My name is Bonita Snodgrass and I am most often found on the Internet as simply "Bonita of Bwana" ... there is a story behind the nickname, aside from it being my user name for 15+ years . I met my first Rhodesian Ridgeback when I met my now husband, Bob.
Bwana was his boy. A large, golden, adolescent hound with an endearing personality. He was easily the strongest, sweetest dog I have ever met in my life. We have often kidded each other that we may never have become a couple had the dog not adored my children and myself so much from our very first meeting. The big dog was, as I came to discover, an excellent judge of people. He found the idea of having two very young children to play with to be better than any other adventure he had experienced in his young life. And he made sure my husband knew his feelings. Bwana had yet another distinction, he was what the Ridgeback Community calls a RRR ( Ridgeless Rhodesian Ridgeback) Also called slickbacks , smoothbacks and an assortment of other names .In the 80's RRRs were still routinely culled, ( euthanized at, or very close to birth). This was the standard way of dealing with them in Rhodesia ,( Now Zimbabwe). Under zero circumstances did a breeder want the RRRs to survive to adult hood on the chance they would breed and alter the careful genetic engineering that had been done. Oddly enough, making a purebred "mutt" is very hard work!
Bwana was the largest puppy in a small litter. Bob had been invited to view the litter and found the big fellow's antics too precious to over look. He offered to buy the boy and was informed that Bwana would be put down as soon as the mom's milk was stable. The dam had so much milk the owner was concerned that without him to nurse, she would develop milk fever and the breeder would then run the chance of losing not simply her but the rest of the puppies too. He was so precious and full of himself, that this shocked and sickened my husband and he began negotiating for the pup. As the old and very true saying goes, Everything has a price. While the breeder had been adamant, he finally caved, Bob paid the show quality price for the big boy along with the understanding we would never have access to his pedigree, could not register him and we could never tell anyone where he had purchased him. Once that check was cleared it was "Adiós Baby". The day his mother was deemed comfortable, he came home to us. Too young, no vet check, no shots and not a clue about his background. Just blind faith based on a gut instinct. He quickly named himself..his name was one of the few "African" words my husband could remember from the old Tarzan movies. Swahili for "Friend and Boss". He was every bit of that. Unlike most purebred dogs with long and interesting names, he had only the single word. No kennel name, simply our our boy , Bwana. Our Boss and Friend.
He gave us a sense of security that went very deep. His big booming bark was better than any high priced alarm system. He feared nothing and offered endless love and cuddles. We were lucky indeed to be loved by this amazing dog. At 11 years old he went in to our front room where the family spent the majority of our time. He had made his final rounds, carefully checking on each of us. He found a patch of sunlight coming through the large window and settled into it , laying his big body down he quietly passed away, crossing the Rainbow Bridge to await the rest of us. With his tremendous heart and deep , deep old soul he was a force to be reckoned with. His belief in us was a gift that will never be forgotten ... If we can be even a tiny bit as noble, loving and brave as he, then we have done ourselves proud. And if any puppy we bring into the world is even the smallest way like him we have done the breed a service by breeding. Signing my post and contributions to the world as Bonita of Bwana I try to remind myself of how lucky I once was and how much I have to live up to.... Sincerely , Bonita of Bwana
Since my wife has a thing about introductions she insisted I have one as well... if you know my wife you know it is sometimes easier just to agree to things like this....While she is a retired R.N. and an Artist, I am a retired Engineer and will always be the logical half of our partnership. I am the Navigator she is the Naviguessor. It somehow seems to work. I handle the logistics of the kennel and travel and keep the RV running as smoothly as RVs can run. I first met this breed through an ex girlfriend. The story of Bwana has been told many times. He was an excellent boy. I have had many dogs in my life but few will ever stand out the way he did.
I enjoy watching sports, playing a rare round of golf and helping to raise 5 of our 10 grandkids. It has been a running joke that I call my home, "Bob's Bed and Breakfast". I have enjoyed having various family members live with us through out our almost 30 years of marriage. At the moment we have 1 daughter and her 2 young children living with us. With another married daughter and her 3 small kids living very close by. I rarely go in to the ring as I injured my knee playing ball many years ago and it is difficult to move as smoothly with the dogs as they need. But I am a great assistant, holding dogs, getting numbers, keeping an eye on Bonita to make sure she does not over do things. I am also "The Stud Guy", (not for the same reasons as when I was younger), Now I bunk in our Motorhome with Zion when the girls are in the most beguiling part of their seasons. It makes life easier on everyone. Zion can catch his breath and we watch tv together. It helps keep him calm and steady and reduces the possibility of a battle breaking out with the other males. We honestly love this breed and are willing to help in anyway we are able. If you see us at a show please come over and say "Hi" .
Bob of Bwana Kennel
Also visit us on FACEBOOK on our Camp Bwana page for the further Adventures of life with Show Puppies!