A Furry Tale

(I should actually create a category called Extreme Puppy Love for this one. But before you roll your eyes and hiss at me, cat lovers; please retract those claws, because for once this is not about MY adoration for dogs. In fact, I have nothing on the person I’m about to tell you about.)

A distant relative of mine is a rocket scientist. Apart from the obvious brilliance his occupation requires, he also has a kind and gentle soul and a fondness for dogs.

His love for creatures of the canine persuasion is indiscriminate. He is not bogged down by technicalities such as pedigree or size. I found this out for myself a few years ago when he gave me a lift back from the town of By George! to Stellenbosch. His two dogs accompanied us on the trip, because the three of them had been on holiday together.

I remember the one dog in particular. His name was Jakkals (which is Afrikaans for ‘fox’), but Jakkals the dog did not resemble the sly and pointy-nosed species he was named after. Not even remotely. Maybe his name was ironic, or perhaps he had looked much different when he was a puppy. Doubtful, though. Like me, I suspect that Jakkals was also the runt of the litter, because the mature Jakkals that I got to meet had a perfectly rotund body that was precariously balancing on four disproportionately skinny legs. (Kind of like me! Except for the four  skinny legs part... I don't even have ONE skinny leg!)

Upon first glance, his lineage became perfectly clear: Jakkals was a purebred pavement special. It didn’t matter though, because one look into that odd-looking little mutt’s sweet brown eyes and my heart was stolen.

Throughout the four hour drive (which actually took longer due to bad weather), I reached back frequently and petted him and the other dog. When they finally dropped me off at my sister’s that night, I said my goodbyes, thanked him for the lift and went on my way.

A few weeks ago I ran into that very same relative at the grocery store. We had not seen each other in more than a year. “How are you? And how are the doggies?”

His expression immediately changed. “Haven’t you heard? They’ve both died.”

I felt so horrible for him. Those dogs were like children to him! I reached out and squeezed his arm. “I’m SO sorry to hear that!”

“Yes, thanks,” he said. “They were both old, but still… I miss them terribly. Especially Jakkals.”

Suddenly he smiled a bit. “But you know, after Jakkals died, I had to go overseas for a satellite launch.”

Aww, I thought to myself. So the poor, grieving man immediately and bravely plunged back into his work. “Good for you!” I said.

“Yes, I had saved some of his fur and took it along. And while putting the finishing touches on the satellite before the launch, I attached it to the satellite.”

"Wait... you attached the FUR?" I wasn't sure that I had heard him correctly.

He nodded, squinted up at the Stellenbosch sky and solemnly said: “So now, twice every day, a little piece of Jakkals orbits by here, looking down on us!”

I was immediately so overcome… with the giggles. In my mind's eye, I saw the satellite, completely covered in dog fur. Luckily I managed to scrounge together enough decency and self-control to at least hold my laughter until I was in my car.

 Bow-WOW! Jakkals had gone from being an underdog in life, to being a posthumous astrodog! I always knew that the pup had it in (or shall we rather say on?) him to end up among the stars…

And I don’t think too many other dog owners will ever be able to match – let alone top – such a send-off for their dogs!


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TerraShield said:

A great send off indeed. BTW, I chuckled too.

kyknoord said:

Rocket Science: a hair-raising experience.

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Terra: Heheh, I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who found it hilarious! Yes, quite a send-off. To infinite and beyond!

Kyk: Doggone it, you're right! As hair-raising as the fur on an angry dog.

I wonder if the satellite is moulting?

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
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The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: Heheh, I'm relieved that I'm not the only one who found it hilarious! Yes, quite a send-off. ... [go]
  • kyknoord : Rocket Science: a hair-raising experience.... [go]
  • TerraShield : A great send off indeed. BTW, I chuckled too. ... [go]
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