By now, it is a while ago that the story I am about to tell came to an end, a story about trust, thankfulness and the ability to let go.
I moved to Zanzibar for the winter 25th of October 2016. While still adapting to the island life and getting used to the work that needed to be done, to open our Lodge fully by December, we found somebody feeding on the garbage at one of the houses in the village.
It is quiet normal to see a lot of animals (well a lot of cats and every now and then a dog) searching for food. Amongst them are always a lot of kittens and puppies since pets don’t grow very old in Zanzibar and they reproduce quiet active.
There was a difference though. This time it was one single puppy and it didn’t run away in an instant. Although very afraid of humans he was curious enough to stay around and started playing with us in pure joy.
I posted a sentence the other day saying: „A friend is someone with a soul that resonates with your own.“
That was the sentence that came to my mind when I thought about that dog and how our relationship was going to evolve over the next 6 month. It happened to be, that we adopted that little skinny doggy and made him be our lodge masquot from that time on:
Back to November 2016:
I clear him from literally hundreds and hundreds of ticks, clean him all up and fead him as much as he likes.
Within hours he absolutely trusts us, changes his posture and his behavior towards people in general. Was he a scared and shy dog yesterday, he happens to have the sweetest character and turns out to be the Lodges happy soul.
Unfortunately he becomes very very sick during the first 3 week and becomes even skinnier during that time. I seriously fear that we might loose him right away and start to care of him 24/7. Now he is (other than planned) allowed to sleep inside the room and although that is very untypical in Zanzibar he is allowed to join us everywhere. From that day on he doesn’t miss a single tour to the mangroves, snorkeling or the island.
All of a sudden it is impossible to leave him anywhere alone. As soon as we try, he sneaks out and tries to us. I end up being accompanied on every step I take.
Although not planned before, I have a (dog)friend all of a sudden. He manages to survive his sickness and starts growing and growing.
He is coming with us on mainland trips, to Daressalam, lake Malawi, lake Tanganyika as well as on safaris. I guess, he might be one of the very few dogs in Tanzania to have ever been on a safari at all.
Now my biggest problem becomes the thought of leaving him on this own when I will leave Zanzibar for weeks and months. After all a travel by plane with a dog will not be the easiest and cheapest way to travel.
By March 2017 we have our current team for the Lodge complete, I give responsibility to the team, start to leave him with the team during the day and now he is allowed to leave the Lodge on his own, since he is not approaching other people anymore and always comes back on his own.
He starts sleeping next to the night-guard, is fed by our kitchen staff.
He remains the proudest dog in the village though. Always tail and head up. He is not afraid of anyone and still he somehow figures out to whom he could go and to whom not. I never see him near other people he doesn’t know. He goes to the beach with our guests and shows up on his own.
He has grown a lot and is around 7 month old. Everything seems to have worked out. I am confident, he will manage to be a happy dog when I leave. I am so happy that I will be able to come to Zanzibar and have Django waiting for me in the future.
By now it is end of April. The Lodge is up and running, the team is working smoothly, Django feels at home and does a lot on his own. In 7 day I will leave for a training in Canada and we are in the middle of the rainy season.
He still doesn’t like water and chills with Judy and me who doesn’t have to work to day all day long. It truly feels like he knows it is the last weekend together with both of us, as if he wants to say goodbye.
What I don’t know, is that is really is a goodbye. In the evening the sky clears up and it stops raining. Django runs out to chase the cat. I finish my dinner, turn around and there lies Django. Peaceful, without any sign of stress or pain, but dead.
We have no idea what happened and will never know…
So the last week in Zanzibar truly becomes a week of saying good bye. It feels like loosing a close friend and digging his grave in our little valley at Caveman Lodge is not how I pictured my last week here.
It becomes a week of facing my own fears, my own sadness and my own mistakes. Letting him go teaches me a lesson on life. Everything that comes, will go, it is just a matter of time. Don’t be attached and enjoy to the fullest what you want to enjoy, the moment you have it. When it leaves you, be thankful that you had it before. You will loose everything anyway, at the latest when it is time for you to go.
Enjoy now! Be thankful for what you have.
And a safe travel to Django…