Today I’m feeling sorry for and worried about my dog, Zuri.
Tomorrow morning he goes to vet’s for surgery. He’s had a growth on his right
elbow for about four months, and it has one area that occasionally breaks open
and bleeds. Not just a little, but a lot. Although he’s had calluses on his
elbows for years, this is different, and the vet wants to have it sent to the
lab for a biopsy.
Zuri is ten years and three months old. A Rhodesian
Ridgeback’s life span is between 10 and 14 years (although a few have lived longer). Zuri is showing his age (aren’t we all), but he’s basically a healthy Ridgeback, and we’re hoping we have 4 or more years with him. But they’re going to have to put him under to do this surgery…and that always worries me.
Zuri is pet quality, and that’s what I wanted this time.
Back in the 70s my husband and I owned, bred, raised, and showed several
Rhodesian Ridgebacks and loved the experience, but this time around we simply
wanted a companion. Zuri has filled that requirement many times over.
Ridgebacks are very intelligent dogs. All of mine, over the
years, have been easy to train, though they aren’t like some breeds that rush
to obey. No, a Ridgeback will sometimes look at you as if to say, “Now, is
this in my best interest?” Zuri is oversized for the breed. (Remember, I
said he’s pet quality.) Whereas a male Ridgeback should be around 27 inches at
the shoulders and weigh around 80 pounds, Zuri is 31 inches at the shoulders
and comes in at 145 pounds. People are constantly saying, “That’s a big
dog.” (As if I hadn’t realized that.)
When he was a pup, I knew he was going to need to be well
trained if I was going to be able to handle him, so I started with the basics
the day we brought him home from the breeder, and I’ve never been sorry. Over
the years he’s been a wonderful ambassador for the breed, and for a time we
even visited a nursing home on a regular basis.
I love this breed, so when I decided to write my first
mystery suspense, I naturally gave my main protagonist (P.J. Benson) a Ridgeback puppy…and named him after the first Ridgeback we whelped, raised, trained, and showed to his Championship—Champion Roho’s Baraka. I hope, through my two Crow books (The Crows and As the Crow Flies) I’ve helped readers understand the Rhodesian Ridgeback a bit more. It’s not a breed for everyone, but those who are owned by them, love them.
Please send good thoughts Zuri’s way.