pennyvdm's blog

Menagerie Madness

Eliza "Do Little"

Following on from my previous blog and Oliver's loneliness, I had an urge to find a suitable friend to join our family.

I am not a fan of buying from pet shops or random adverts in the newspaper, even though Oliver was a pet shop buy. I searched on foot through our animal rescue societies for a young female Jack Russell to befriend our beloved Oliver.

In October 2002, I decided to take a trip of 30km to the Animals in Distress in PE, a day after some sever taxi strikes and tyre burning episodes in the settlement area close to the pound. I had a feeling that this was the day I was going to find the dog I wanted, and I literally walked into the pound on that morning and went through the cages. Within 5 minutes I found a tiny, thin and severely malnourished female JR who apparently had just weaned her pups. She was is a terrible state, her ribs showing and her eyes bulging, but the feeling i got from her and the love she could still give was worth me signing her papers for sterilization and the adoption fee acceptance. Within 4 days, I was back at the pound and collected and very dirty, thin and bedraggled princess.

On the drive home I decided to call our new lady Eliza Do Little from "Charles Dicken's" Oliver Twist. When I arrived home, Oliver came to greet us immediately at the car and was over joyed at having a canine companion, even in her fragile state, he led her around our small property to show her all the smells and sounds and never left her side. It was love at first sight

Eliza was thin and flea ridden when I brought her home. My husband thought I had lost my marbles when I decided on this animal and seriously considered never allowing me to make a household decision again,
Within 3 months, Eliza had a shining coat, she learnt how to wag her tail again. She lost her fear of men and newspapers and got a sparkle back in her eye.
She never stopped eating and her food had to be restricted to ensure she did not become obese.

She has a nasty habit of yapping incessantly, which Oliver tries to control by imploring her with his eyes and ushering her into her basket.

In 2006, Eliza become very light sensitive and her right eye would pour tears constantly. I took her off to our local vet in PE who was unable to diagnose a condition to her eye and requested I send her to a specialist "human" ophthalmologist at our hospital In Green Acres, PE. as far as I know Eliza is the only dog to be admitted as a patient into a human hospital. The very bemused "human" doctor diagnosed Eliza with lens Displacia which after a few years of research on my part is a common condition in horses, but not in dogs.

He recommended a treatment of anti-inflammatory when the eye is swollen, but thought we should watch it until it progresses into glaucoma etc.

In 2008, when we had already moved to Pretoria, Eliza developed a sever infection in the right eye. Our local vet referred her to Onderstepoort's Ophthalmology department, who have done a study on her condition. Apparently it a genetic in breeding which has contributed to the lens displacia. We got eye drops and monitor the situation

Oliver and Eliza are eternal lovers. Oliver will love and cuddle her for hours. He protects her above all the other animals and makes sure she is comfortable and happy.

When I adopted Eliza I thought she was a year older than Oliver who was 10 months at that stage. It turns out she was 2 years over that mark and is now the official Old lady of our household.

It is tough being one of 2 females in our family so Eliza was very happy when an unexpected arrival of Chelsea happened - but will tell you more in my next blog as I am getting "pawed" for attention


Our first baby.

I might as well start with Oliver as he is the pinnacle for the animal madness in our house and rules the roost - to say the least

My husband and I had been together for a while and just had our first born son. We had just brought our first home with a garden and I began insisting that I cannot live without a dog in my life and it is important for our son to have an animal companion to grow up with. After nights of ear bending for him, he succumbed to my wishes and he declared we would go puppy hunting. Told me to meet him the next afternoon after work at a local petshop to see what they had.

5pm came around and I dashing through torrential rain in rush hour traffic with our 7 month old son to meet him. He was already there and standing by the Jack Russel pen where this little scrap was staring adoringly at him. From that moment I knew he had chosen and it would be his dog. Turns out our pet-shop special was a pure bred wire haired Jack Russel from Graaf Reinet and had a superb bloodline. Puppy was handed over into our care and bundled in hubby giant wind-breaker jacket and carted off into his Hilux Bakkie with the declaration that the dog would come to work with him everyday

First night at home - after days of discussion how dogs "are NOT allowed to sleep on our bed" - puppy showed his brown eyes to dad as was allowed to sleep between us with his head on my pillow as he is "scared and needs to adjust" according to dad.

From there he controlled us. The fun of house training and leash training was obviously left up to me as I had the knowledge of animals and had done T-Touch. But the love adoration and loyalty has always been for dad.

We decided to name him Oliver Twist. It was decided over a morning coffee chat as he had just been given his breakfast and wanted more. So I said he must be and Oliver as he "said" please sir can I have some more (and his hair is twisty)

5 days into having puppy Oliver at home, over the Easter weekend, my husband was involved in a very bad car accident that left him paralysed from the waist down and wheelchair bound for the rest of his life. With dad being in hospital, I took Oliver everywhere with me. He came to work with me. - and chewed through the computer cables and telephone lines. (replaced them before the boss found out). He was carted around the local grocery shops in the child seat of the trolley while the baby was inside his chair in the main compartment of the trolley. He got special permission to visit dad in the hospital and when my husband was transferred to the rehabilitation hospital, Oliver was allowed to visit him there too.

We went through weeks of Occupational therapy for my husband and Oliver was there every step of the way. He would push the big gym exercise balls towards dad and would sleep next to him on the bed in the hospital.

When hubby was allowed to come home I will never forget the first time he used the ramp to get into our house. Oliver immediately went in front of his chair and bit the front end of his takkies and reversed up the ramp "dragging him up"

Oliver taught himself to pick up things my husband dropped on the ground and put them back in his lap. He goes around the house on my husband's feet and as soon as he stops, Oliver gets off and lies underneath his chair.

Until this day I am not allowed to touch my husbands feet of legs (where he can't feel) if Oliver is in the house. He goes for me! He is so protective and caring!

With our son, Oliver is as wonderful. He managed to get our son off his dummy within 2 weeks of being in the house. When ever the baby would leave his dummy on the floor, Oliver would grab the dummy and go lie down in his basket and suck the dummy until it disintegrated. After 5 new dummy replacements I gave up and they were both weaned

One day I picked up a scared male Jack Russel who was running along a main road in the traffic. Took him home to calm him down and sent out adverts and notifications to find the lost dogs owner. This loving animal stayed with us for a week before an elderly gentleman got in contact with me to claim his dog. Oliver and this dog got along so well and really bonded. When the dog left, Oliver would sit staring out the gate, crying for his friend. That's when I decided to get another dog to keep him company. And in the following blog I will introduce to to Eliza "Do Little"