A day or so after we lost the dogs Dirk and Jackie Becker, our neighbours to the east, came round to discuss what had happened. They asked if I knew how to handle a fire arm should another emergency arise.

Both of them were familiar with guns, Dirk even being in the National shooting team. I knew how to load a rifle, but had never actually fired one, as I was not too keen on taking the recoil. Certainly, if it were absolutely necessary, I would not have hesitated to fire one. They thought it would be a good idea to take me out into the bush to practise a bit of target shooting. I was specifically adamant about not shooting off a rifle that day, thinking about the noise for the poor little baby in my tummy, so Dirk gave me a large handgun with an infrared scope, some snazzy eye-wear and ear muffs. Bang, Bang, Bang! I hit the target most shots, but the allure of handling firearms was just not for me and I have never shot again.
A week later we left for a trip we had planned to the Maldives. Jurie flew with
Zoë, from Johannesburg to Cape Town, to drop her off with Hazel while we were away. I was greatly looking forward to floating in some warm tropical water watching the underwater wonderland, but mostly to getting the weight off my feet. Technically, at eight months from term I should not have been flying, but I really needed the break. While we were away we often wept for our dogs, and decided we were going to get another bull terrier as soon as possible. Apart from that sadness we had a wonderful week away. After arriving back in Johannesburg we collected Zoë and drove back to Gowrie.
The best option for finding a dog from where we lived was to search for a breeder and buy a pup without actually seeing it first. We had never previously gone the breeder route before, and were surprised by all the questions we were asked before we were considered as eligible to own a pedigreed bully. First question was usually “Have you owned a bull terrier before?” Yes, two. Followed by, “What happened to them?” A leopard killed them in our house! Then it was explained to us that the waiting list was very long, and they would call us back when a puppy became available. They never called back.
Then we went searching in classified paper ads on the Internet. We came across a breeder called Van Rooy, in Nigel near Johannesburg, who specialised in coloured bullies. We could not consider keeping a white one in the bush, because the skin cannot really handle the sun. Van Rooy had a ‘feisty’ little brindle and white bitch for us, and she could leave his kennels right away. He also did not have a problem with the way in which Doug and Bing had died, and even agreed a new pup would help us get over their loss.
Charmian and Graham Cooke were in Johannesburg on leave at the time and said they would fly back with the puppy if Van Rooy could deliver her to their parent’s place on the other side of town. The previous day Graham had gone on a mission to take a look at a puppy I had also found on the Internet. Graham said the puppy was in very poor condition and he was not even sure if there were clear signs of its being a bull terrier. We decided to leave that one alone.
The ‘feisty’ puppy arrived at the Cookes’ folks’ house and went with the Cookes and their young black Labrador, Lanner, to Lanseria airport, whence they departed for the bush in a little Cessna. Not long after take off the pup started vomiting all over the inside of the plane. Graham pulled out some laundry from his bag and tried to mop the goo off him, the pilot, the windscreen and every nook and cranny the puke had reached. The pup produced a never-ending flow, spewing forth for the next hour and a half until they reached Buffelshoek airstrip. We met the Cookes on their way back to their house and were quite impressed with the little pup, which by then was over her airsickness.
We named her Roxy, after our green grocer in Hoedspruit. She chewed her way through sunglasses, remote controls, baskets, and clothing and even had a go at Zoë a couple of times.
An insert from a letter written by my mom, Felicité, while she was visiting us at Gowrie, to my sister Janet:

Jurie has a new pup. Another Bull terrier! I have only been here two days and it has already eaten a new Polo shirt I bought specially for my trip, a pair of stockings and today a Swatch watch of Pips. We have found the straps, but not the actual watch so wait in anticipation that it will pass time! We have put our ears to her stomach but cannot be sure if we hear the ticking or just a regular heartbeat. While sitting here she has laid waste to electrical cords below my feet and the sides of the sofa.

We did like her though, and placed an order with Van Rooy for a male bully for Jurie. A litter was about to be born and, if there was a male, Van Rooy said he would keep him for us. He would also be a perfect mate for Roxy, should we wish to breed from them further down the line. He would call us when he had some news.
We had elected to have a caesarean for my second birth, which meant the due date could be planned without a hitch. Hazel and a friend of hers, Rykie van Reenen, came up from the Cape to look after Zoë and Roxy. Little Rebecca Blue was born on the 23rd of April 1998, and all seemed fine until the morning we were due to leave the clinic. We thought she was such a good baby, and slept and drank like a dream, giving both her parents’ time to catch up on reading newspapers, shopping, and such. That morning the paediatrician picked up a slight murmur in her heartbeat and suggested we come back for a scan ten days later. No problem, as he said those blips sometimes healed themselves within a few days, but a further check up would be well advised. We headed to the airport in Nelspruit for me to get on a charter home and found emergency helicopters and ambulances on the runway. We thought there may have been an accident somewhere and carried on with our journey, Jurie travelling by car and Rebecca and I by air.
Charmian and Graham met us at the airstrip in the bush and, while bouncing back home in their Land Rover, told me of the dramas at Chitwa camp that morning.
Contractors had arrived to put up some lightning conductors in the camp, but for some reason the vehicle needed to raise them was not available. They collected some strong men and, with ropes, chains, and pulleys, started hauling one of the long metal poles into an upright position. When the pole was almost vertical the weight became too much for the men and equipment to hold, and it toppled, trapping one of the labourer’s leg under its colossal weight.
Two kilometres away, Lisa Constable, assistant manager to Pendrae and Campbell at Djuma Bush Lodge, received a call to give medical help at Chitwa until the paramedics arrived. Lisa was skilled in first aid and was able to get the man onto a drip and give him morphine to help with pain and shock. Unfortunately the Nelspruit emergency helicopter and team were busy with a motor accident on the highway and did not come for three hours. Lisa looked after the injured man until they arrived, and then stayed with him for the flight back to Nelspruit. He went into cardiac arrest and lost consciousness en route. Their arrival at the airport had coincided with the departure of Rebecca and I. Once in casualty he made a complete recovery, apart from having to wait for a badly broken thighbone to heal. Lisa had saved his life.

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Our African Way