As many of you may remember, a few months back we rescued a bush dog, Ticky, from appalling conditions in our host village Iko Esai. She was found under a broken umbrella in the pouring rain, covered in sores and being home for a vast number of parasites including ticks, fleas and worms. She was too weak to even stand and we discovered the reason was because she had been removed from her mother before she was ready to finish nursing. Sylvain, our mona research coordinator, gently carried her back to our camp along the difficult 30 minute bike journey, through flooded rivers and with thunder crashing around our ears. It was there we began to nurse her back to health and she started her new life as our camp mascot, surrounded by love and care.
Ticky being nursed on her first night at Rhoko Camp, after ger initial rescue
In our last ‘rescued dog’ update we announced she was firmly on the road to recovery and we are pleased to say she has now finally reached her destination! Her patchy fur has fully grown back and all her wounds are healed. She has put on plenty of weight, with a big belly hanging around her spindly little legs! Her true character is shining through and she is excelling at her guard dog duties, taking her cue from our older camp dog, Simon. Perhaps her bark isn’t quite as threatening as Simon’s, with its squeaky tones intermingled with low growls, but she is always on the lookout for passers-by.
Her strength has grown even more and now she runs around camp, following us to our huts and playing with us in the grass. She still tries to play with our older dog, Simon, but he has decided he’s a bit too old for these games and tries to find a quite spot where he can continue to be a grumpy old man. I think he also gets jealous, as he’s a big dog and is unable to climb onto anything comfortable like a chair (although he was caught having pushed into Sylvain’s hut and asleep on his bed once)! Ticky, on the other hand, has found one of our cushioned chairs particularly comfortable, and has become an expert at climbing up various small boxes to get on to it!
Ticky; patch-free and chewing the clothes of our volunteer, Sylvain.
The other week our camp manager, Richard, bought back some tasty treats from the city for our guarding duo in the form of two large bones. Both are nearly as long as Ticky herself and she struggles to get a good bite with her small mouth. For some reason though, which ever bone she is gnawing on is not as tasty as the one Simon is chewing, and so she always tries to muscle in on his! He’s not too pleased about this but is showing more tolerance as the days go by!
Ticky trying to get her little mouth around such a big tasty treat!
In addition, we have begun general training with her. She understands ‘sit’ even if she doesn’t always follow the order, and we are trying to teach her ‘stay’, as she regularly tries to follow us in to the forest. Our favourite one though, and I think hers is ‘paw’, where she lifts up her paw to shake hands. Perhaps not as practical as ‘sit’ or ‘stay’, but much cuter and it is becoming a very popular welcome with our visiting tourists!
By Amy Baxter, Mangabey Project Coordinator and temporary Office and Finance Manager