Story submitted by Rian Perry – Indy’s Owner
Professional photography by Fiona Steyn
Part One (My new family)
Hello, my name is Indigo (Indy for short), and I was born around the month of March 2020 into a brand-new world with problems such as Covid-19 and lockdowns and travel bans and all sorts of weird and crazy things that I don’t understand or care about.
Nonetheless, here I was, a little pup with a big lust for life. Not much is known about me before being picked up on the streets of Elsies River, after which I ended up in a shelter with some other pups. Here, I was told I was sick, underfed and, because of tiny skin goggas, I was very itchy, full of pimples and almost hairless.
Who would want me?
On Monday the 4th of May 2020, amid all the craziness, my new mom and dad travelled to the shelter to come and meet me (they just didn’t know yet that they’d be meeting their brand-new Indigo girl). I’ve been told that they’d been hoping for a little pup for a very long time, but because of their silly work and travels and things, they kept on postponing this (lucky for me!). So, during this apparent lockdown thing, they decided it was time to go for it.
They actually came to meet my shelter brother and sister – two cute but bitey little terriers. We had another shelter brother, but he was scared and very quiet. When my family-to-be came into our pen and sat down, the two terrier twins jumped up on them and licked and nibbled like crazy. It looked like so much fun to be held close, so I started making a lot of noise to get their attention. My new mom picked me up and I heard them say that I looked like a shaggy little hyena…
I knew that I wasn’t too pretty and so sick. I remember thinking: who’d want a small, sickly, bald little runt? But I didn’t give up. I did my best puppy-dog expressions to look sweet; I cried and whined to make sure they noticed me.
Then, they left us, and I watched them go with hope in my heart.
They picked me
Two days later, they were back. Despite me still being weak and sick, they came to us and, out of all the other puppies, they picked me up and took me out of the pen. Not the terrier twins, not the quiet one… me!
I was happy and sad and scared and confused all at the same time, but mostly I was just nervous. Mommy held me close while we were in the car driving to what was going to be my new home. They spoke to me in gentle voices and told me I was going to have a new home with them.
Their house was gigantic, with big stuff they sat and slept on, and many rooms… and a big scary outside place with forests and bushes everywhere – I was so scared to go outside and to be on my own.
But they gave me delicious food and a warm bed and lots of love and attention. They taught me all about wee-ing and poo-ing outside, and I met my new aunt who brought me lots of toys. Things were most definitely looking up.
Two months later…
I can’t believe that it’s been just over two months now and my whole life has changed. I’m growing really fast and they call me a super-smart puppy! I have lots and lots of hair, and I don’t have smelly skin or ears anymore, and I’m not so itchy. I’m getting so big and tall and can even jump on the massive couch and bed (that’s like two big-dogs-high), and I’m getting big-girl teeth. I can do all sorts of tricks like sit and stay (sometimes), I can spin, and give my paw and almost sit-pretty. I’ve been going to school and my teacher says I’m really smart and cute. On the less-fun side, I’ve been to the scary doctor-uncle three times, where he gave me nasty injections. That’s the only bad thing, apart from when mommy and daddy leave me alone – I hate that so much, because we’re a pack, and packs stick together!
I’ve met so many new family members and made loads of friends. My grandma’s got two really cool doggies; they’re awesome and we have so much fun playing – I want to be just like them when I grow up. My grandma and grandpa are also nice, but dad has told them not to give me treats (long story about that time I stole food off his plate and had a big stomach ache and yucky poos for over a week – these days I’m very good when mommy and daddy eat). I also have fun cousins – gigantic and pretty dogs that live with the aunty who gave me the toys when I was still small. They play with me, but the boy cousin does get a bit angry if I take his toys. I have friends at school and friends at other people’s houses. To be honest, I’m sometimes a little scared of other big dogs – they might eat me! – so I run to my daddy and sit between his legs where they can’t reach me! I have another grandma and grandpa in Kleinmond. They’re very nice too. Grandma loves to play with me and wants me to sit on her lap.
Mom and dad have taken me on many adventures. I’ve been to three different beaches, which is so much fun – I can run around and they keep on throwing things which I have to go get for them (silly mommy and daddy). Daddy also gets me to run in the water with him, which I can do because I’m his big girl! I don’t like being bathed at home, but I love to run on the beach and in the waves. I’ve also gone walking on the highest mountain in the world (Table Mountain) and I’ve been to Blouberg, Kleinmond, Arniston and Agulhas, which they say is the very bottom part of Africa. I don’t really know what Africa is, but they seemed pretty impressed with me being there. I love going for drives and never want to be left when they go somewhere! When we go places, so many (thousands!) of other people say that I’m cute and have big ears. People say I look like a fox or wild dog all the time, but mostly, these silly people call me Malinois (whatever that is). Dad just says I’m his Elsies River Special.
Recently, we started walking around where we live. That’s still a bit scary for me because there are so many smells and car-things and other dogs who are behind walls (to prevent them from eating me). Mommy says I must practise being brave and to ignore this. It’s hard.
One day, when I’m big, I’ll travel to many other places and play with many other dogs and friends.
I’m very happy, and I get enough food, although I do still get grumpy for some of mommy and daddy’s food at night (especially if there’s cheese involved). I also love to sleep in their bed… I’m supposed to sleep in my own bed, but if I pretend to be scared of outside noises, sometimes they allow it.
I like to play and run and wrestle with daddy. He says I’m strong and he’s so happy for my big girl teeth now. I also love sleeping on my mommy’s lap, but I think I’m getting too big for that now… Because of my teeth, they say that I must have been born early in March, about two months before I met them, so they’ve decided that my birthday will be on the 6th of March.
Anyway, my dad said that I should start sharing my pictures and adventures so that other people can see that I embrace YOLO! I wonder what else the future holds for me…
Part Two (Cape Town to UK)
The 6th of May 2022 was my two-year anniversary of joining the family – and, oh wow, do I have so many new things to tell, say and share…
Okay, where to begin… My last story ended when I was only four months old, had been with mum and dad for two months, and had begun exploring places all over our province back home. My hair was coming back, I was growing taller by the day, and my big-dog teeth were arriving.
Travels and adventures
Since then, I’ve been very busy. I went on long road trips out of our province (I love driving far), had a red-ant fight in the Karoo, tried to catch a giant horse on a mountain, was harassed by 10 crazy boy dogs on a family farm in the Eastern Cape, and was almost eaten by a crazy farm cat (dad says I’m being silly, but I know what that cat really wanted…). I got to run and hike around Morgans Bay, play with family and their dogs and children, and took my mommy on many long hikes in Kleinmond while my daddy was away for five months (more about that later).
And then, the biggest adventure of all: I took three flights and travelled for four days all the way from Cape Town, South Africa, to my new home in this place called Bourne, England, which is far away from our old home, in a strange country with lots of new smells and dogs and people (and so many rules). (Apparently, mum and dad had been stressing about that for months, while I didn’t suspect a thing until mommy put me in the crate at the airport.) Here’s how it went…
Growing up Indy
During lockdown, dad and mom were working from home a lot (yeah!) – and I loved it because I loathe being left alone. I loved my comfortable home, and I could run and chase and catch my ball in the park every day (something I got really good at, by the way) and visit our friends and family and their doggies. My mange-goggas and infected ears healed completely, and I grew into a strong, lean, running machine.
They also got to know all my quirks and weirdnesses. It turns out that I’m part Collie along with the Shepherd mixes (who knew?) and, apparently, I’m “reactive” as I bark a lot… at everything… all the time! People are sometimes scared of me (eish, if only they knew how scared I am of them, and of strange black bins on the street, and bushes and random plastic bags and curtains that blow in the wind and doors that close by themselves and even stop signs sometimes… okay, I’m weird, I know).
So, I bark a lot at people and dogs, but when they talk to me, I give a quick sniff and then I’m happy! I’m actually very sweet and loving and special, but, in the moment, I just get carried away.
My grandparents’ doggies are still my favourites, even though they get upset if I jump on them (I got really big and they stayed small). I also became super close with my aunt’s dogs (I lived with them for two months while my daddy was away). I also learned to eat raw food – it’s amazing, and my favourites are lamb and ostrich.
Life was a glorious time of comfy sleeping, eating great food, going to the park, beach walks, seeing friends, playing with doggies and kids, and travelling. Which brings me to my longest travel trip of all…
Emigration: the biggest adventure yet!
You noticed me saying that daddy was away for five months, right? What I didn’t mention was that mum and I left our house because it was sold. We went to stay with my aunt and her doggies for two months and then my grandparents in Kleinmond for three months. And all the time I wondered where dad had disappeared to.
Emigration – what a massive word! I guess I don’t really know much about this, but basically taking me along caused daddy and mommy many sleepless nights and tears and stress and heartburn. (It also led to some rather unpleasant injections and blood tests (ouch!) for me.)
It started when, one morning, instead of our usual activities, mommy took me somewhere new: the Cape Town International Airport. There, we met a friendly man who helped me into a giant wooden crate. I admit that this was scary – my ears were flat, and I was stressing out.
While I was in that crate, I was put into a huge machine – like a car, but it was noisy and moved in a way I’m not used to. Later, I had to sleep in a strange place with other dogs (mum said it was a kennel) in a town called Johannesburg. But that wasn’t the end of the trip… I went back into the wooden crate and then spent a long time in another big, noisy machine, followed by a sleep in another strange kennel, this time in a place called Dubai, where all the people and dogs spoke in different languages. I started to wonder if it would ever end when the whole procedure started again, and I went back into the crate… you get the picture. What a scary time!
Just when I started to feel really despondent, we arrived in a new country, which they announced as “the UK”. A friendly lady came to fetch me from my crate. After so many hours cooped up, she took me outside and – oh my goodness! – there was daddy! After five months of wondering where he was, he was standing there waiting for me in this strange new place.
I was so shocked and surprised and happy and deurmekaar and everything at the same time!
But the journey wasn’t quite over yet – we then had to get in the car for another long journey. At least I’m used to cars and, of course, I was with my dad. When we got to our new home, I was ravenously hungry and so tired… but I just couldn’t get to sleep. Every two hours for the next three nights I got up to check on dad – just to make sure it was really him and he was really here. Then, after five whole days in my new home, my heart was full when mom also joined us! Finally, we were all together again.
So, now we live in Bourne, which is very different. The yards are much smaller and our house, which is tall and narrow, touches other houses on both sides. The people are different too and not everyone wants to be my friend, but I did get to meet some more family members: another aunt and uncle, and their dogs. So far, I’m getting on well with one of the dogs, and I’m working on winning the other one over too. I’m a bit unsure of the tiniest family member – my aunt and uncle’s baby, who was born the day before I arrived. She’s very small, quite loud, and a bit smelly, but I like licking her feet and head, so that’s okay. The great thing is that there are loads of places we can go for walks – parks and fields and woods. I love it. Mommy and daddy aren’t working from home anymore, but I’ve got a special juffrou who takes me for walks during the day, so I get exercise, company, and fun.
There are so many new smells and doggies with weird accents and rules (I can’t sit on my favourite seat next to daddy when we drive, and I have to wear a special seatbelt). But I’m happy and have gotten used to this new place. It was scary, but we’re here and that’s that. Best of all, I’m back with mommy and daddy. What a life filled with adventure!
Time to go for a long walk and play ball now. Love you all!