04 November 2016

Dogs and Such

I was raised in a family with dogs. They have been a part of my life since the day I took my first breath. And over the years I have had new ones, said good-bye to the old ones, and rescued one or two. On the farm we have two - one a small, black, mixed breed (poodle/terrier) who is an avid hunter, digger, and who is now feeling her age at fourteen years. "Goose" has an adversarial view of cats and because of this she wears an 'invisible fence' collar to curtail her movements. The barn cats know exactly how far Goose can go and at times I believe they taunt her for their own amusement.

I call this the "Silent Scream" as Skye gets her haircut.
Goose's partner is "Skye" who we think is five years old or thereabouts, she wears the same invisible fence collar, having learned from Goose that cats cannot be trusted and should be dispatched. Skye came from a wonderful shelter in a nearby town that specializes in hard-to-place canines. She is a mid-size model of 34 pounds and resembles a Schnauzer, English Sheepdog, and one or two other breeds. (a DNA test is definitely in order). When Skye initially joined me I had days where I wondered if I had made the right decision adopting her - she is not the sharpest crayon in the box and I considered the possibility that she might be slightly autistic. I had concerns for her safety but then she surprised me by excelling at agility and has proven to be smarter than she lets on at times. If Skye is slightly slow or has symptoms in the autistic spectrum, I have grown to understand and appreciate her little quirks. She has a refreshing and enthusiastic view of life that one cannot help but to smile at and enjoy.

Under Goose's tutelage Skye has become a first rate digger of gopher holes and she has learned how to roll in dead animals, and poop from deer or cows (if not caught before she can start her roll). The farmer and I believe that each morning for Skye is a new day as in she does not really remember well so everything is new and exciting and certainly worth jumping up and down for.

Just one of many piles of fur.
About eight months ago Skye had a seizure. At first I was not sure what she was having as she appeared to be swimming across the floor and strange noises emanated from her muzzle. The farmer held her so she would not hurt herself and she recovered quickly. After a second seizure, Skye started phenobarbital twice a day; a small pill, tucked into a Pupparoni®™ stick and immediately inhaled. Goose is also given a Pupparoni®™ stick but without the pill. Equality in all treats - the dogs know and remind me. 

With no children in the house any more, our dogs are our entertainment. The farmer decided to give Skye a bit of a haircut this week which revealed that she really is not overweight, just carrying an enormous amount of extra fur. To her credit, Skye did put up with the haircut very well with no whining and minimal attempts to escape. And in the end, Skye did look much better and she can now see out of both eyes without her fur falling into her face.

At the end of the day, Skye likes to have a paw or body part on Goose before she falls asleep. Skye did this with my old Cocker Spaniel, Cooper, before he passed away. It is a security blanket of sorts and Goose is very patient and puts up with it.

Some people are not dog people and that is why we are fortunate to be able to offer both cats and dogs to visitors. The barn cats hang out, in the barn (of course), making their beds in the upper hay loft, inside the snug bales of hay. They are fed twice a day but are good mousers and can be seen in the fields during the day. We have two in the cow barn and two in the horse barn, but they eat communally in the cow barn. There is a hierarchy I am sure, I just have not figured it out.

The above selection is from a wonderful blog written in France (in English) by a fascinating couple with two Polish Low Land Sheep Dogs, Bob and Sophie. I encourage you to visit them when you have a moment. They are dog people and easy to love.