A little Dassie story! By Michele Merrifield
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 with you hoping it will put a smile on your face at least for the day!
Everybody knows by now my immeasurable love and passion for 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.
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 in 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!
Bonding with the dassies
Slowly but surely, I bonded more and more with Baba, Câline and Little boy to a point that they were sleeping on my desk and on the sofa with/on the dogs. As I began to stress for their safety at night, and their loneliness when I would leave the camp in the evening, I started taking two of them home, to my husband’s despair. Baba being very independent, prefered to go back to sleep in his enclosure that I left open.
Dassies using the toilets