Barking at walls
Barking at walls
Scott Dunlop

Hello everyone,

Some breeds of dogs are said to be very loyal to their families. Mine is definitely loyal, but he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. His super-senses of hearing and smell often find him chasing shadows and imaginary terrors. But boy, does he chase them. Do we do that too, parents?

I’d do almost anything to protect my children. National Geographic agrees on what we’ll call the she-wolf instinct: watch any nature show about an animal family and you’re going to hear a line like this:

“Watch as the mother hippo/mouse/swan/lion protects her brood- she’s prepared to fight to the death to keep her young safe…”

Now, I reckon that that dads can be she-wolves, too, if you get what I’m saying. We form a protective barrier around our kids, shielding them from threats, even if some of those are as imagined as the ones “seen” by our dachshund.

It’s Child Protection Week this week in South Africa. Yes, children should be protected EVERY week, and no, I am not convinced that awareness campaigns produce much fruit, but the principle still stands: if you suspect (or you’re actually aware) of a vulnerable child at risk of/experiencing abuse or neglect, you can call for help. Print these numbers out, just in case:

The Department of Social Development has a pilot a 24-hour call centre dedicated to provide support and counselling to victims of gender based violence:

The toll free number to call is 0800 428 428 (0800 GBV GBV) to speak to a social worker for assistance and counselling.

Callers can also request a social worker from the Command Centre to contact them by dialling *120*7867# (free) from any cell phone.

You can also get help at:
• Childline South Africa: 0800 055 555
• Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 4 CHILD (24453) / 011 452-4110 / e-mail:


We can be over-protective occasionally, but we do try to keep an eye open at all times. Our children rely on us for that, and it’s terrifying how many threats they face, even if those threats appear benign.

I’d suggest that we not display our fears on our sleeves – our children can feel secure and protected without us discussing criminal behaviour or other threats.

The she-wolf doesn’t have sleeves. She doesn’t need them – she has teeth. And she can run!

Have a howlingly good week!

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