I have two aging yellow Labs, the off-spring of Zoe, the Lab I brought to Tanzania from Montana in ’94. Katy and Ginger grew up in a pack with Zoe, of course, and later, Joe, the Ridgeback, and a male ridgeless Ridgeback/Lab mix with a ridge. Technically a “back”. His name was Fred, but Fred is dead. Zoe died in ’03. Ginger and Katy are now with Joe and his son, Chui.
They have seven acres to run around in and have rarely been let outside this electrically fenced compound. My husband is often away on safari, so they are alone tended to by staff, but without much love.
I no longer live on the Tanzanian ranch I bought in 2001 and had necessarily to leave in ’05. I have since returned to EA, and now live in Kenya.
I miss my dogs terribly.
Katy and Ginger are reaching 10, the general life span of a Lab. Katy a bit older, incontinent, and can hardly move. Ginger is three years younger, mobile, but getting mzee. I don’t want them to die loveless in Tanzania.
I had been thinking of moving them to Kenya, where I can board them with the Queen Bee of Labs in Langata, a suburb of Nairobi. Dogs are everywhere at Biddy’s, especially Labs, which she breeds, along with the off-spring of a few Irish Wolf hounds that played bit parts in the film, Out of Africa. It’s a three acre compound. Humans are second banana to the dozens of dogs there that occupy nearly every flat space in her living room. At least there I can occasionally see and be near Katy and Ginger before they head to dog-heaven.
Moving them would be for my sake, thus an admittedly selfish motive.
The question I’ve been struggling with is — would the move be too traumatic for Katy at her age? They’ve never been in a car and would likely vomit all over the place. But that is minor if I don’t feed them beforehand. Maybe I will take only Ginger, the younger of the two and more likely to absorb the shock of the move. Besides, Katy is technically my son’s dog.
Our Maasai secretary in Arusha has offered to help with logistics and paper work involved with getting them across the border. But, of course, Tanzania being Tanzania, the process would be ponderously slow.Customs and immigration itself at Namanga a pain in the ass process that would add hours to the five hour drive from the ranch to Nairobi.
I may just drive Ginger near to the Namanga border, grab a random Maasai, who I could ask to stick her in pack of goats and walk her through the bush on a “panya” (“rat” or smugglers) route near the border and pick her up on the other side.
Or would it be best for their well-being to leave them both to die with the pack back at the ranch?