Dingus the bush dog recovered well from his crocodile experience and his life settled down without further mishap (for a while anyway). Little did we know, however, that the peace and quiet was soon to be disrupted. One day, from out of the bush surrounding the garden, emerged an African with a small baboon sitting on his shoulder. The little animal was clinging tightly to the man’s neck and as he drew nearer we could see the poor mite was shivering with fear. Did we want to buy the baboon the man asked? Well, what could we say? Money and the baboon changed hands. We took the baboon and prepared a bottle of milk for her which she drank desperately as she clung to my arm, suddenly falling into a contented sleep. With her big ears and pointy face we decided to name her Pixie. In baby baboon fashion she would cling to either me or Peter at all times and it was difficult to prise her off. This often resulted in her clinging with her skinny arms wrapped round my lower leg with her hard, bony little bum resting on my foot and it had the same effect as clunking around with a plaster of Paris on my leg, swinging the now heavy leg forward, walking like a crab. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to house train baboons and I had to endure certain deposits being dropped onto my foot at any given moment. This was not nice. Any attempt to force her off my leg resulted in the most hysterical tantrums, screaming, baring of teeth, running and twisting around, and the only relief was to allow her back onto my leg. Fortunately, she grew out of this clinging need in time. We tried to keep her out of the house but it was impossible as windows and doors were always open due to the heat. But one day we went into Kariba to do some shopping and locked the house to keep her out. We saw her sitting up a tree as we drove out. Returning later we entered the house and were horrified to find it appeared as though we had been burgled. Everything was scattered around the lounge: ornaments, cushions, books, you name it. A window had been left open of course, and Pixie had got in and had some fun.
Her great love was sugar – she would dash into the kitchen and quickly stick her hands and tongue into the sugar bowl before she could be chased out. But one particular time she ran into the kitchen, grabbed the sugar bowl, stuck it under her arm and ran on three legs into the garden and up the nearest tree, all the while sticking her tongue into the sugar. No amount of coaxing could get her down and, of course, once the sugar bowl was empty the inevitable happened, it was flung down disdainfully from a dizzy height.
Of course, Pixie also hassled the dogs, particularly Dingus, but he didn’t seem to mind it when she rode on his back. On Peter’s bush trips she went along with the dogs, sitting either next to or on Peter, or clinging onto the back of the landrover. She was a great source of amusement for our friends’ children, but they were always warned not to try to get too close as she could be quite bad tempered at times.
But both Dingus and Pixie were soon to take back seats, because we were about to become the foster parents of a young, abandoned elephant.