A Tale Of Two Dogs…

“After years of having a dog, you know him. You know the meaning of his snuffs and grunts and barks. Every twitch of the ears is a question or statement, every wag of the tail is an exclamation.” 
~  Robert McCammon

 

Once upon a time there was a naughty young pup called Harry. He chewed everything. He was constantly underfoot. He’d bark in your ear and jump on your head to wake you up, just because it was morning and he didn’t want to waste a moment of another Very Good Day.

But then Harry grew up. Now he’s a calm and considerate dog, with great cattle handling skills and excellent manners, especially at the beach or when dining out at cafes.

Enter the new young brother. Rufous. Undeniably cute, but a total ratbag.

A hole-digging, slipper-destroying, house-chewing food devotee.

He’s chewed through an entire chair, eaten a hole in the side of my bed, destroyed three pairs of slippers – all mine, and has now taken to biting the heads off my daisies and flinging them around like snow, just as they are all coming into flower.

And did I mention how much he loves digging massive holes in the new lawn, or taking one shoe for a walk out into the middle of a paddock and then leaving it there?

Here he is, hiding, after eating the meat I’d put out on the bench for Ben to barbeque for our dinner. We ate eggs on toast instead!

Look at those eyes. It’s impossible to stay mad at him! I’m sure that Rufous will grow into a good boy one day too, and probably too soon. For all his naughtiness we adore him, and gee he makes us laugh.

Most of all, I love watching Rufous and Harry play. These two brothers are having the best adventures here at the farm.

Life is good, and filled with love.

I’m sending some of that love your way today. Hugs a million, Nicole <3 xoxo

For The Love Of A Small Dog…

“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
~ Charles M. Schulz

 

This small red bundle of energy who we now know as Rufous Dog only came into our lives on Monday, but what a difference his presence has already made.

Harry hasn’t stopped smiling. He now has a playmate, a buddy, a brother. They play together for hours each morning and afternoon, wrestling and playing chasey.

My husband Ben’s happy too. Rufous is a lovely boy, he’s easy to train, and Harry (who in the way of cattle dogs bonding to one person is truly Ben’s dog) is also finally happy again after weeks of awful fretting and grieving for the loss of our precious Bert.

Rufous has even come on a Cafe outing and managed to behave reasonably well. Here they are at a cafe yesterday morning. Harry is staring at Ben. Rufous at me.

I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed, truth be told. This small dog has made me his important person. This has never happened before. All of our dogs have been Ben’s dogs. All Daddy’s boys, although I know they loved me too. But Rufous has decided he is mine.

When we go somewhere as a family Rufous checks to see if I am coming. If I’m slow he comes back and waits for me. If I don’t go he doesn’t either. He parks himself at my feet and stares up at me with these big soft eyes. Everywhere I go, apart from morning and afternoon dog playtime, Rufous is right behind me.

He even sleeps between my office chair and the wall or under my desk while I am working, one paw always touching me if he can.

It’s a love explosion in our house right now. Which kind of makes up for the newly chewed shoes… 🙂

Meet Rufous – Brother to Harry Dog!

“ Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” ~  Marc Brown

A little over a week ago I mentioned in a blog post that we had just begun to think about getting a new baby brother or sister for Harry Dog, who has been mourning the loss of Bert.

Only a few hours later my friend Monique posted some pictures to my Facebook page of a young red cattle dog pup who had just been rescued that very day and who was in need of a forever home. It wasn’t the kind of thing that Monique would normally do, but she felt compelled to share.

I took one look at that puppy’s face and knew we had to try to bring him home. I immediately contacted Janine who was fostering the pup and who had posted the pictures, and then Sharon who runs Australian Cattle Dog Rescue. Many messages and phone calls later and it all looked like this dog could be ours. Just as soon as he had been vet checked and desexed.

On Monday we finally brought him home. I’m still not well, currently treating the tummy bug we picked up from our last overseas trip and now dealing with a resurgence of the nasty antibiotic-resistant superbug urinary tract infection I’d hoped that I’d actually beaten. I was too unwell to travel, so our friend Carly went with Harry and Ben on a nearly five-hour drive (and then back again in the same day!) to meet this rescue pup and see if he could be a good fit for our family. Of course he was! So now we have Rufous at home with us, and he is just a delight.

He loves cuddles and being close to everyone, and he’s simply the best of mates with Harry. They run around like mad things and then collapse in a heap together and nap.

Rufous even went on his very first cafe outing yesterday morning and was very well-behaved and happy!

It’s wonderful to have a puppy at home, and even better is the smile on Harry’s face. He hasn’t stopped smiling since we found him a new brother. <3

He Can’t Take His Eyes Off Me!

“When the Man waked up he said, ‘What is Wild Dog doing here?’ And the Woman said, ‘His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.’”
~ Rudyard Kipling; The Jungle Book

 

Finally we are home.

Harry Dog was overjoyed to see us when we arrived back at the farm, and has not let us out of his sight ever since.

When I took a walk in the garden yesterday afternoon, to check on how things have fared since we’ve been gone, Harry followed me everywhere.

He kept staring at me with this look in his eyes.

Don’t leave me again, Mum.

He has gone backwards and forwards between Ben and I since the moment we first walked through the door, nudging us with his nose and licking us madly. When he sits beside us he sits right on top of us, pressing his body against any part of us he can reach.

This morning Harry was right on my feet as I meditated, but now he’s at the door, looking back at me.

Come on, Mum. Come on, Dad. Cafe time!

I’m sure you understand. I can’t write more. It’s been weeks since Harry had a walk on the beach and breakfast at his favourite cafe. We can’t keep him waiting.

Cafe Dog must have his outing! I’m still on a limited diet, but that’s not important. Family time and our old routines, that’s what matters today.

And soon, we think, it will be time to find a new puppy brother or sister for Harry. Even though he was well taken care of I don’t ever want Harry to be alone and without family again.

See you tomorrow!

Biggest love and hugs from Nicole and her happy dog, Harry! <3 xoxo

 

Bert’s Latest Operation!

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“Doctors?” said Ron, looking startled. “Those Muggle nutters that cut people up?”
~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

“I saved a man’s life once,” said Granny. “Special medicine, twice a day. Boiled water with a bit of berry juice in it. Told him I’d bought it from the dwarves. That’s the biggest part of doct’rin, really. Most people’ll get over most things if they put their minds to it, you just have to give them an interest.”
~ Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites

 

Nurse Bert is having a big operation today.

Our free dog, come to us through fate and a cardboard box prison, has already cost us thousands. But what price love?

As a young dog he had first one and then the other back leg’s knee reconstructed because of severe patella luxation. A genetic deformity. Our vet always joked that Bert was the luckiest dog alive to have landed in our household and under our care.

After years of Bert’s tender nursing of me as I have battled Lyme disease, I’m not so sure who is the more fortunate.

Of course there have been many more hospitalisations and close calls. A few years ago Bert took a bait thrown over the fence by robbers at our city house and almost died from internal hemorrhaging. Last year he ate a vast quantity of macadamia nuts and nearly croaked it. And then ate rat bait at a friend’s farm, and endured yet another touch-and-go experience.

Earlier this year he ended up in surgery again after developing a huge abscess thanks to an errant grass seed.

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And today? Today he’s having surgery to repair a snapped cruciate ligament. A situation complicated by his previous knee surgeries, and requiring a specialist vet surgeon. Surgery not covered by insurance, and one which will cost roughly the same amount as the holiday we would have had later this year.

But none of that matters. Bert is in pain, and as an athletic dog who needs to keep up with his younger brother Harry down on the farm, the surgery is needed. Neither of the other options were options at all. (Let him limp and suffer and try to keep him quiet while giving him vast quantities of anti-inflammatories. The pain would worsen and nothing to be done. Or euthanasia. Honestly!)

Keep our boy in your thoughts today. Send him a little love and healing if you get the chance. He’s been the bestest friend and companion I could ever hope for, and all I want is for his op to go smoothly, and for his outcome to be good.

I already have my essential oil kit and crystal grid ready for him when he comes home, to keep him calm and hasten his healing. And I promise to keep you posted about his progress!

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Terrible Horrible Good

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“You can avoid having ulcers by adapting to the situation: If you fall in the mud puddle, check your pockets for fish.”  ~ Author Unknown

 

Suddenly it’s cold again here at the farm.

Yesterday we dressed Harry in a dog coat. Last year he was so cold in winter, but there was no coat to be had. So we’re ready for the cold this winter. This new coat’s great! It’s soft on the inside, and has a waterproof covering on the outside. Perfect for keeping doggies warm, no matter what the weather. It fits snugly with a strap under his tummy and one across his chest.

And he hates it.

As soon as we put it on Harry decided that it was impossible for him to walk anymore, or to move at all. All he could do was squeak.

Eventually he managed to gingerly climb up onto the lounge, where he collapsed in a pile of misery.

He’ll adapt.

Bert was exactly the same when we first put a coat on him. “I hate it! I can’t walk! I’m a prisoner in a straight jacket!”

But now, Bert loves his coat. Perfect for snuggling in when the weather is chilly. When we put Bert’s coat on yesterday he grinned happily and then leapt up onto the bed to Harry’s usual spot (poor Harry being coated and unable to walk at all, let alone leap onto a bed…) for a cosy nap.

We can all learn to adapt to change. Sometimes the things we resist turn out to be not so bad after all.

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It’s The Little Things…

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“After all,” Anne had said to Marilla once, “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea

 

Yesterday was my first full day at home on the farm. We went for an early morning beach adventure, and enjoyed a good coffee, and then came home to attack the overgrown vegetable garden, mow the lawn (so much mowing!) and do what seemed like a thousand loads of laundry.

In the afternoon we loaded Harry and Bert onto the back of the ute and drove down to the river paddocks to check the feed (in farmer speak that means length and quantity of grass) and see if we could spot any of the new baby calves.

Bert (our red dog) is feeling much better. You can still see the lump under his jaw, but it has shrunk right down and hopefully it will disappear altogether without the need for surgery. Fingers crossed!

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One of our Droughtmaster mums immediately brought her young calf over for us to take a look. In the background you can just see a Murray Grey mum (the white cow) racing up the hill towards us too. We wondered what her hurry was…

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In the next picture you can see a second little grey calf. She’d been hiding in the grass having a sleep and we almost walked on top of her.The white cow is her very protective mum.

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While the mums hovered over their babies, Daisy Mae popped over to say hello and to check if we had any hay or other cow-type tasty treats. Isn’t she looking big and beautiful? She has all the curiosity of a young teenager, and she still likes to play with Harry and Bert out in the paddock. We caught the three of them chasing magpies yesterday morning. Crazy things!

All of these new calves were fathered by Red Bull, who has been doing a terrific job. It’s hard to believe he’s a dad already. It seems like only yesterday that he was just a little calf himself.

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We finished the day by taking the dogs for a quick dip in the river. We didn’t see any platypus but there were tiny blue dragonflies everywhere, lending the afternoon a very magical feel.

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