Half a bottle of Kahlua and a puppy

Tokai market is a great place to spend Saturday mornings with its array of organic and wholesome food, from fresh vegetables to chicken pies – henna tattoos and Karoo beef biltong.

There is a pet stall, too, which usually sells dog, cat and rabbit food as well as the usual spread of bowls, beds and leads but, a week before the Champions Trophy, the owner had four of the cutest puppies you could ever imagine.

No bigger than an adult’s outstretched hand, they turned out to be miniature Pinschers which, we later discovered, were originally bred to catch rats and other vermin but had subsequently come to be regarded more as ‘toy’ dogs. We discovered this on the internet because, having realised that the puppies were actually for sale rather than on display to attract customers, the only way to get my two daughters back home without the shedding of many, many tears, was to buy one.

Miniature Pinschers, it said on the website, grow up to be tremendous house guards and very loyal family dogs provided they are integrated with children and other dogs from an early age. No problem there – the girls have hardly left it alone while the two resident Ridgebacks are too big to avoid. Miniature Pinschers, it said, don’t think ‘miniature’ at all when they grow up. They think more ‘Doberman Pinscher’ than miniature anything.

It was an instinctive purchase and one we may yet regret, but I’d promised the girls various trips to movies and indoor swimming pools during the school holidays without realising that the Champions Trophy coincided exactly, to the day from start to finish, with the school holidays. Great for kids and families in Jo’burg and Centurion but an absolute bummer for those of us who live in Cape Town.

After a week of acclimatising to her new home, it was time to take ‘Terra’ to the vet for her first inoculation and check up. An appointment for 9.00am was made but by 9.45am we were still sitting in the waiting room with an Afghan hound which looked worryingly like its long-haired owner and a couple of cats, one of which was in a cardboard box and not very happy about it.

The surgery was frantic and the sound of teenage voices filled the air. There was clearly an emergency: “She will be alright, won’t she? We didn’t even know until we found her this morning…we just thought she was asleep!? Omigod, our parents will kill us for this, they’re in Durban for the weekend and we promised, oh no, please don’t tell them. We can pay you, please don’t let her die…!”

Eventually the emergency was over and it was our turn to take Terra to see the hassled vet.

“Good morning!” she smiled wearily. “And who is this dear little creature?”

“Terra Cotta,” replied the girls. “Dad wanted to call her ‘Terror’ but we thought that was cruel so Mum suggested ‘Terra Cotta’ so Dad can call her ‘Terror’ for short and we can call her ‘Terri’,” explained the elder.

“Sorry you’ve had to wait,” she said under her breath to me. “Parents away, kids decide to have a party, raid the drinks cabinet and pass out. Some one spilled a bottle of Kahlua in the pantry which the family dog licked up before joining everyone else and passing out. I pumped her stomach and she’s on a drip now, she should be OK. It was bloody funny, to be honest. In all these years I’ve never seen a pissed dog before…”

Well you didn’t expect me to write about the cricket, did you?

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