Enslaved by animals – the dog and the wildlife rehab centerPosted: May 10, 2011
Enslaved by animals: the true story of a wildlife rehab dog.
by Chris Mercer. SD67V7NXUP6Q
(formerly of the Kalahari Raptor and Predator Sanctuary, South Africa. Co-author with Beverley Pervan of the book “For the Love of Wildlife.”)
Bev and I used to run a wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation center in a remote part of the Kalahari semi-desert area of South Africa. Actually we did not run the sanctuary, although we owned it and paid for everything out of our declining savings. The animals did.
As with any management structure, there was a hierarchy at the Kalahari Raptor Centre. Perhaps like corporate hierarchies, our hierarchy shifted and varied according to new arrivals and departures. The arrival of a lion, for example, would seriously affect the existing order of things.
We had two massive Boerbull dogs, who weighed a sizeable 75 kgs each. The male dog, Shumba, had assumed management duties, and believed that he ruled the roost. Actually, he only ruled for 98% of the time, because we were visited occasionally (about 2%) of the time by a colony of meerkats, and although not much larger than a rat, these fearless little attack machines would confront even a Boerbull. If you spend your time killing scorpions and snakes, then who is afraid of a dog?
At one time we opened our arms (and our pockets) to a pair of jackal pups, whose mother had just paid the ultimate price for doing what was natural in a material world. Jackals are dogs too, being members of the canid species. Before her untimely departure, their mother had obviously trained her children very well, because at the mere sight of the canine manager of the center, the pups put on such a polished display of abject groveling, that he must have felt fulfilled. They put their pointy ears back in submission and wriggled and squirmed up to him, their bushy tails thumping the ground or swinging wildly. Then they darted little licks at his fleshy jowls and climaxed the show by flinging themselves down on their backs at his front paws, begging for acceptance. The Boss received the acrobatic display of servility with elegant aplomb, and then cast about their camp until he aroma-located their half-empty food bowl.
For the full story, and more images, see the Stories page of this website.