Friday, 27 November 2015

Thursday, 26 November 2015

love this story

 THE CARING OWL  (don't know who originally wrote this unfortunately)


 I am from South Africa and about 4 years ago made friends with a spotted eagle owl that showed up on our farm (most probably it was rehabilitated by someone). The owl got injured and I kept it inside for a couple of months until it was well again. During this time our one old cat found out that no other cats are allowed in my study where I kept the owl and she moved in. I allowed this because she has never in her life caught a bird or mouse and was not interested in the owl at all.
During this period the owl got used to her and they regularly ate steak out of my hand together. Once the owl was OK again I let it out, but it now comes and sleeps inside during the day, hunting freely at night. At the moment I have another injured owl that he adopted and feeds regularly (about 2 rats an evening).
The other night I was working late in my study when the owl came in with a rat. I presumed that he were going to feed it to the injured owl, but much to my surprise he flew towards the cat that was sitting on the sofa and tried offering the rat to her. Fortunately I was lucky enough to be able to take a couple of pictures which I include here.


I could only find one other instance where an owl befriended a cat, but I could nowhere find a picture or anything about an owl bringing a mouse or rat to a cat. Unfortunately for the owl, the cat just sniffed at the rat as she has never eaten something like that before. The owl is however aggressive towards all other cats and will even swoop down and attack them if they come to close to his nesting box in the tree. He however accepts this cat even near his nesting box.

More photos of the Spotted Eagle Owl

My owl feeding the injured owl that I told you about above. (2 broken legs and a damaged wing estimated to be 1 year old),


Taking a nap .


The owl bringing a mouse, and later on a bat to my wife while she is sleeping!


A young owlet that he helped raise and that we rehabilitated successfully.


What makes my owl so interesting to me is that it is free to come and go as it pleases and lives as close to a natural life as possible. I have in no way tried to train him or force myself onto him and everything that he does comes natural. I am not in favour of keeping birds, or any other animal for that matter, caged up and release all injured birds if at all possible.







Monday, 9 November 2015

Captain Jack Sparrow

He is gray all over his snout.  Even his feet have gray.  A rescued Daschund who has lived in our family for over 10 years.  He arrived after he was brought out to play with my then puppy at the vet.  The nurse then told us during that vet visit that he would be euthanased that day because nobody wanted him.  She saw me coming that's for sure.  I said I was worried about taking him as he was not neutered.  She did a collection between their vet staff and got the op done.  So Jack came home and firmly entrenched himself into our hearts. He has the loudest bark.  He is old and deaf, but can hear a slightest fidget in the kitchen and it gets him charging in that direction.  His little toenails doing a dance on the floors that are faster than any Irish Flaherty.  So much personality in such a little bod. 

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Ingo and Poldi: Most Unlikely Friends

These pics are so lovely.

Had to share them.



Subject: Ingo and Poldi: Most Unlikely Friends

Tanja Brandt
Tanja Brandt is a German photographer who has dedicated her career towards photographing animals and wildlife.
In one of her most recent projects,
Brandt shot photographs of a highly unlikely pair of friends – Ingo, the Belgian shepherd; and Poldi (Napoleon), the one-year-old owlet.

Tanja Brandt
Poldi and Ingo are both pets of Brandt's, and have formed a bond over the past year that the photographer simply couldn't ignore.
Brandt is a professional photographer, and has years of experience doing photoshoots with various animals.
Ingo, the shepherd, is one of her most loyal and popular models.

"The dog is very very well educated. He is able to do every order by far.
Head down, head right, stay, sit, everything… but not so with the birds."

Brandt describes the relationship between Ingo and Poldi as somewhat of a 'protector-protected' relationship.
Ingo is a guardian for Poldi, whom Brandt states "doesn't know how to live free".

Poldi didn't hatch until two days after his six brothers and sisters, and has always been very vulnerable due to his size.
Ingo, on the other hand, comes from a family of strong and oftentimes ruthless police dogs.

Ingo is very protective over the year-old owlet, and their bond is as strong off-camera as it appears in Tanja's photographs.

"They respect each other and they can read each other."

Ingo is often photographed with various birds (such as the Harris hawk)
and other animals, but he doesn't share a bond with anyone quite like he does with Poldi.






Thursday, 5 November 2015

Choice is control

When we feel like we have a choice, we feel in control.  Same with animals.  I am starting to see more and more that every concern in life is as a result of an animal or person feeling like they are out of control - whether this is perceived or real is immaterial.  It is the feeling that makes us anxious.  To feel as though we are in control is a primal need.  It is required in order for our basic survival instinct to be satisfied. 
What does this mean?  That if we are conscious about when we feel anxious, we will begin to recognise the habits that are useful, and those that are not.  In relationship with animals, what does it mean - that we need to be conscious that if they feel like they are out of control, they are going to act to try and regain control.  Just like we would.  The more control and choice we can give to them, the more trust they will have in themselves, and in us.  One step at a time - create relationship that will then be a joy. 
Play play play.  Even with what is in our minds.  When we can laugh at our illusions we will begin to enjoy real relationship.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Getting my head off my pillow without you

What is motivation.  Where does my drive come from.  Love.  Ok. It is demanded that love is unconditional. Yet attachment is inevitable.  In your lifetime I thought the celebration of you was unconditional.  That it was a celebration borne in giving glory to your manifestation.  Turns out my desire to acknowledge your glory has a personal joy in it that is selfish.  So every day I am without your physical presense is a day I need to let go. That is so hard.  Your physical glory was so much bigger than me.  Your glory lent light and purpose to my life.  I miss you.  So much.  Feel broken without your physical wholeness.  Lifting my head of my pillow with vigour and direction and energy is the lesson your loss is trying to teach me.  And I am not sure I am big enough to learn this lesson.  

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

My super hero

There is sn enormous guiding light in my life.  Inspiration to do what I am intrinsically driven to do. Because he has always done just that.  Today he and I admitted to each other that we are both hard-shelled softies.  And as animal people who have committed to living in service to our charges this is a hard life to live.  But we would have it no other way. 

I still have loads to learn from my mentor.  His unconditional caring and enormous generosity to those around him is a lesson I am yet to totally get.  

I am talking about my Dad. He is a vet. (I am not because I am not smart or  emotionally strong-enough). He is well over 70 and still practising.  His practise is at his home.  Recently he has been suffering with a bout of ill health.  He has been in and out of hospital and we have all been very worried about him.  I travelled to his home a good 700kms away to visit and spend time with him.  Again he amazed me.  

My father is a very keen and good golfer.  With his health concerns he has not played for a couple of months.  He has been very weak and spending a fair amount of time in need.  My sisters moved a bed into the lounge for him.  I knew before I arrived that he had started accepting clients into his home space.  I was amazed at this system  in operation.  

His assistant brings the clients and their animals to him.  He has a stock of treatment and diagnostic tools that he uses organised on his bedside table.  This is all the practical stuff.  It is and always has been the emotional and spiritual stuff that goes down in his presence that amazes me.  

His regular clients that visit and sit in his company without the need to even talk. Just comfortable silence and then clever humour.  And then all those clients who find him as a last resort.  Because he charges very little.  And treats simply. The way he barters - paintings hang in his lounge as payment for work he had done on  people's pets. His kitchen is filled with preserves and jams and fruit and rusks Thanks to his regulars. I am sure there is much more I don't know about.  

I tried to help with his books.  So many owe him money.  He writes off so much of it.  He believes in the good of people.  He believes the animals deserve care no matter what.  

And then there is the strength this man offers.  Distressed individuals worrying about their animals and their lives offload their sadness and cry their tears in his presence.  And this man, thinner than he should be and far paler than shows good health calmly holds the space for them.  Offers them tea and cigarettes and a shoulder to cry on.  His grace is monumental. 

The best moments are when he picks up the ill dog or the little kitten and places them on the bed next to him on top of the clean towel. How he lovingly strokes each one and gives them his full attention.  How they all seem so calm and easy in his care.  While his own little dogs look on. 

Yes.  I have so much still to learn.  If I could have a small percentage of his grace, humour, ingenuity, optimism and generosity I would be a far better person.  

I love you Dad. I love how you are ethically and morally and gracefully my super hero.  Thank you for choosing me to be your daughter

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Thank you Gambit

I had the honour of accepting an award for the amazing dolphin Gambit. Last night eThekweni municipality hosted the 8th annual 'Living Legends' award ceremony at the international convention Centre in Durban. The ceremony was lavish and attended by celebrities and politicians and those in the know.  I felt out of my depth but had prepared with make up and even nail polish for the occasion.  What an honour to be there for Gambit. So no matter the discomfort 100% commitment was required.
A lovely video depicting Gambit's role in the South African Association for Marine Biological Research preempted the call to stage.  A Hollywood style setting. Then it came time for the acceptance speech. I looked across the large room and was blinded by the lights. And I felt blank.  I did not say all I wanted to share.  I did not honour Gambit enough.  Not that one ever could.  So. Here goes.  These are the words I would try to use to put the legendary Gambit on the pedastal where he belongs. Words that have to live in the ether forever.  Share them with everyone.  
"When one considers a living legend one thinks of a being who is unashamedly themself. Someone who shares their essence in every moment of their existence.  A soul who is generous with the truth.  A body who is unconditional.  These thoughts are Gambit. He is not about a cause or a desire.  He is not campaigning or hoping.  He is loving large.  He is present in every moment with 100%. This whole-heartedness is Gambit-the  inspiration.  
When anyone has the good fortune to be in the presence of Gambit we feel the essence of gratitude.  We are effortlessly driven to love.  There is no space for doubt or apprehension.  There are very often tears. In my  experience the tears are shed in joy.  It is as though the experience of Gambit's moments are a reminder that there is something bigger and more real. 

Gambit has the best sense of humour.  He laughs and is mischievous in the most playful way.  He is curious and spontaneous and creative.  Does this make him a legend? Oh yes.  Over and over again.  He has called the millions of people he has inspired in the last 40 years to stand on the beach and look at the sea with a new perspective. He  has planted the seed in all of us to care for the oceans.  He has opened our hearts. 
Gambit has met many celebrities.  He has also met many underprivileged and suffering people.  And with all of them he has  shared that same inspiration. 
Gambit is a father and grandfather. He has provided us with a family of dolphins to treasure.  
To effectively accept an award on behalf of this legend is not possible. He is larger than life.  Love epitomised. And there are many who have shared his life who should have walked up the star-studded stage with me last night.  I had you all in mind.  I was not expecting to feel emotional.  But I did.  And grateful that in our interesting political climate our city was  able to honour an animal in this way.  It is easy for us animal people to celebrate Gambit the legend. It is wonderful that people less concerned with animals and conservation did.  

Love you Gambit.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you!!!

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Friday, 7 August 2015

true words. Animal lessons always


“Our quality of work is their quality of life”



Animal Behaviour management & Guest Experience


South African Association for Marine Biological Research

Direct Tel: +27 (31) 328 8222   Fax: +27 (31) 328 8188 


1 King Shaka Avenue, Point, Durban 4001 KwaZulu-Natal South Africa

PO Box 10712, Marine Parade 4056 KwaZulu-Natal South Africa




P "Please consider your environment responsibly before printing this e-mail"



Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Just had to share a story with you about my beautiful cat Hermione.  She is a rescued Feral – got her when she was pregnant 13 years ago.  She was wild then, but gradually tamed down.  She is very ill at the moment with cancer, and has had an op to remove a part of her nose.  But the best patient ever.  Patiently lets me nebulise her twice a day and will let me give her tabs without restraining her.

About six years ago some new dogs were brought to our home (we already had 4 that were easy with the cats).  These three dogs were being looked after for a friend, and were not as cat-friendly.  Our property is large, so I was not too concerned.  Until the middle of the night when I woke up.  To see two of the cats sitting at the foot of the bed looking at me, and Hermione sitting on my chest peeing – it was very deliberate, and has never happened again – I got her message loud and clear.  The cats did not feel safe outside – so needed to let me know …  The situation was rectified the very next day.  Hermione is the coolest cat in the world(-: 


Monday, 27 July 2015

Happy birthday angel

25 years ago today my life turned upside down.  A deep unconditional love was revealed when I witnessed your birth.  It was the start of a journey of miracles where I began to learn about the bullshit of myself. I was shown how to be true.  I learned that caring is not about wanting but about giving.  I learned how to trust without giving myself away. When I see you again cannot come soon enough.  Miss you so much.  With huge gratitude for sharing your enormous spirit.  You changed mine and so many lives.

Sent from Samsung Mobile

Friday, 10 July 2015

Lovely little critters and pretty useful!

Rats in Africa are saving tons of lives


Everyone's least favourite rodent has been tasked with cleaning up the lethal leftovers of war.  
Land mines kill thousands every year, but these rats have been trained to save lives by sniffing out the scent of explosives.  
The group responsible for training the rodents is APOPO – which stands for  
Anti-Persoonsmijnen Ontmijnende Product Ontwikkeling in Dutch, or Anti-Personnel Landmines Detection Product Development in English.  

Using positive reinforcement that is respectful to the animals, these African pouched rats are taught to identify explosives and then alert their handler. 

They're perfect for the job – they're highly intelligent and have a keen sense of smell.  
They are small enough not to trigger mines, yet large enough to be easily identifiable in the field.  
No rat has been killed in a minefield. 

They can clear two hundred square meters in just 20 minutes.  
It would take humans with metal detectors five days to cover the same area. 

Since 2000, they have found over 9,000 buried land mines and bombs all across Tanzania and Mozambique.  
They've also found thousands of small arms and ammunitions stashed in the ground.  





The rats normally live for up to eight years, but are retired when they turn six.  
They live out the rest of their days as hero's, munching on avocados, apples and bananas, and being loved and cared for by their handlers.


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Sunday, 31 May 2015


Just huge gratitude.  For the animals I know and the time I spend with them.  Apologies to the people in my life of you find my priorities not to your expectations.  It is not me avoiding you or trying to be elsewhere.  I feel just so at ease.  At one.  In the company of animals.  

Sunday, 17 May 2015

a Being in love

When I am with you I feel present and whole.  Time stands still and there is no desire or lack.  Just pure complete Bliss. A place where everything makes sense.  Where two become one.  Which is why without you I feel broken. 

How fortunate to be a part of your life. Most of the happiest times of my life so far have been with you.   You were too good for this world.  Too pure. So generous.  So alive. 

Your gifts are eternal.  Your inspiration and lessons taught total truth.  Thank you.

How will I honour you?  I will find a way.  Everyday.  By aspiring to the truth that you are. 


Jula. If there is heaven it will be you swimming up to me and letting me hug you again.  Being one again.  True love.  That would be coming home.  





Wednesday, 6 May 2015


Best Dog-friendly Restaurants | Winter Accommodation Specials | See the Mother City with your Mother



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See the Mother City with your Mother! 

Celebrate Mother's Day in Cape Town on Sunday 10 May, 

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the Mother City!  See our ideas & suggestions.

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