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… 🙂

Five Things I Love About Being Home At My Farm

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“To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring — these are some of the rewards of the simple life.”
~ John Burroughs

 

I have loved travelling, but there is something magical about coming home again.

These are five random things I love about being home here at my farm.

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1. I can go out into the garden on a cold and drizzling night, wearing my gumboots and pyjamas and clutching a torch, and come back in with enough foraged weeds, greens and leaves to make a tasty salad for dinner to go with our soup.

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2. No matter how busy my day becomes, there is always time for games and for sitting on the soft green grass, looking out at the trees and watching the koalas.

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3. The air here smells of sunshine and trees, or moon and stars and damp earth. The sky at dawn or dusk is filled with birdsong and a vibrancy that is hard to put into words.

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4. The beach is just down the road, and we can enjoy an early-morning walk, followed by breakfast at one of our favourite cafes. Byron Bay has some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet!

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5. All my favourite crystals are here at home. No matter what my mood I have a crystal to suit. There are crystals on every windowsill, and perched all around. There are crystals in the garden and beside my bed. Lovely, lovely stones. ❤

What Love Looks Like

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“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.”

(Sonnet 116)
~ William Shakespeare, Shakespeare’s Sonnets

 

There’s my husband, Ben, collapsed on the downstairs couch of our city house. Ben had knee surgery yesterday. A surgery he has postponed and postponed because of me. You see, after the surgery he cannot lift anything heavy or pivot on his knee for six weeks.

That’s kind of tricky when you have a wife whose retreats and workshops involve hauling ute-loads of massage tables and boxes of rocks and singing bowls and other heavy things. Ben wanted to be sure that all of my events for the year were finished before he had the operation. Because who else was going to lift and carry all of those boxes?

We’d been told it would be a simple day-surgery procedure. Then, of course, it wasn’t. The operation went well, but was much longer and more complex than they’d expected.

Still, when it was all over and Ben was finally taken to recovery, hours after I’d expected him home, he declined to stay overnight. He just wanted to come home.

I made him up a bed on the couch, because he needs to stay quiet and immobile for the next three days. No driving for a week.

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Nurse Bert and Harry haven’t left his side. There wasn’t enough room for both dogs to lie on the couch all night with Ben, so Harry snuggled in and Bert lay opposite, and there they have stayed. With the occasional swap between them so everyone gets a turn on the couch. And the occasional crazy all-on-the-couch-together moment. They love their Dad!

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That’s what love looks like. Tired dad on the couch, with a dog protector beside him, and one opposite. A tired wife who leaves her comfortable bed and sneaks downstairs to sleep on the other couch because she is lonely and she loves them all and doesn’t want her man out of her sight.

Ben’s sore and groggy this morning, but glad he came home. So am I. Now it’s my turn to look after him.

We’re going to have a quiet few rest days here before we head back to the farm. We both need it. It’s been a big year, and I worked out last night that I haven’t had a proper day off since before my birthday, back in September. After all of that Sustainable Madness we need a little down time now.

For those of you who are doing the Year of ME 2016 year-long course and support forum, I’ll see you online on Sunday, after we launch. There’s still time to join us – more info here.

Much love, Nicole ❤ xx

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Pretzels and Early Morning Strolls

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“I can’t think of anything that brings me closer to tears than when my old dog—completely exhausted after a hard day in the field—limps away from her nice spot in front of the fire and comes over to where I’m sitting and puts her head in my lap, a paw over my knee, and closes her eyes, and goes back to sleep. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve that kind of friend.”Gene Hill

 

I needed a good stretch and a long walk this morning.

It’s because of my bed. Because of the way I’ve been sleeping.

After a week away on retreat I was so looking forward to coming home and sleeping in my own bed. And for the past few nights that is where I’ve rested. But I’ve been waking up stiff and sore.

Usually my bed is like sleeping in a cloud. Comfy mattress, just the right amount of pillows, a little lavender oil on the sheets, and a view out my nighttime windows to the moon-bathed trees.

I have a problem since I came home.

Dogs.

Dogs that sneak up onto the bed in dead of night. Large Cafe-Dog-and-Nurse-Bert-shaped dogs, who drape themselves along me, pressing their whole body weight to me. Dogs who use their substantial body weight to lie on top of me, where I am snuggled up to my sleeping husband, and then use that body weight to slowly wedge themselves between us and open a space on the middle of the bed. After which they extend themselves, claiming all of the space, and most of the blankets.

So we sleep like human pretzels, contorted into strange positions.

The dogs wake before me and then stare at me, waiting for my eyelids to crack open so that they can slather me in affection and help me greet the day.

I guess they missed me!

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Still, I missed them too, so all is forgiven. And an early morning walk fixes everything.

Sending much love and good clean country air your way,

Nicole xoxo

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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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Was He Born This Way?

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“Right or wrong, it’s very pleasant to break something from time to time.” ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This is a picture of Harry, known to some as Cafe Dog. It is, in fact, our very first picture of Harry, taken two years ago. Pretty cute, huh?

In retrospect, there is a worrying glint of mischief in that small dog’s eye.

Just now we are spending an awful lot of time in the city. Our family are very ill. They need us, and we want to be there for them. But the doggies are revolting! There’s no farm to run around on, no freedom, no fun. Instead they have endless days of being cooped up in town.

Yesterday Harry decided he’d had enough.

First he ate a book. Paper all over the house. Think confetti.

Then he ate a pillow. Stuffing all over the house. Think snow.

This morning it got personal. 2015-06-06 06.08.28That’s my new slipper. Manked up, chewed and ripped.2015-06-06 06.08.51 Harry tried to hide the evidence, squeezing in between the lounges into his favourite cubby hole with the slipper. 2015-06-05 17.42.20 Which he promptly hid with his body. 2015-06-05 17.42.32 Then, seeing I hadn’t yelled yet, thought I hadn’t noticed, and acted all innocent and ready to go to the cafe… 2015-06-05 17.42.34 Naughty? Cute? Totally lovable?

Yep, I reckon he was born this way.

I had intended a post about something else this morning, but now I’m taking Cafe Dog for a big long walk and a coffee date. Have a beautiful day, and we’ll see you tomorrow, Lots of love, Nicole and Harry ❤ xoxo