet bills, after all).

Wizard's fears:

1. Fireworks
2. Gun fire (sounds like fireworks)
3. African fish eagle calls (sound like the
       whistling of firework rockets)
4. Waterbucks

African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer)
Photo by Rudi Skea and borrowed from here.

 Spot the odd one out? This last item is a new addition.

Waterbucks (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) are horse-sized antelopes with coarse shaggy coats and a white ring encircling their rumps. You can tell when they're around because they smell strongly of musky creosote. Unlike most antelope, they need to drink daily, so I usually encounter them when walking the dogs along the river. Until recently, this hasn't been a problem.
However, about two weeks ago we were strolling across the river flat when we met a small herd of females and calves. The females trotted off into the trees (they see us every day, so they're pretty chilled) but the calves lingered to get a better look at us. They stood gazing curiously as we passed, and then, as we walked away, they came creeping after us. Necks outstretched, ears cocked forward, and moist noses whiffling, they followed along behind us. As we walked away, they grew more confident, jogging and jostling one another like small boys egging each other on in a dare.

Waterbucks plotting Wizard's downfall.
Photo by Michelle Viljoen and borrowed from here.

Now, I found this behaviour endearing. Wizard perceived it quite differently. In his mind, there's only one reason why something creeps up behind you. He's now convinced that all waterbucks are out to get him. Each time we meet one, he goes into 'drag' mode, lowering his head and tail and hauling me homeward as quickly as possible.

Wizard feeling scared.


  1. hahaha.. this one made me laugh so much Lynda! I love Wizard.. silly husky...
    Keep up the blogs Neil and I are really enjoying them. Kx

  2. What beautiful dogs.
    Curious to know, do you still have the camera from Portland? Jane

  3. Those waterbucks certainly look as if they're planning something for Wizard. Watch out for any packages with ACME written on them!

  4. Krys,
    Wizard sends his love (or he would if he wasn't hiding under the kitchen cupboard). Sunday mornings are target practice time for the local ranger.

    Yes, most of my photos come curtesy of that nifty litte camera. I've now got myself a 'good' camera too, but it's too inconvenient to lug around every day. Thank you!

    Am monitoring all Wizard's mail. Feel it's important to nip this insurrection in the bud. Today the husky, tomorrow the world.


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