We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

The puppy, it’s alive.

The pup made it through the night, and, after a quick bath (which had him whimpering a little bit-a good sign), was all the more presentable. Turns out he’s not dust brown, but more golden, with a sweet white stripe running up his nose (like Ms. Muddy Paws).


He didn’t eat this morning and only drank with some effort.

I took him (yes, he’s a confirmed him now) to the vet this morning. The vet diagnosed major dehydration, probably a result of an inflammation on the roof of his mouth which has kept him from eating and drinking. It also explains why the poor thing couldn’t move very well. The vet treated the infection and swelling and injected 100 ml of rehydrant under his skin, and I’ll do the same later tonight. The vet told me to call him tonight during his evening office hours and bring the puppy by tomorrow as well.

Mr. Four, by the way, really does not want to adopt a puppy. Is anyone surprised by that? No, I didn’t think so.

Meanwhile, I’ve been calling him (in my head) Lazarus. And Lazlo for short. And Mr. Four wants to know when I’m calling the shelter.


15 March 2008 Posted by | our life in egypt, pets | 9 Comments

The dogs of Cairo

Wild dogs and cats live all over this city. My understanding is that the cats are tolerated because they eat rats and other various vermin. And the Prophet Mohamed was nice to cats. Something like that. The feral cats are skittish around people, but not necessarily skinny. They scavenge in garbage, and some people and businesses leave food out for them. Some are even plump. It’s not a great situation–many are sick and I’m sure none of the wild cats have regular medical care–but they seem to survive.

The dogs… not loved so much. The feral dogs here are also very skittish and not at all aggressive. You can walk right next a dog lying in a dirt patch and not even realize it. Last fall I passed a dog sleeping on the hood of a car. When I walked back in the other direction, he had moved onto the roof.

Periodically, so I’ve heard, the police round up some dogs and shoot them. The dogs are not so welcome in Cairo.

A month or two ago, we started hearing puppy noises from behind our apartment, which overlooks a vacant lot. Mr. Four finally spotted the litter. From our seventh story window, we often watched them bounce around and play, and we noted that the mother and father dog often returned back with some food, likely garbage.

I took the boys for a walk to see the puppies a few weeks ago. The pups were really skittish, but quite happy to play with each other as long as we kept our distance. And when the adult dogs returned, we left them all alone. I thought about calling a rescue society, but I suspected that they wouldn’t have room for these pups. So I stopped thinking about it.

Earlier today, Bug pointed out one of the puppies. The pup was lying on its side, possibly asleep (and so Bug thought), but looking dead to me. I checked back later, and it was moving around on its side, still in the same place. Earlier this evening, I looked out again, and it seemed in distress, moving around but still stuck on its side. No other dogs were around.

So, I got a blanket, and Giggle and I went took a walk to the vacant lot. We passed one dead puppy (Giggle didn’t notice it) and didn’t see any others except the one in distress. It hardly moved when we approached and didn’t resist at all when I gathered it up in the blanket and we started walking home.

The puppy is thin, dirtier than you can even imagine, and covered in pests. It had a hard time drinking water (I finally got it to lick a few spoonfuls) and wouldn’t eat any of the offered cat food or tuna. So I suspect it’s either very sick or in a great deal of pain and distress. Probably both.

I’m wondering if it was hurt or poisoned. Or maybe it’s just really easy for puppies to die here, from eating garbage and bad water.

Mr. Four was not excited about me bringing the puppy here. (Thought ff course the boys aren’t allowed near it.) The plan is to bring the pup to the vet tomorrow and have it put down if necessary… and if not, we’ll try to find it shelter.

This is all very naive of me, I know, and possibly dangerous, to have brought a dirty, sick puppy into the house. I just couldn’t stand knowing it was in agony in the lot and not help it, even if that only means helping it die.

14 March 2008 Posted by | our life in egypt, pets | 6 Comments

Crazy art at Fagnoon

Back in January, we spent a Friday morning at a place called Fagnoon. Fagnoon is a made-up word that, in Arabic, means something like “crazy art.” Fagnoon the place is an amazing art center, mostly for kids, but really for everyone. It’s colorful and inspiring, outside of the city, surrounded by fields, and staffed by some wonderful people.

First, we enjoyed a picnic in their backyard, with the company of some goats and puppies. And the boys played on their free-form, woven playground.


And so did the goat (who was trying to escape the very curious puppies).
goat at fagnoon

The boys were pretty much terrified of the goat.
goat at fagnoon

Eventually one of the goat tenders had to rescue the poor thing.

Fagnoon’s setting is lovely. It’s surrounded by agricultural fields. We don’t usually see all this green in Cairo.
view from fagnoon

In the distance stands Sakkara, the Bent Pyramid.
bent pyramid

Meanwhile, back at Fagnoon, the boys each worked on two projects. The first was sand art, except with colorful sawdust left over from their wood projects. They also did some free form painting. Here’s Giggle painting.
giggle at fagnoon

Fagnoon was fantastic. Really one of the best places I’ve ever been for kids. And the boys had a great time.

11 March 2008 Posted by | fun, our life in egypt | 5 Comments

88 degrees in Cairo

Man is it hot here. We spent several hours in the pool today, and, being the first really hot, sunny day since last fall, I apparently forgot about my skin’s propensity to sunburn. So now I have a very dramatic shoulder sunburn, with two white stripes where the straps of my swimsuit protected a very small patch of skin.

The kids and Mr. Four are fine, of course.

My computer’s weather feature tells me it was 96 degrees here today. I believe it. It was so hot the heated pool felt cool. It’s almost 8pm and not much cooler, even though I’m sitting outside. We’re actually thinking about turning on the a/c.

Now, you may be thinking, “Of course it’s hot there! It’s Egypt!”

Except that less than two weeks ago I was bundled up for cold weather with a jacket and a sweater. And this is unusually warm, even for Egypt. It seems we’ve skipped over spring, though Egyptians tell me it’ll get cool again. Of course, in March, we also have sandstorms to look forward to. Apparently the whole sky will turn yellow and people will walk around with shawls and scarves over their mouths so they can breathe. Fun!

And now, a few blogs for your reading pleasure.

Lulu’s Bay in Cairo is a fantastic expat blog. I like to pretend that if I were the trailing spouse, I could have a blog like this, full of good photos, excellent wit, and frequent posts. But who am I kidding? Anyway, Lulu is worth a read. She’s only been here a few months but she knows her way around this place way better than I do. And she’s smart and funny. Hmm. I should add her to my blogroll.

Next, check out Cindy’s blog about the car mafia. I figured the title was hyperbolic til I read the actual post. Whoa.

Finally, check out the very funny and hits-close-to-home blog Stuff White People Like. But only if you appreciate the kind of humor you get from The Onion.

7 March 2008 Posted by | fun, our life in egypt | 3 Comments

Desert trip

On Saturday we went to a place called Wadi Digla. A wadi is a dry canyon (well, except when it rains, and then it’s wet). It was lovely and fun and I’d blog more about it but our internet at home is down again. So, read a little about it from Maya’s mommy.

And when I get some pictures downloaded (from the camera), and then uploaded (to flickr), I’ll share them here.

P.S. I’m thinking of nominating this as the lamest blog post ever. Anyone want to second that?

3 March 2008 Posted by | fun | Comments Off on Desert trip