The Boerboel (which translates as Farmer’s Dog) is a large, Molosser-type breed from South Africa bred as working farm dogs and for the purpose of guarding the homestead. (Wikipedia). These dogs are well-known for being fiercely protective of their home and their families, and trespassers give them a wide berth.
Bazil was acquired with just this purpose in mind, but he was so much more than just a guard-dog; he was a member of the family and a loving, tender companion to Oliver, our old cat, and our other pets.
When we adopted Ponsie, we were a little bit worried about introducing her to our 60kg Boerboel, but Bazil immediately welcomed the little kitten into the family and appointed himself as her personal protector and bodyguard. He followed her everywhere, patiently waiting under the trees which she insisted upon climbing.
Not long after the above photo was taken, Bazil and a few other dogs on the street block were poisoned with Aldicarb (colloquially called Two Step) for which there was no known antidote at the time. The perpetrators were planning a burglary at the house across the road from us, but their plans were foiled when we heard the dogs barking. Bazil was the only dog who survived the poisoning, but the aftereffects thereof were severely detrimental to his health. However, this did not deter him from his guard duty and as long as he stayed with us, we slept peacefully at night.
Shortly after this episode, we adopted Tina, an Alsatian (German Shepherd) of uncertain breed, and the two dogs became Best Friends Forever.
The photo below is of Bazil and Oliver sunning themselves on the lawn.
When Bazil was a mere seven years old, his health has already deteriorated to such an extent that the vet advised euthanization. We were heartbroken, but we knew he was in pain and his joints were stiff (an aftereffect of the Aldicarb) and he was able to move with great difficulty only.
All this happened a long time ago, but we still remember his gentle and loving ways.