This is the lovely story of Michele and her dassies:

The time we are going through due to the pandemic is very sad and lacks all forms of enthusiasm. Therefore, I decided to share my Dassie story hoping it will put a smile on your face at least for the day!

Everybody knows by now my immeasurable love and passion for the Rock Hyrax also called Dassies. I am privileged to have hand-raised a few orphans and unfortunately had to keep them in captivity for everybody’s safety as well as their own.

Dassies rock hyrax

One of them got very sick and I had to keep him close to me for extra care and love. He recovered and never went back to his camp, living freely and being over-spoiled by me. I named him Baba and he had teeth big enough so the dogs understood quickly it was not a good idea to get too close.

The two other Dassies were still very happy together in their enclosure, always jumping on my shoulders when I went for coffee with them. Baba would regularly jump back into their enclosure looking for their company. Rock Hyrax are the closest related animals to elephants and are very social.

Releasing the dassies

Two months ago, my heart told me that it was time to do better for my little friends such as giving them more freedom around as we do not have any volunteers or children at the moment to be bitten or even complain about dassies stealing their snacks!

I started to let one free in the camp watching how they would interact with our four dogs (Nikita, Gucci, Kenzo, and Mirabelle). There has been a bit of cat and mouse play but with a bit of authority, I managed to calm the dogs while getting used to this first Dassie that I named Câline.

Just a few days later, I released the third one, named Little Boy, and quickly there was an atmosphere of happy family between the dogs, the marmoset, and the squirrels. Everybody knew its boundary!

Quite obviously, I was in heaven with all my animals around and I probably started showing signs of dementia in my attitude from so much happiness!

dassie marmoset

Bonding with the dassies

Slowly but surely, I bonded more and more with Baba, Câline, and Little Boy. We got to the point where they were sleeping on my desk and on the sofa with the dogs. As I began to stress about their safety and loneliness at night, I started taking two of them home, to my husband’s despair. Baba being very independent, preferred to go back to sleep in his enclosure that I left open.

Dassies using the toilets

One evening, I forgot to take them for wee and poo and walked them directly home. When I remembered it, it was too late so I prepared cleaning stuff for the morning.

Câline and Little Boy would always sleep on the bed and on top of the dogs such as Kenzo and Nikita. Gucci was not willing to share his place in my arms!

That night, I woke up, hearing water dropping, and wondered if I left the tap open. I got up to close it when the noise of the “running water” took me to the toilet. To my surprise, I found Caline on the toilet doing her business and I couldn’t believe it! So, I thought that I better record it otherwise nobody would have faith in my story. Both dassies are now officially “potty trained”! You can watch the video of the dassie using the toilet below:

Who knows how they will surprise me again? Animals and humans are amazing! We are meant to live together but I do not expect everybody to be as crazy as I am!

I hope you enjoyed reading my Dassie “tale”.

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