Healing can come in any number of ways, of course, even through a dog.

Our dog, Zak – he’s laying a few feet from me right now – has been this for me.

If you’ve never met Zak, you can do so here, through these simple pleasures.

Yes, Zak has been many things: guard dog, family pet and, in a way, balm of Gilead.

The Children’s Mother took the children into school this morning, leaving me and Zak to have our walk and our time and these sorts of thoughts.

When we transition back to Canada in 2017 we will all miss him, even as I’m sure Zak will miss his early morning tummy rubs and prayers to be blessed.

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In our family I am the king of dreams. So much that when I first started telling my wife about some of what went through my imagination at nights, she was a bit concerned about what she had signed herself up for.

In our 15 years of marriage, that has sorted itself out.

And for some years I have not dreamed once of Rex.

Rex, like Zak, was a long-haired German Shepherd, striking in appearance with a beautiful black coat and tan markings.

I was the little white-haired boy who would call out his name over and over while wandering the neighbourhood looking for him.

This is because, unlike Zak, Rex wasn’t as happy at home in the confines of the fencing, and he would inevitably find a way over or under or through such boundaries.

He was like a teen, I suppose, one difference being that you usually don’t find your son or daughter at the local pound in a day or two if they don’t turn up anywhere else.

Well into my adult years I would dream I was looking for Rex or feeding Rex or caring for Rex in some other way, but with some amount of struggle and anxiety and sense of regret. Rex was more my dog than anyone’s at the time, even after he bit a school chum and made it known in other ways that few people, even my father, could handle him very easily.

Zak, on the other hand, has bowled over my son Jon on a couple of occasions on our front lawn here in Africa, but only because Zak has run so fast in joy and playfulness and only because Jon has been in the way of it all. Jon has been left in awe more than fear.

Zak is that good natured.

Unless you’re a thief.

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Which brings us to the final item in todays’ post. The Children’s Mother was robbed the other day. Her purse was stolen while she turned her back in a restaurant in Kampala.

Purse with keys, cash, credit cards, technology, everything – gone.

This is partly because this is Africa. And partly because it’s Christmas season, when this sort of activity increases. Even thieves need to get their seasonal activities done in one way or another.

We used to get robbed all the time at the house, this before we got Zak. Since then, nobody has ever stolen anything from us, at least not at home. Not once in almost four years.

Makes you want to put a seat belt around the dog and take him along wherever you go.

Because these thieves were the sensitive type, soon after the purse was lifted Jean received a call from “someone” (she, thankfully, did not have her phone in the purse) from someone who – imagine this – just happened to find “her bag.”

They met up and Jean was then given a ratty plastic bag filled with at least some of the contents of her purse. Which is to say, it all could have been worse. Credit cards and some other very important items were thus returned in that clandestine meeting. Other things, not.

We had locks for the house and the car changed within 48 hours. It’s over now. Even so, this sort of thing, no matter how often it happens, still does leave one spinning for a bit.

We are a target and always will be.

Call it a champagne problem or call it something else, but in Africa, it is what it is.