Khale and Naro: in memorium

In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely try to train him to be semi-human.  The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.  ~Edward Hoagland

four years ago today my two best friends died of an overdose of diminazine aceturate, a prophylactic treatment for trypanosoma cruzii required by South Africa for importation from Kenya though the disease is not endemic in the Nairobi area. both khale and naro had tested negative for the parasite (by Onderstepoort) two weeks prior to receiving the vaccination.

i don’t talk a lot about that day, one of my last in kenya. my house had been packed into a container, i was living in a hostel, khale and naro had been kenneled with the vet, and I had a one-way ticket to South Africa in less than a week. i was about to start a brand-new, better life with my dogs in SA.

When a man’s best friend is his dog, that dog has a problem.  ~Edward Abbey

Umjumi Khale of Khale View 17.06.2004-29.07.2007

Khale was born on a farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal and was my first dog, a complete princess and a perfect ridgeback. she was wickedly smart, aloof, and a quintessential alpha-female. in botswana, at 5 months old she woke me up to tell me there was an intruder in the yard. in kenya, she warned me that there were people on the property up to no good. khale was the daughter my mother wished on me; completely stubborn, willful, and opinionated, and khale trained me well. my one regret is that i was so concerned with being the perfect ‘dog mom’ to khale, being strict, fair, and ‘right’, that i forgot to be affectionate with her, i forgot to show her i loved her. khale taught me to never miss an opportunity to tell someone that you love them.

i was there with her for her last 12 hours begging her to stay with me, but in the end knowing it was extreme selfishness to try and hold on to her. i was there when her heart stopped, lying on the floor of a concrete kennel, and it was the lonliest moment of my life. khale understood me in ways no one else ever will and i still miss her terribly.

They never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself, and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation.  ~Jerome K. Jerome

Kulima Naro Moru of Khale View 20.10.2005-29.07.2007

Naro was born in the Karoo. he was a consummate clown and an utter fool, he lived and played with complete enthusiasm. when i was on conference calls with the U.S. he would pick up the noisiest toy and chew on it, making loud crunching-squeaking sounds. i would take it away and he would find another until i got off the phone. he would jump everywhere and interfere in Khale’s and my nap time. he was a small dog with a huge heart and always sensed when i was feeling down. my regret with naro was that i wasn’t there when he died, my little guy- he was all alone. he was always there for me, and at the end i wasn’t there for him. naro taught me that if you’re going to do something, put your whole heart into it, love, play, whatever- do it with utter abandon and don’t worry about looking like a fool.

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.  ~Josh Billings

i’m still practicing what khale and naro taught me. what came naturally to them takes a lot of effort for me. it’s hard to show people that i love them, and it’s even harder to do it and not care whether or not it’s reciprocated. dogs are the true bhakti yogis, honoring us with complete devotion. a dog’s love is so pure i’m certain they attain a higher station when their wheel turns. so maybe khale and naro have already been reincarnated into future yogis or saints who will continue to teach me a thing or two. i hope to meet them again some day.

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.  ~Roger Caras

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4 comments

  1. What would we do without our dogs? I miss all my dogs that have died over the years, my 5 year old Anatolian Shepard the most (purely because he wasn’t with me long enough). Too much sadness for a Friday!

  2. Glad to catch your true, heartfelt and touching memories of Khale and Naro… Remembering Arthur 1990-2004.

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