Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This weekend we lost Duck-duck the goose to a fox attack. They were in the sheep yard while we were fencing around the new chooks area, so they were out while it was getting dusky. We're guessing the fox came up the neighboring paddock in which the grass is taller than the birds and waited till he was near enough to grab as we didn't hear it - not an easy task with 11kg of mature gander in breeding season.

This brought up the subject I've been avoiding... that of a livestock guardian dog. We'd been thinking of one for a year and a bit as other means don't suit. Electric netting would only protect birds, risk shocking children and be difficult over such a spread out area. Alpacas would protect lambs but not birds, couldn't come into the mid-yard and the one we boarded charged our dogs as readily as foxes. Donkeys were much the same as well as being loud and potentially deadly to the dogs.

Awhile ago one of my fellow animal nuts tells me about a Maremma coming to rescue from a bad situation I should consider. It'd been the typical story - bought as a fluffy pup and the owners quickly discovered that Maremma are large dogs with strong guardian instincts and big voices. I declined. I just couldn't. Hearing about her happy ending reminded me sometimes things goes right despite all the odds though. I met her to thank her for the reminder and the dog was a sweetheart - utterly lovely, gentle, very child oriented and totally unflapped by anything while out and about and still looking for a home.

I had subtle and 'not-so-subtle' nudges from her rescuer, foster home and Nic. I wrestled with the idea and hurt every time I got an e-mail, text, phone-call or Nic asked me about it. I was told everything I already know- that no dog will ever replace Veri, it's not intended to, it's okay to move on, we HAD needed one before loosing her and that need hadn't changed, if it was anything but a dog I'd have already gotten it without a second thought - which did nothing to change how things felt. I told myself how much I'd liked her, if it had happened before I wouldn't have hesitated. I wished I could just pull myself together. And I still felt miserable.

Enter Duck-ducks loss. Nic again said he thought I needed to consider the LGD. I said I understood but I'm crying constantly at the thought. Her loss is so different than when I've lost dogs before. He took the hard point and asked how many birds am I prepared to loose? How will I feel if I loose five or ten or twenty? Will dealing with their loss on top of Veri's outweigh confronting my loss of Verity?

I did call the rescue person who had also nudged me about the girl I'd been notified about. She's been adopted literally hours before. But there's another one she knows of who needs a home. Same story - her daughter brought home the puppy, now it's tied up all day and muzzled to attempt to prevent her from acting like a Maremma, neighbors have complained to the council, her poor owner is tapped dealing with her son who has disabilities that require a lot of her time, trying a husher (e-collar). She says she thinks that maybe it was meant to be. Maybe the first girl I'd met was just a messenger of sorts - she had a role to play but not my dog, maybe just to lead me to where I need to be.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two months

It's up and down, up and down.

Just before the anniversary we went to the ASCV show. I've been able to cuddle the pups, I'd cuddled Cami's little brother the week before... sweet little red tri boy who just melted in my arms. I spent a good amount of time cuddling three of Sue B's gorgeous little ones who were just on 8 weeks old as well. I had a good sook and shower after we got home but not as bad as I'd thought I might be.

This week was harder. I've been missing her horribly all week, I think part of the reason I've been resisting everyone's suggestion to look at another is that really I just want MY girl back more than anything. We went up through Black Spur and St Ronan's well on our way to Euroa... we always go the same way and I loved the trip and particularly had several favorite spots along the route. One of them is a beautiful little natural spring wishing well in the middle of the forest called St Ronan's well you can stop and get a sip of water from or toss a coin into. Verity's song came on as well which had me undone for the rest of the trip. Up through Narbethong and surrounds we went through right where the fires had ripped through. Everywhere you could see the charred remains of trees that had made up the forest on the mountains, like so many spent matches jutting from the raw rock. Unlike the first time I drove there some months ago though this time you could see regrowth all around. The trees have a funny epicormic way of doing it though. They don't just pick up where they left off. They have little tufts of renewal splotched everywhere in a mantle from base to tip, haphazard and from odd angles, damaged and inelegant, as if the tree doesn't know where to start or doesn't remember how to grow normally. Through it all the mess of the charred bark is visible underneath. The whole way up I was looking at the trees and the mountains thinking I felt rather like that.

While I was there though I got to meet and say a private thank you to a fluffy girl whose rescue reminded me that not everything goes wrong all the time though. Sometimes things go right against the odds too.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Laurent wanted to do some clicker training

He's not too bad for a 4 year old whose only had to coordinate the clicker and the treat a few times either!