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… 🙂

Nurse Bert Reports

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“To make a difference in someone’s life, you don’t have to be brilliant, rich, beautiful or perfect. You just have to care.”   ~ Mandy Hale



I’m not letting her out of my sight.

Nicole, that is.

Because she’s still really sick.

I’m making her rest. I’m following her if she needs to get out of bed. I want her to know that my job is to look after her. And I take my job very seriously.

Human peoples, Nicole is resting. Rest can make you better. So can love. So I am making sure she has both.

Maybe you need some rest and some love too. I think it is very good medicine.

That’s all for now.

Love from Nurse Bert



Keeping Bert Quiet…

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“The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.”
~ Mother Teresa


Nurse Bert is healing well from his cruciate ligament surgery. Next week he’ll have an x-ray to see if the bone has healed. If it looks good, the vet says Bert will finally be allowed to run free. He’ll be able to climb stairs, to race through the paddocks with his brother Harry, and to jump on and off all of the furniture to his heart’s content.

But now, of course, our dear boy must remain confined to a small room. No mad racing around. No walks, unless he is on the lead and strictly supervised for short outings only. NO overdoing it.

I know this one well, having lived with lyme disease and various other maladies for so long. You get a whiff of energy and you instantly want to do all the things. That’s a recipe for pushing too far, overdoing it, or even causing damage.

So as much as Bert hates being confined we are playing the caution card, and keeping him quiet. We’ve even taken to bringing him with us for trips in the car just so that he gets a change of scenery. He loves that!

I can tell Bert’s feeling better because he is itching to escape. He has the spark back in his eyes, and he’s eager to regain his freedom. I feel a little mean to keep him quiet, but it’s the only thing to do until we are sure that the bones are strong and that everything is where it should be after such major surgery.

So for now it’s short walks into the yard and back, and lots and lots of cuddles.

We’re all looking forward to him being back to his nimble self.

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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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Nurse Bert Reports…

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“Hoping to get a head start on the next day, I eat breakfast the night before. That way I can sleep in until two in the afternoon.”
~ Jarod Kintz


Hello, Peoples!

It’s cold here at the farm this morning. Brrrrrrrrr!

Too frosty for paws just yet. There’s ice in my water bowl, and every breath is a fogged cloud.

We might stay abed a little longer. It’s warm in here and oh-so-snug. Perfect for a sleep-in.

It was a big day yesterday; clearing windblown timber, chainsawing wood for the fire and stacking the wood shed, and feeding out mixes of copra and minerals and molasses to all of the cows and their babies.

Also, my brother Harry and I needed baths because molasses sticks to dogs like nobody’s business. And dirt and grass and general filth sticks to the molasses.

I’m still so tired, and it’s early. The sun isn’t even properly up.

There’ll be time enough later for romps through the paddocks, and games with the new calves.

Turn the light off. Keep the curtains drawn. Let’s close our eyes and go back to sleep!

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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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The Bucket Of Shame

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“What strange creatures brothers are!”
― Jane Austen

Bert has a significant wound under his jaw right now after surgery to remove a grass seed that had caused a huge abscess and infection. There are about twenty-five stitches, but in a place he can’t reach.

The vets thought he’d be fine and didn’t place a dressing or any kind of cover on the wound.

He did try to scratch them when he first came home, but it hurt so Bert left them alone.

We hadn’t factored Harry into the equation…

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Bert volunteered his poor sore neck to his brother, who covertly began nibbling the stitches. Harry has a LOT of experience with this kind of work. Eating beds, destroying remote controls, nibbling the teeth off every available zipper – Harry grew up on this kind of delicate covert work. It was a cinch and he managed to get quite a lot done right under our noses.

In fact, we’ve always had to use a bucket on Harry’s head, because he will undo any stitches anywhere!

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It was the blood everywhere that finally gave them away.

Harry had managed to get about a third of Bert’s stitches out, leaving a nice big mess.

All cleaned up and repaired now, but we have reverted to the Bucket of Shame to protect Bert’s wound until it heals.

Brothers – they’re double trouble, but we love them dearly!

A Morning Cup of Tea With Friends

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“Think thoughts that make you happy. Do things that make you feel good. Be with people who make you feel good, and who cheer you on. Eat things that make your body feel good. Go at a pace that makes you feel good. Embrace Life… live!”
~ Angie Karan



Just sit quietly for a bit.

Cradle that nice warm mug of tea in your hands, and wait.

They’ll be here soon, my morning friends.



Told you.

Aren’t they beautiful?

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Six little fishies, all swimming merrily and waiting to be fed.

Don’t sprinkle the fish food too close to the edge of their pond. Bert is waiting to lap it all up, and that dog has already had his breakfast. It isn’t fair if he eats all the fish food too!

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It’s always good to have company for your early morning cuppa. 🙂

I love watching the fish darting amid the water lillies. And the birdsong is particularly beautiful today.

Oh Bert, don’t look at me like that – like you’re a poor starving dog and I am the meanest mother in the world.

Go on, just one little drink. The fishies have almost finished. I’m sure they won’t mind.

2014-03-18 18.38.24Now I’ve drunk my tea we’ll go inside and have a lie down. Doesn’t that sound good!

Oh Nurse Bert, those eyes.

That pouty lip.

Well, alright, maybe just one biscuit, seeing as that fish food didn’t quite fill you up…

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A Little Bert Update

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“Good medicine always tastes bad.”
~ Ron Hall, Same Kind of Different as Me


Thank you everyone, for your love and well wishes for dear Bert.

The painful lump under his neck is in fact a very large and infected abscess. For now it has been partially drained and he has drugs. In a few weeks, if it has not resolved itself, there will be surgery. We think there may be a small foreign body, like a grass seed or a little bit of stick, from when he has been charging through the paddocks and shrubbery like a mad thing.

Bert loves cheese, and he was so hopeful that the magical cheese I made for him when we came home from the vet would be delicious.

Nope. It wasn’t.

But it is magical, being full of antibiotics…

Poor Bert! I’m making sure to give him lots of extra cuddles to help banish the misery…

Look at that little face. You can SEE the misery. 🙁
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Harry Dog Update

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“Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon.”  ~ Dag Hammarskjold


Young Harry is feeling a little brighter each day, and if we get the all-clear from the vet today we will take him home to the farm tonight!

He’s still quite tender and sore, and needs his rest.

How do you keep a crazy cattle dog quiet?

That’s no problem…

Nurse Bert saw Harry not resting and hustled him back to bed.

Good Nurse Bert gets a biscuit!

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