Monday, September 29, 2014

Finding another desert dog

In April 2013 I at last had an opportunity to combine a number of separate options into one trip, to attend a symposium on Canaan dogs, a visit to South Africa, a visit to Dubai to attend the K9 Friends shelter fund raising ball and of course most importantly to choose a desert dog. Dates all seemed to come together ideally.  It was a great trip, meeting new and old friends and a thoroughly enjoyable ball at Raffles Dubai.

K9 Friends puppy ball 2013

The shelter itself is an excellent facility with over a hundred dogs in air-conditioned kennels. I was shown a number of beautiful dogs, each and every one of them lovely and deserving of a home. I found it impossible to select one dog so discussed it with the senior instructor and would have been happy to take any dog they seemed to have had trouble homing for whatever reason. The suggestion was that I take Roxx who had been there for over 3 years. Of course the various other volunteers all had their own favourites but I decided to spend a bit more time with Roxx. I had some one on one time with him in one of the exercise areas and he was a little unsure at first but seemed to warm to me. When I threw any of the toys in the yard, he quickly collected them and placed them neatly back in the toy box. Back in his kennel that he shared with another dog he reached out to me through the fence and I went and sat in the kennel for a time hoping that the longer I spent with him the better the chance that he would remember me after the long journey he had ahead of him. And so the process began. The paper work for adoption was completed and I once more I would would have a Canaan type desert dog in my life. 

Some of the other dogs I considered

Formal introduction to Roxx
Naturally in the exercise yard Roxx was more comfortable with someone he knew than  me
Reaching out to me from his kennel
Contact made
Will you take me home? How could I not?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The gap years

After the loss of my dogs in Saudi I took some time to come to terms with the reality that I would not be able to return to search for them. Visas are not issued to casual visitors and without a relative, company sponsor or suitable conference in the area that I might attend it was simply not possible. Even companies attempting to promote group tours under supervision found it difficult to obtain visas for potential tourists and halted efforts to promote tours.

I became interested in a welfare dog shelter in Dubai that I had chanced upon while looking for somewhere to house my Saudi dogs during the process of getting them to Australia. Australia did not accept dogs directly from Saudi Arabia due to poor rabies control in Saudi so they would have needed to stay in an acceptable place like Dubai for 6 months. It seemed to me from the photographs of dogs available for adoption that some of them were probably also Canaan dogs, picked up off the streets.  I noted a number of them as such and had some contact with the kennel, K9 Friends, Dubai. I transited through Dubai a couple of times on trips between Australia and South Africa but only allowed a few days hoping to be able to visit the shelter with a view to adopting a dog. Unfortunately I discovered that without a pre-arranged appointment I was unable to visit. One of the dogs I noticed among those advertised as available for adoption and that looked like a Canaan was this one – Roxx.

Meanwhile I was considering a possibility of working in Nigeria with a South African pathology company or Ghana with a South African accredited one. The Company in Nigeria sent me all the papers we thought were needed for me to get a visa to visit them including a letter signed by the Nigerian director inviting me to visit and guaranteeing my financial situation and accommodation for the time I would be there, and a copy of the company registration in Nigeria. I duly submitted my visa application and passport to the Nigerian officials in Canberra. There was a charge for the visa, a charge for processing it and an additional charge for rapid processing. They insisted on using a postal order as the method of payment so I obtained one to cover the 3 costs and included this in my application. I also included, as required, a copy of my return ticket the company had sent me from Nigeria.

After a couple of days I attempted to phone Canberra to check all was in order but found it impossible to get connected. On the website was a message saying that they were experiencing problems with phones (something rare in Australia unless bills have not been paid) and an “alternative” number was given. When I checked this “alternative” was actually the same as the initial one listed. When I finally managed to get a call to them I was asked which of a list of departments they mentioned I wanted. Before I could answer the lady then said that anyway it did not matter as they all go to her anyway! When I asked about the progress with my visa application I was told it could not be processed because they needed 2 separate letters, one inviting me and a second separate one guaranteeing my financial status by the company for my time there. Then I was told that they also could not process my application because it was not a Nigerian company. It was and a copy of the company registration was included in my application. The company letter head said that they were associated with the South African pathologists at the head office in Cape Town. Also they said they could not process it because they needed 3 separate money orders for the 3 payments. I had no option but to call the lab in Nigeria and inform them I would not be able to travel on the booked flight unless they could do something to sort it out. The Ghana Company, after saying they would send an air ticket as soon as I had a visa and health certificate failed to do so

Meanwhile I had been planning to break my trip in Dubai to visit the kennel with a view to adopting one of their Canaan like dogs and they had invited me to give a talk on Canaan, which I had agreed to do. With my determination to get another of these dogs coupled with the thought of having to cancel an already advertised talk I decided a break in Dubai was something I could handle so made my own arrangements to go ahead with that.  The talk went well and helped raise funds for the shelter. My intention then was to adopt Prince, a dog that had been used to publicise my talk or failing that Tiger who had been brought in to the auditorium at the end of my talk to show the type of dog. Yet again difficulties in getting things done by remote control while back in Australia resulted in someone else wanting both dogs as individuals wanting dogs had developed attachments to them.

Work in Australia continued in a position that took me to a number of outback towns in the Northern territory but the need I felt to have another desert dog in my life remained and I was determined to get one. People still working in Saudi were still unable to spot my dogs although of course even if they had found their way back they would certainly not have approached anyone.
Prince in the flyer
Prince in the flyer

A section of the auditorium at K9 friends


Jesse one of the many K9 friends dogs


Some of the other dogs at K9 friends