Cappuccino Puppy



Think crisp white sheets, cool in summer… or a fat white sofa next to a crackling winter fire…. or solid white walls paying tribute to their traditional Cape-Dutch design…. or a silky white puppy cuddling amongst cushions … cue the violins….

Or not.

Turns out that white wasn’t such a clever colour choice for a puppy living on a farm next to a river. The silky white Zazzi is an enthusiastic explorer of rivers. Also an intrepid investigator of molehills. In that order. So instead of a puppy the colour of cream, she usually looks more like a cappuccino: foamy on top, brown underneath. When she goes plunging & bouncing through the long grass, she comes back covered with freckles of grass-seed, to add to the effect.


But – magic wand – once she’s been brushed at bed-time, the silky white reappears & for twelve hours she looks & feels (& lounges) like a model Doodle.

She might not be the right colour for a farm girl, but she does have the right temperament: nothing is too scary to try at least once. The lessons along the way have sometimes been painful, but she’s learned quickly. She knows, for example, to move away fast from a disturbed fire-ant nest & at the same time she found out that fire-ants don’t survive repeated river dunkings (luckily). She also knows that the horses don’t enjoy visits from her in their field & that they move with frightening, thunderous speed. The cat refuses to play and his claws are best avoided. Sacred Ibises, hunching next to the water like old men in a row, are to be respected. Butterflies are impossible to catch but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try.

And so two months have flashed past since I fetched her in Prince Albert: we’ve owned her for half her life. She’s learning how to behave, how to walk on a lead, how to sit-stay ; and that jumping up is frowned on. She loves puppy classes for the delirious joy of playing with the others – that roughandtumble that only puppies understand – but getting her into the car to drive there requires sneaky subversion. She’s getting very quick to sniff out the double-cross.

Recently we started on the town experiences: pavements, hooting, big wheels, scary sounds, fascinating smells. Hills gives you a check list with your puppy food. So far Zazzi has met a washing machine, a bicycle, a hair dryer & a tumble dryer – but a Hot Air Balloon?? Help. Anyone?