Cassandra and her Puppy

April 27, 2009

This photo of Cassandra and Tawzalt is from last July 4th. Cassandra loves Tawzalt.

Cassandra with puppy Tawzalt

Backyard Shenanigans

April 19, 2009

Azelouan’s new game is jumping the pile of wood that I have left over after building a new fence. The wood pile is over 8 feet long and 2 feet high. He easily clears it every time.

On the way out.

The return journey.


March 21, 2009

This morning I felt inspired to do some sketches of Azawakh. I started with standing poses and then did this running version. I think the least satisfactory parts are the shape of the scapula and the head.
Azawakh Running Sketch, extension phase

Azawakh Running Sketch, extension phase

It’s nap time

March 8, 2009

Theodora and Tawzalt

Cassandra and Tawzalt

Unfortunately, this lasted about 10 minutes. I should never have let the girls eat chocolate cake at the coffee shop.

We had a pretty big snow storm last night, about 6 or 7 inches or hock-deep on an azawakh. The dogs are a little ambivalent about the stuff. They have fun with it until they start to get really cold. For Tawzalt, this is her first experience with proper fluffy snow that hasn’t been adulterated by a nasty skin of ice caused by freezing rain.

They were very helpful at un-shoveling the snow as I cleared it.

Tawzalt is starting to feel the cold after some crazed digging

Tawzalt is starting to feel the cold after some crazed digging

What is this crazy stuff?

What is this crazy stuff?

Azelouan going after that snow.

Snow Digger

Azeloan with his snow ball

Azeloan with his snow ball

Un-shovelling completed and havoc wreaked -- its quittin time.

Havoc wreaked, it's quittin' time.

West African Working Bush Dog

February 26, 2009

These are photographs of photographs I took in 1997 in The Gambia. The dog is one of three that serve as guardians for a beautiful herd of Fulani cattle. The structural conformation is very much like an Azawakh but many of the “bush dogs” in that area tend to be quite rustic and unrefined. Specimens with one or both ears erect were not uncommon, tails tendto be thick-ish and the hair was usually somewhat longer than is typical of Azawakh. The temperament is the same as typical of Azawakh. I believe these dogs and Azawakh are very closely related.

It was common practice for male working dogs to have cropped ears. I’m not sure if the primary purpose was to proactively prevent torn ears or to identify the dog as owned by someone (and therefore not to be killed).

West African bush dog protecting his cows

West African bush dog protecting his cows

After thieves, the biggest risk to cattle might have been hyenas. The bush dogs that guard herds were expected to keep hyenas at bay.

West African Hyenas, the enemy of the bush dog

West African Hyenas, the enemy of the bush dog

The Warm Spot

February 5, 2009

Today it is 15 F outside and a wicked wind is blowing. Azelouan found himself a nice warm spot in the sun to warm his bones.

Azelouan in his warm, sunny spot

Azelouan in his warm, sunny spot

Today we have sunshine

February 2, 2009

It seems like forever since we have had anything but grey skies and below-normal temperatures. The dogs definitely noticed the improvement. Tawzalt came into my office to bask herself.

Tawzalt basking in the warm sunlight

Enjoying the sun, but still sassy.

Enjoying the sun, but still still watchful.

Azawakh in Djerma

January 29, 2009

The word “Azawakh” comes from the Djerma language, but it has nothing to do with dogs.

In Djerma azawa means north. Azawagh or azawad means land of to the north. The word the Djerma use for what we call the Azawakh dog is hansi or hanso (I’ve also seen it spelled hanshee and hanshii).

The really fascinating thing is that there are three gender forms. One for dog and two for bitch. The Djerma have a different conjugation of the word dog for a bitch who has given birth and one who has not.

  • hansi daŋ: dog (male)
  • hansi way: bitch [has not given birth]
  • hansi nya: bitch [has given birth]

A little bit of digging revealed that this is a feature of the Djerma language. For all livestock there are three gender forms: one for male, one for female-that-has-not-produced-offspring and one for female-that-has-produced-offspring.


  • goroŋgari (rooster)
  • goroŋo way (hen)
  • goroŋo nya (hen)


  • yo mali (camel bull)
  • yo way (camel cow)
  • yo nya (camel cow)

This must be a culture with a deep tradition of animal breeding.



January 21, 2009

Cassandra in jams snuggles Tawzalt

Cassandra in jams snuggles Tawzalt

My wife insisted that Tawzalt needed an inaugural bath. If I say that Tawzalt detests being bathed it is not true only because detest is not a sufficiently negative verb. She does quite enjoy being snuggled and comforted by my daughters afteward, though.