Goodbye Kharma

Warm. She was always warm and cuddly.


Happiness is – a warm surrogate mother.

Soft ears, puppy ears even when she was older.



First games

Loving. Very expressive eyes too.

Art of the raised eyebrow

Art of the raised eyebrow

Cheeky at times.


Don’t even think of it Zak!

She was just putting you in your place.

And clever.

Well yes but I did cheat her out of an avocado. Once.

That tail, that full-body-tail-wag and the Kharma smile, with her ears rolled back!


The Kharma smile

Yes, she was always so pleased to see you. 4 minutes or 4 days, it was all the same to her. She was just pleased to have you back.

And she was so gentle with you – tolerant.

Yes, she would always play with me.

And she was the first to play with Roxy and Tia when you didn’t want to know them.


Kharma, Zak and Roxy playing

Well I did find them annoying, at first.

She wasn’t much of a runner.


Stepping out – whilst Kharma was still the quicker of the two.

No but she’d get that look in her eye and flick up her front paws and then she’d try and knock you flying.

Come on, there's running to be done!

Come on, there’s running to be done!

Yes, that was fun. But that last run…

Not your fault my boy. The cancer was already in her leg and made it weak which was why it broke.

Is that why it took so long to heal?

Probably. But in the end it was another tumour that stopped her from eating.

Aww. I’ll miss her. She was such a gentle lady. And well-behaved too!


Gentle Kharma

Yes she was. Those big soft eyes and the ability to fit in anywhere. She could also be very manipulative. Especially with Helen.


Training Helen

She loved you.


Just the two of us

And I her. Before you were around I’d come home and she’d do several circuits of the house at full speed to show her delight. And if I’d left her inside she’d stand on my mother’s dressing table to look out of the window and check if it was really me.

Her claw marks are still there…

When she first arrived she was so nervous. I let her out of her crate in the Land Cruiser and a few minutes later she’d disappeared. Didn’t know how I was going to tell Cheryl.


Out and about in the Tsetsera mountains

Where’d she gone?

Back in her crate in the Land Cruiser! It took her a long time to settle down but then suddenly she just accepted me and I was home and she was my best friend for 7 lovely years.


Kharma in her prime. A good looking and gentle girl.

She didn’t go alone did she?

No my boy. I held her and told her how much I loved her – all the way to the end.

You’ll be there for me too won’t you?

Of course I will. Of course.

Goodbye sweet Kharma, we love you.

My brother, Duncan, and Kharma two days ago.

My brother, Duncan, and Kharma two days ago.

The last day. The eyes say it all.

The last day. The eyes say it all.


Politics of the bone (a very short play)

The scene: It is early morning. Kharma is on the bed, a well loved marrow bone close to her paws – she is apparently ignoring it but in reality it is well attended to. Zak is sitting at the foot of the bed watching the bone which he regards as his.

Kharma, please?!

Kharma, please?!

Zak: Please! Please let me have my bone!

Kharma: No.

Zak: But you are not even chewing it! He makes a whine and moves towards the bone.

Kharma: Just try.

Zak backs off, sits and barks. The human enters through the door near the head of the bed.

Human: What’s wrong Zak, won’t she let you have your bone?

Zak, giving the human his most pleading look: No, how selfish is that?

Human: I can’t blame her, you should try being nice to her more often.

Zak: But I am, I am! Please help me!

Kharma, moves head fractionally towards the bone and raises her right eyebrow. Says nothing. Her tail is uncharacteristically quiet.

Human moves to cupboard to get camera. Zak agitates and barks again. Please Kharma!

Kharma. Go on. Test me.

Human sits on bed near the pillow and takes a photo.

Zak: Come on, help me here.

Human: No ways dude, this is your problem to fix. Kharma’s the boss here.

Zak circles to the top of the bed, jumps up and sitting down backs into the human, all the time intently focused on the bone: Come on dude, it’s a boy solidarity thing. Help me out, I need that bone!

Kharma says nothing.

Human (laughing): Dude, Kharma is just making her point, be patient and she will eventually let you have it.

Zak (jumping off the bed). Awww. You are no help at all. I need that bone now.



Human puts away the camera and leaves to get ready for work.

Author’s note: Variations on this theme play out every Sunday morning when the dogs get their bones. Kharma will devour hers first and then browbeat Zak off his just to show that she can.

My first Rhodesian Ridgeback, Kim, was an uncharacteristically unemotional dog but when she’d finished her bone (always in the same place on the front lawn) she’d play bow to it, tail wagging furiously, do a little dance around it and then pick it up and go and bury it. She was very self-conscious about all this and wouldn’t do it if she thought I was watching.

Jenni would always bury her bones, sometimes eaten, sometimes not. Again, if she thought I was watching she would go somewhere else. The bones did reappear from time to time but I was never sure if they ALL reappeared.

Before Zak, Kharma was relatively indifferent to her bone. I was never sure if it was going to be chewed or ignored – sometimes permanently. That has all changed and she devours her bones if she can. I think she has some hyena genes in her because sometimes the bones really are eaten and they are not insignificant bones!