Tag: life

I come from the Land Down Under – Husky Style

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Running with my Wolluf Blondie

She is real big like a hippy Kombi

We took Reenah, but she is nervous

She’s jumps at any din but then goes fast

 

You see, we come from the land down under

With a bush full of native wonder

Some are near some a wander

You better run, better to discover

 

Running when we heard the Rustles

A kangaroo 6 foot four and full of muscles

Spring legs gave him the advantage

He disappeared like me with a vegemite sandwich

 

And I said we come from the land down under

Where the natives we plunder

Some are near some a wander

You better run, better to discover

 

Came across koalas along the way

Cranky buggers bite and they won’t play

I said my dino girls come follow me

Other animals next to chase a platy

 

And they say “A platy oh the wonder”

If it dives we will go under

That platypus will hear our thunder

But he dove too deep and he took cover

 

But we are living in the land down under

And there is plenty left to plunder

We see a bandicoot try to dig under

We all run but he’s taken cover

 

Living in the land down under

With my woman we will plunder

Nothing will stop us or take us under

We don’t run we don’t take cover

 

We are living in the land down under

With my woman we will plunder

What can I hear “shit it’s thunder”

Ok it’s time run and to take cover.

Max Woof

 

Where have I been?!?!?!

Well haven’t I been slack of late. Not really but life has taken me on a few twists and turns and my blog has been neglected.

The time of year has come where the fish take over. Fish?!?! Yep I breed fish for a living and in  Australia we are heading into our warmer months, so the fish are starting to stir. So the next few months for me can be a hit a miss with the writing. That doesn’t mean I don’t write I’m just not a prolific as during the colder months.

I post lots of video’s of the fish breeding over the season and lots of summer in the forest videos on my Facebook page. So anyone wanting to keep up on what’s going on, please feel free to send me a friend request @ Mel Murray – the one with lots of fish and hound pictures.

Now to my very sad news – at the beginning of the month I lost my very precious goat Miss Pippin Von Pip Pip – My Wolfhounds best friend in the world and my little shadow. The loss has hit my hound hard so I have been spending lots of time with her trying to life her spirits.

Pip was also the co-star of my book series  The Adventures of Keva and Pip so I have had a lot of thinking and soul searching to do to work out what will happen with the book series.

So I haven’t just given up on the writing thing – Life has just been a bitch and I just trying to keep going.

So on that note it’s back out to fish for the day.

Moke aka Princess Pea, Raider of the pantry, Dribbler Supreme

MOKE aka Princess Pea, Raider of the Pantry,

Dibbler Supreme.

Sometimes the things we long for in life don’t turn out to be as great as we imagined

The toy you had to have as a child that you never played with. The dream job that turned into a daily nightmare. That food craving that left you hungry and the love that felt so right but ended up breaking your heart. That urgent longing for something – then to be disappointed by the results or just the realisation that it is wasn’t what you really needed after all.

Then sometimes – and let’s face it not often – life gives you that thing you’ve dreamed of, wished for, even felt you were destined to have and it blows your fucking mind. That was my Moke.

The dream I’d been wanting to come true for 17 years was better than anything my imagination is possible of creating. From her tail to her snout, from her wild and woolly hair to that smell of her IW forehead and of course those eyes that searched my soul – she was perfection in every single possible way.

Moke was the toy I never wanted to put down, the dream job that never felt like work, the craving that hit just the right spot and she was the love that enveloped and enriched my heart.

Mini Moke AKA Princess Pea Raider of the Pantry and Dribbler Supreme was my Heart Hound and she is the reason I will forever have an Irish Wolfhound by my side.

How do I start a story that I wish had never ended. Some stories have a happy ending but the story of a life will always have to end with death. Moke was one of the greatest gifts life has given me but it also came with tremendous loss. I have struggled to write this for months, but I figure it’s never going to be easy, so here goes.

My love for IWs started when I young and living away from home for the first time. I befriended a Wolfhound that I had the most wonderful friendship with. This friendship lasted about a year and was independent of this Hounds owner. To say he made a huge impact on me was an understatement. When the time came for our friendship to end I vowed that one day I would have my own Hound. It took me 17 years to make that dream my reality.

As I waited life wrapped me up and carried me on her breeze. She carried me through the most glorious of weather and the hardest of storms. As that breeze kept on blowing, time past and I grew. Then one day that breeze was ready to blow a dream my way.

I decided one day – today was the day the search will begin – I know for many first time Wolfhound owners that search can last for years. The search to find a breeder – then get onto a waiting list. Let alone to wait that list out. For many the search becomes too much. But that day I decided was the day – turned out to be just that! By the end of the day I had not only found a breeder but my Moke was wrapped up on that breeze and drifting my way.

I had searched online to find breeders and rang a couple – to be honest the first two nearly put me off the breed all together. My heart said to ring one more – that one extra phone call was to change my life forever. 2 hours later I got off the phone, I’d made a new friend and I had my Hound. She was still in her Mums belly at the time – but I had jumped a very long waiting list and was now waiting anxiously for the birth. I wanted a boy, but had no choice as I’d jumped that list and wasn’t going to push my luck. 4 weeks later my Keva was born!! (yes the Diva is named after Moke’s kennel name). Did I care she wasn’t a boy – hell no!! Little did I know that breeze was about to blow a little cyclone my way.

Eight weeks later my son and I went to pick up the baby!!! For the next ten years my life was touched with a little gold, well grey fur actually. But a magical fur that not only enriched my life but touched my heart in a way it had never been touched before. Many of you would have read my story about Mrs Wilson, so you know that Moke had to be special to top that. The difference between Mrs Wilson and Moke – Nelson adored me, but he still was his own man, he’s went on adventures and branched away from me. Moke – I was her world – her sun – her moon – her entire universe. She lived for me and me alone. She was everyone’s friend, but only my dog. She was obedient for me not others – until she looked at me and I nodded then she would obey some else’s command. No matter where I was on the farm she was there. If I was mowing she would be sitting in the closest bit of shade and she would move as I moved around the farm. If I was inside working she was at my feet, cooking in the kitchen at my feet, showering right beside the shower or licking my legs.

Moke was shattered when she first came to me – she missed her Mum and the breeder who had spoiled her rotten with love. For the first few days when she awoke from a nap, she would open her eyes and cry as she wasn’t back with her mum. It broke my heart to see her sad. I did the only thing I could – I loved her with every little bit of my heart. I slept with one arm off the bed so she could keep my hand in her mouth while she sleep. We cuddled – we played and I loved some more. It took a few days but one morning when she woke and saw me and her tail wagged! Then she gave me that look, that unmistakable look a Irish Wolfhound gives the one they love! The same look she would give me every time ours eyes met over the next ten years. From that day forward I was her love – she was mine from first sight.

I worked away from the farm more in her early years and she would come to the car in the morning and say goodbye. Then I would drive out of the farm. Max would be locked up as her would go wandering but Moke never. She never went on a chain in her life and never had a fence between her and 14,500 hectares of forest. She was always there waiting when I got home (except twice but I will tell those stories a bit later) standing watching and waiting for my car to pop out of the trees. My son would say he thought she could sense me getting close because she would react long before he could hear my car. She would see my car and race to the bottom of the hill to greet me. We would cuddle and then I would say to her “Ready – Set – Go” and she would race my car up the hill. Now if she got to excited and took off before I said “start” – I would yell “False start” and she would come back to the car and start again. The first time I came into the farm after she passed I stopped the car at the bottom of the hill and sobbed – for 10 year she had greeted me and it was now over!!! Probably one of my biggest reality checks when she passed. Keva is 20 months and has started the tradition – but let’s just say she has no respect for Ready Set or GO.

Moke grew up with Mrs Wilson – he loved her and they got along so well. Only one fight in the 5 years they spent together before Nelson passed. They slept on the same bed something neither would do with the Evils. But the one fight they had was a beauty. My son rode motorcycles and I had bought him one that had been nothing but trouble. Long story short the shop I bought it from arranged for a truck to pick it up from my farm. I spoke to the truck driver to tell him I would not be home when he came. I explained the bike would be sitting in the middle of the paddock, and that he would be greeted by two large dogs that just want a pat. He asked a few times are your sure your dogs are fine – I said “get out say hi Moke and Nelson and they will be your best friends”. All good the bike was gone when I got home. A week later they delivered the bike back – same truck driver. I was home that day and went out to greet him with Moke and Nelson – he said “I nearly didn’t get out of the truck when those two walked up – you don’t have big dogs you have giants!” I laughed and started to say “they wouldn’t hurt a fly” the “fly” didn’t get out of my mouth and Moke turned on Nelson. To this day I have no idea why! It was a beauty of a fight, Nelson was not going to back down to the younger in the pack. I pulled Moke off (Moke was 85 kilos I’m am 50) as soon as she felt my hands on her she stopped. I made her sit and Nelson sit and that was the end of it. They never had a fight again. The poor truck driver was in the cab of his truck shaking his head repeating “they wouldn’t hurt a fly!!?!???”

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Moke had a streak in her – I’m not going to pretend she was perfect – well she was – but. My two little dogs “The Evil Step Sisters” had picked on her from day one and she had let them. For two years they pushed her around, stealing her treats and pushing her off the lounge etc. One day (unknown to me) Moke had found a mouse that was stuck in a empty garbage bin on the verandah. Dozer came along to investigate and Moke snapped – Not a little GRRRR snap but a full blown attack. Lifting Dozer by the head and shaking her. As soon as I put hands on Moke she stopped and Dozer dropped from her mouth and run very fast away from her. Dozer was fine, to her credit Moke had not really bitten that hard just shook. Dozer gave Moke a wide birth from that day until the day she died. If Moke was laying down and Dozer had to pass she would always choose the ass end of Moke to walk around, never the mouth end. Bonsai did not learn that easy and ended up at the vets a couple of times. It killed me that Moke could get on with any dog – except the Evil Step Sisters. They avoided each other and lived very separate lives.

When Nelsons time came Moke was 3ish, she was there when he was put to sleep on his bed. Nelson was a big boy and I needed to get an excavator to come and dig his grave. Of course it was pouring rain and every contractor I spoke to didn’t want the job. I finally got a young guy who had recently lost his own dog, through my sobbing he said he was happy to help. He arrived just after the vet had left to dig the hole. To his credit he stayed and helped me carry Nelson on his bed over to the grave. Moke had watched the vet and sat with Nelson’s body after he was gone. All extremely calm, just watching, sniffing and snuggling me as I bawled. As we started carrying Nelson to the grave she circled us and tried to push the driver away. No aggression what so ever but it was like she was trying to stop us taking him away. We buried our boy and she sat on the grave til the dark came that night. She never went near it again.

My son had been hassling me to get a dog for a couple of years before Nelson passed, I kept saying “not til Nelson has finished his retirement in peace!”. Now the hassling started in earnest. It took him another 2 years to wear me down. Moke was five when Max the Husky came home. At first I was worried she might be aggressive – but nope she loved him from day one and they never even had the slightest disagreement. Max put Moke through hell, he spent the first 4 years of his life hanging off her neck, or chewing her ankles and she just put up with it. If he annoyed her to much she would gently knock him off his feet and lay on top of him so he couldn’t move, just the right amount of pressure so she wouldn’t hurt – just immobilise. The only time she would even growl at him was when she was on heat – Max was out of control for three weeks every time she was in season. The first time Moke went on heat after we got Max, did’nt we get a shock. I’ve seen male dogs around a bitch on heat before – I had not seen anything like Max. This only got worse as he got older. He would barely eat, drink or sleep for the entire time, he would look like a wreck when it was over. Max would let us know before Moke even started to bleed. Mr McLoven would be replaced with “Mr Crazy Eyes” in the first few days. By days 5 – “Mr Touch my bitch and I’ll rip your face off” would turn up and he would stay until was over. When it finished it could be a matter of minutes between psycho and back to McLovin, a very hungry and very tired McLovin. I was the only person who was allowed to pat Moke while she was in season and only on her face and chest. If my hand went further down her back Max’s snarly face would appear and he would push my hand away from her back end. He would never bite me but if anyone else dared to touch Moke he would launch at them. Yes I tried to lock him up but he would dig out within half an hour, if he couldn’t dig out he work himself up so bad that I was scared he would have a heart attack. I tried keeping one in the house and one out – Max came through windows, broke doors or sat and howled til I let him in. So together they would be and he would lie almost on top of her and then he was happy. A psycho, but happy! I wasn’t worried they would mate – there was no way in hell Moke would let him. She would allow him to make sweet love to her front foot, but she was a lady so it never went any further than that. I also never left them alone – never – ever. If he tried to mount her that was the only time she would growl or snap at him and he respected Moke and he would drop. As Moke got older Max didn’t get any better – I finally decided that Moke couldn’t handle another heat with a Husky necklace. Moke was too old to get spayed – so I decided Max’s dangleberries had to go. Max got desexed on the Friday – Moke passed on the Sunday with no warning. I think she was giggling on her way over the bridge about that one.

Moke loved Max and they were the best of mates. Not everyone knows of Max’s obsession with goanna’s but he has a fight or fight policy with them. On one of our walks Max went on a detour as he often does. Then the barking started – I could hear by the bark that he had something cornered. I ran through the forest in the direction of the bark. I got to a huge wood stack, a pile of tree roots and left over bits from the logging teams. I climbed the stack and could see Max from the top and I freaked. There was my Max face to face with a huge gonna. When goannas get that big they don’t run up trees to get away – they stand and fight. This time he was picking a fight with the wrong opponent -this goanna was over 8 foot long and was most likely double Max’s weight. It was old and they don’t get that old without being able to fight to win. I knew if I called out and he turned the goanna would get him. Moke was the bottom of the wood pile looking up at me – Moke was not agile and climbing was not her thing. I kept watching hoping Max would run. Then the goanna launched, Max turned to get away and tripped on a log and fell, the goanna grabbed him. It pinned him to the ground and started ripping – Max was squealing and he couldn’t get away. I came down that wood pile like a crazy mountain woman screaming. More surprising was Moke was right beside me. By the time I got to them the goanna had started shaking Max violently. I grab the end of the goannas tail and tried to flip it – it was just too big. I could see if I didn’t do something this goanna was going to kill Max. I grabbed Moke and touched the goanna’s back and said “Bite”. Wow did she bite – she grabbed that goanna and started to shake. The problem – Max was still attached – I was scared she would break his back. I yelled to stop – she did and dropped both Max and the Goanna. Then I just kept repeating “BITE” She then grabbed it on the back and started biting. I could hear its back break as she finished the job. Max was still very attached to the goanna, I pulled its claws out of his flesh and unleashed its grip. Max bolted to Moke and lay under her, she started looking at his wounds. He was a mess. The black tip of his nose was in two pieces, he had deep gashes and bite marks all over him. By the time we walked back to the house about 2kms away, all of us were covered in Max’s blood. I rushed to the vets and got him stitched back together. Moke saved his life that day, if she wasn’t there that goanna would have killed him. Even though he still chases them to this day – he now sizes them up first, the huge ones he watches walk away.

There was no denying the bond between Moke and Max. Moke’s passing was sudden and Max never got to see it all unfold. She just left with me and never came home. He grid searched the farm for her, he would come to me and look as if to say “come help me find her”. He found bits of her fur and would bring it back to the house and put it on his bed. He howled for her and he broke my heart. As I said Max had been desexed on the Friday and Moke passed on the Sunday. When I took him in a week later to get his stiches out we walked into the vets and he went to the exact spot where she had dropped a week before. He sat on that spot and he howled a howl that was so filled with the sound of sorrow it was gut wrenching. My vet who had been with me the night of Moke’s death was amazed and kept saying “we have mopped so many times since last week”. But I think he finally got it – got the scent of her passing, he stopped searching for her after that. The bond those two shared was not only beautiful to watch develop but to see it still strong after the physical world broke it, was amazing.

Now to the runaway stories. Just like Keva and Max, I walked Moke and Max every day. I was working long hours on a contract when Moke was about 7 years old. So a couple of days a week we would miss the walk or I would try and get a quick one in after work. Moke had a favourite spot in the forest – I call it the lap pool. It’s a part of the creek that has solid rock on both sides about 3 metres wide and about 20 metres long, a small waterfall at one end and a pool at the other. Its over my head deep so Moke could actually swim and she loved to swim. As she got older, we would get to the end of the driveway and I would try and turn right (the quick walk option) she would stop and just start walking to the lap pool. I never put Moke on a lead, even in summer with the snakes. She never ran from me and if she did in excitement all it took was say “see ya” and she would clear forests to get back to me. This walk thing became a game and she would take off to the lap pool with me and Max following. One day I got home from work and no Moke at the bottom of the hill for “ready set go” – to say I freaked was an understatement. Max was still in his cage. I had never in 7 years come home and she didn’t great me. The search began – I rang a few of my neighbours and they joined in. Now if you stand on my back verandah and throw a rock it will land in 14,500 hectares of forest. My farm is the last thing between me and a mountain range. To start looking was overwhelming, then it hit me – the lap pool. I raced down there like a rally driver trying to beat a world record. I ran into the forest the last bit and there she is standing in the lap pool having a soak. I was so relieved but soooo cranky and boy did she know she was in trouble. I made her walk home behind the car that day and she sucked up like only a hound could until forgiven.

Months past and I came home, no Moke again. Only this time when I got up to the house I saw Max had dug out of his cage. Then I saw the drips of blood on the paths, the “in season” drips. Unlike most male dogs that wait for a week before going completely mental Max started with the first drop of blood. I raced straight to the lap pool – no dogs. Time to call in help. Neighbours joined in, my sons mates joined in – we all split up and we searched – I screamed her name (no point calling Max his brain was gone) I screamed “SEE YA” till my throat burned….Nothing.

We looked for hours – I was feeling desperate. They bait for Dingos and wild dogs in our forest – what is she’d eaten a bait, what if a brown snake had bitten her, what if some crazy Wolfhound serial killer was on the loose in my forest – yes I was frantic. Like mum lost her child in a foreign country kind of frantic. The dark was closing in – my mind was racing – where were they?? Then my mobile rang it was Two Legs! Two legs has said some things in his time that have brought great terror “Mum the brown snake I was hiding in my room has got out” he has said some things that have brought disappointment “Mum I’ve broken – most of everything you owned LOL!” but when I answered that phone he said three magical words “We have them”. I drove back to the farm beating Two Legs and my Neighbour Phil who Two Legs was with. Up they pull in his 4wd and squished in the front seat was Moke. Looking very sheepish – or wolfish. She knew she was in the shit and walked straight past me and got on her bed. She was putrid covered in dirt, mud, sticks and leaves. Max didn’t look any better but Max being Max he just baked as if to say “Hi where back – What’s up?”

Then the boys explained how and where they had found them. They had crossed through the bush and came across them in the middle of dense forest. Max had dug a huge pit and I mean a huge pit – Moke was laying in the middle of it. When they got to her she wouldn’t come – as I said before Moke would look to me when she had to obey another and I wasn’t there. So she refused to go with them, even for Two Legs her human brother. We had been looking for ages and it was dark and cold, Phil and Connor had had enough. Phil gave her one more chance to follow and she wouldn’t – so he walked up to her and picked her up. Moke was a huge girl (85 kilos) but Phil was obviously more head strong. He carried her to the car and placed her in the front seat, a huge squish for her and him. Two Legs said the look on her face when he picked her up was priceless but she knew she was in trouble so she went with it.

She never ran away again. The next time she wasn’t there when I called was the night she passed. That night her reason for not coming was beyond her. When I got to her the look on her face was like “I was trying mum”. That look in her eyes that night was searching for my help – a look that only a dog that has given you complete trust will give.

Moke wasn’t a scaredy cat she was very confident on outings and even laid while I vacuumed around her, lifting legs and vacuuming under. She was an aware protector -meaning she knew when I wasn’t happy about someone being near me. She would herd them away from me, circling then pushing then circling and pushing, until they were a distance from me. Most didn’t even realise she was doing it. The only time she was really tested, she turned so fast it made my blood run cold, she did her job and she protected. She stopped the second I called and came running back to me as calm as before the storm. Moke had never shown aggression to a human before that night and she never did again. Quite simply – it was never needed. I’d always wondered if she would stand and protect if needed and boy did she go above and beyond. I had up to that point always felt safe just because of her size and bark but from then on I knew she would guard without question.

Moke did have one fear – the dark! She hated being outside at night unless the light was on. If I was going out for the night I would leave her inside – with the lights on. The few times I came home much later than expected and I had not put her in first, I found her inside. She would pop out the glass in one of my French doors and climb through an opening that would be hard for a possum to fit in. I once came home to blood everywhere as she had cut herself coming through the hole in the glass she had made. After that I made sure she was in if I was going to be late home or I just left the doors open for her.

My girl loved to swim, from tiny to the day she passed she swam. She loved the beach and would swim way out past the break with me. Even if she got dunked she would keep coming after me. Once in big surf she got dunked so bad all I could see was her ears popping out of the water as she got carried over the top of the wave. The wave broke with her on top, she was gone completely under, then the legs poked out of the ocean, then head – then legs – the head – then SLAP onto to the shore. She got up shook herself – looked for me – then headed straight back out through the break and straight back to my side again. Even the lifeguard remarked when we got out that it was one of the best dunkings he had ever seen. We spent so much time at the beach when my son was younger and Moke was always with us. We live not too far away from the perfect beach that has both a lagoon and a surf beach, separated by 100 metres of golden sand. Moke would sit in the shade of the salt bushes while I played with my son then come out for a swim when she got hot. This also came in handy when they turned this beach into a National Park (no dogs allowed) because I would just say “ranger” and she would go and hide in the salt bushes. She also loved the river and would swim and float alongside us as we drifted downstream. Of course her favourite were the creeks in the forest behind our property – always in shade and no inquisitive strangers wanting to stop and pat her every five seconds.

Moke was an easy going dog she took things in her stride and had a very calm nature. She trained so easy -she lived to please me. She never really did naughty things and the words “bad dog’ would hurt her soul. In her retirement age she grew out of that . She did the reverse puppy – doing things she wouldn’t have dared do when she was young. She started to be cheeky – on walks if we weren’t going in the direction she wanted – she would just go that way. She started stealing – She became the “Pantry Ninja” making night time raids. She would open the backdoor and take her stash outside so she wouldn’t wake me. I would wake to her back on her bed in my room like nothing had happened. No evidence in the kitchen not even a crumb. The only sign of her crime the back door would be open, I would get outside and there would be packages everywhere. The packets would all have the “Ninja Slash” Moke was a pro at opening things and would hold with one paw a slice with the nails on her other. Usually one clean slice and she would be into it. She started to steal off the counter and once stole donuts off the top of the fridge. This I was kind of proud of as at 8 years old I thought it was great she could still get up on her back legs and stand. This girl loved her food – any food. She did not have a food that she wouldn’t eat and my pantry can stand testament to that.

As she aged she slowed down but she never lost her loyalty or her gentle soul. We still walked every day, she would still meet me for Ready-Set-Go. She never showed signs of ill health and had just had a full check up a few weeks before she passed, with the vet remarking how strong her heart sounded. She did stop coming up to my room, she had slept on her bed in my room for her entire life. Even though she really didn’t really like the stairs she came up them every night to be near me. She just took them very slowly, each foot had to touch every step on the way up but she came down like a bat out of hell. I knew that night she stopped doing the stairs that my girl was getting old. It broke my heart as this was her first sign of age catching up with her, in fact it was the only sign.

Moke’s last day was like every other – a day on the farm following me around. We went for our walk and swim in her “lap pool”. She enjoyed a cooked meal and again no sign of anything wrong. I went to call her in that evening and she didn’t come. Moke always came – it was cold and it was also dark so I knew then something was wrong. I went to look and found her in the paddock laying down. In that moment I thought she may have stolen a treat and was being sneaky – my heart lifted. When I got close enough to see her eyes – my lifted heart came crashing down into the darkest depths that reality can dig. Her eyes were looking deep into my soul as they had done daily for ten year. This time they were not asking what she could do for me – they were begging for my help. We rushed to the vet – she had had a heart attack and was just about to have another. That night I lost my girl – a little piece of my heart stopped with hers. Just as that breeze had blown her into my life 10 years before, it was now carrying her away.

The gap was huge, not only did Moke take up a huge part of my life and my heart she also took up a huge part of my lounge room. No longer was there someone watching while I was mowing, sleeping at my feet while I worked, and licking my legs while I showered. My mornings no longer started with the sound of her tail banging on the floor when she realised I was awake. My nights no longer ended with “you’re a good girl”. When I came home she was no longer there waiting for “ready – set – go!”. Most heart wrenching – those eyes would no longer look deep into my soul.

Moke gave me unconditional love, unquestioned loyalty and made my dream of owning a Wolfhound come true. What she also gave me was a little magic. Every time she walked up and nudged that face into mine, then searched my eyes for the way my soul was feeling – that magic cast it’s spell over me.

Moke was never just a dog, she wasn’t even just a friend or a part of the family. She was a part of me, like a link in the chain of my life. A link I had waited so long to entwine onto my chain and entwine she did. She was and will always be one of the greatest loves of my life and just like a chain our links will be forever joined.

For now she runs with my pack on the other side of the bridge and one day that breeze will carry me back to her.

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Nelson aka Mrs Wilson

 

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Nelson aka Mrs. Wilson

Where do I start with Mrs Wilson – where better than the beginning.

When my husband and I decided that we wanted to run away from the city and try the country life, we decided a dog must be part of that plan. So a puppy was found, a beautiful Mastiff Dane X. We named him Buster and he was a great addition. Not long after moving to a farm that we rented to see if we liked the area, I found out I was pregnant with my one and only “two legs”.

So in a short few months we had moved a couple of hundred kilometres away from our friends and family and I was pregnant, life was full of change. Buster was a lovely puppy, one of the smartest and easiest to train puppies that I’d ever owned. But unfortunately a puppy was all that Buster was destined to be. At 8 months old Buster was taken by a paralysis tick, my heart was broken.

So here I was seven months pregnant, new town, no family, a husband that was travelling for work, and now my fur baby had died. I was a huge hormonal, emotional mess. So a couple of weeks after my hubby, (a photographer by trade) had to do a job at a winery a couple of hours away. He suggested that I come for the drive and work as his assistant for the day. After a long day of working in pitch dark cellars getting photos of wine barrels, we decided to go for a walk in the forest at the back of the winery before heading home.

As we were heading back to our car we saw and man and a dog in the distance walking towards us. As we got closer I could see that the man had a rifle. Nothing unusual as we were in the country, and this was before the gun amnesty in Australia. As I looked at his dog I couldn’t help but think “what a strange looking dog” he’s face just didn’t seem right. Now he wasn’t a little dog either, he was a big boof head. I couldn’t help but say “what sort of dogs is that.” That’s when this sub human spoke “a dead dog” as he lifted the gun up, as if to make a point. In shock I asked “why would you do such a shit thing”. Now I know most people wouldn’t push the issue, angry man with a gun, but I’m an idiot. I was also standing with my hubby, who was 6 foot 4 and a heavy set man, he was my bullet proof vest on more than one occasion. This idiot then went on to tell me “It’s stupid and a sook, it won’t kill and it won’t fight”. I looked at this dog and the dog looked at me. I asked the guy “what’s his name” “Nelson”, I got down on my knees (remember I was 7 months pregnant at the time) and called him, he walked over and put his head on my belly and looked deep into my eyes. In that split second he stole my heart. I got up and asked the guy if I could have him, he laughed, took the lead and collar off him and walked away. Nelson didn’t even look like following him, never in my life have I walked away from one of my dogs and it has not wanted to follow me. As we turned to walk away, without even asking, Nelson became another of my dogs that followed. We walked back to the car and took our Nelson home.

On the drive home he vomited constantly, I don’t think he’d ever been in a car before. We got home and started to clean him up, that’s when I really started to see how badly injured this poor boy was. I’d noticed the slice on his face but it was dark by the time we got back to our car and for the trip home. When we got home and could actually see and feel the injuries – we were in shock. The injuries on this poor boy were horrific.

We called our vet and took him straight in, to his credit Nelson took this like a pro. Our vet knocked him out and x-rayed. The reason his face looked so strange – his nose had been broken. This poor boy also had over a hundred puncher wounds from other dogs attacking him. So while Nelson was out the vet stitched the puncher wounds that were deep and that had ripped muscle, and reset his broken snout. Our vet showed us the x-ray of his nose and he said he thought Nelson had been hit with a piece of timber or a bat. His kidneys and liver were swollen from the beatings and from fighting infections.

This poor dog had obviously been used as a bait dog and been beaten regularly over a long period of time. The vet said he had never seen such abuse. My biggest regret was not finding out more about the monster who had given him to us. The vet also found that Nelson had a heart condition, he’s heart valves didn’t open and close properly so his blood had trouble getting around his body . He explained this would probably shorten his life but that Nelson was lucky to be alive in the first place. He said Nelson was over two years old but probably under 4, and to enjoy him because he probably wouldn’t have a long life. How wrong could this vet be – the day I finally said goodbye to my Nelson, that same vet stood beside me, after he was gone he remarked at how wrong Nelson proved him to be.

So home we go with this stitched an swollen boof head. He was a nervous wreck at first and scared of loud noises or sudden moves. My husband had a big booming voice and had to learn to tone it down until Nelson got use to him. We gave him daily massages and worked up the level of noise daily until we could give him a massage through a newspaper, with the stereo on full and the vacuum going. He soon understood love and in turn trusted us totally. Never showing signs of that fear again, he was a new dog – a proud, happy and strong dog.

So a couple of months later along comes Two Legs, Nelson took it in his stride and became the hairy nanny. He never let my boy out of his site! By the time Two Legs could crawl he would use Nelson as a walker frame, by pulling on his fur and making him stand. Then he would push Nelson forward and he would walk beside him as Nelson moved ever so carefully. My child put this dog through hell, noise, playing dress ups, he even bit poor Nelson when he was teething and drew blood. There was also an incident with a wooden coat hanger, a dogs bottom and an inquisitive 3 year old. Never once did he even growl.

He would bark if two legs left the house yard on the farm and then he would follow and bark. If Two Legs was asleep and he barked it was silent – just the movement of the mouth. Nelson hated a bath and would run if he thought one was coming. One afternoon just on dusk I was looking for Two Legs and he’d tied up Nelson to a tree and was bathing him with a toilet brush. Soap suds everywhere and Nelson standing there being a perfect dog. If anyone else had of tried to do the same he would of knocked them flying and run away. Not two legs – he could do anything to this dog.

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The stories of Mr Wilson could fill books, even the name Mrs Wilson. Just after Two Legs was born, we had many visitors come to see the new addition. Nelson wasn’t impressed with the attention he was losing to a rug rat. So we asked people when they arrived to say hi to Nelson first and make a fuss about him before the baby. Friends of ours daughter was about 4 at the time and decided Nelson was far more interesting than the baby anyway, so her and Nelson had a tea party. The cutest thing you’ve even seen this big, still scary and rough looking dog, and this little girl having a tea party. As us adults watched we could hear she was calling him Mrs Wilson, as you could imagine this name stuck. It was also funny having this chunky male dog out in public and being able to call Mrs Wilson, and him come running.

Nelson ran away from home a few times in the early years, not because he didn’t have it good but because he was a dog that had things to do. He never ran with the intention of not returning, just for the adventure. We rescued a great Dane destined for the pound. You know the kind of owners that buy a giant breed then don’t have the room for them. Tiger was 14month old, huge, not trained and a complete handful. He drove Nelson crazy!! We’d never tied Nelson up before, he knew to stay or to be back home by the time we got back. One day we came home and they were gone, late that night Nelson came home, exhausted and without Tiger. When we got up in the morning Tiger was on the verandah, Nelson seemed less than impressed. We wondered whether he tried to “Hansel and Gretel” him, by taking him out to the forest and running off on him. More likely up to no good together.

So from them on one was on a run and the other off, if we weren’t at home. We tried and tried to find Tiger a forever home, he was training up well and mellowing nicely, but he was huge and not everyone has the space for huge. We got home another day and they were gone, Tiger had been on the run and had taken off with 10mtrs of chain attached to him. Nelson came home, we searched and searched for Tiger..he never came home. It broke my heart and I felt guilt ridden. I found out years later that he’d wandered onto a neighbouring property and the farmer had shot him. Arsehole. But my only consolation was that Tiger hadn’t hung himself or got caught up and died slowly.

After Tiger was gone Nelson only went on small adventures, always home by dinner time. We once had some people come into the farm lost. They had been camping on the top of the mountain range behind our property for the few nights previous and had got lost on their way out. When Nelson walked out with us to say hi, the people couldn’t believe Nelson was ours. Apparently the first night they set up camp, they were eating dinner when out of the dark of the forest walks Nelson. Then he walks on over to them and sits down. The people said they shit themselves at first thinking he might be feral, but soon realised he was there for the sausages. They gave him a couple of snags and he stayed for a pat and left, apparently he turned up each night for a feed. This dog was a character.

Nelson hadn’t run away for years, then one night he wasn’t there for dinner. My heart sunk – not my Mrs Wilson. I couldn’t deal with another dog just disappearing. I called and called, I drove around the forest and called. When he was still not home in the morning, panic set in. We made flyers and drove around the area dropping them in every letterbox. It’s a small community and most people knew us and Nelson. No one had seen him. Of a night laying in bed I could swear I could hear him barking, every night I would say to my hubby I can hear him. After nearly a week my husband said “he’s gone, he’s not coming back and you just think you can hear him.” A few days later we were outside working and I was sure I could hear him. Next minute a friend’s car came up the driveway, and his two dogs were hanging out the window barking. My heart shattered, it was them I could hear not my Nelson. Then our mate yelled out “I just passed a young girl down the road walking Nelson.” I started yelling at my poor hubby “I told you I could fucking hear him!!!” I jumped in our car and raced out the driveway and there was my boy walking with one of the local kids. When I got to her I was bawling and Nelson was beyond excited to see me. After the initial craziness I asked where she had found him. One of the local farmers had a bitch on heat and Nelson had turned up, he liked the look of him so decided to keep him to breed with his dog. This young girl had gone to have a sleep over at their house and recognised Nelson and brought him home. He had been gone over a week. For the next week every chance he got he would take off back to this bitch. We would get down there and this farmer would have him locked in with his girl. I was not impressed and asked the farmer to kick him up the bum and send him home again and again. He had no intention as he wanted Nelson to breed with his girl. The girl finally went off heat, but Nelson hadn’t forgotten that they also had Rabbits. If these rabbit were ours and he’d been told to be gentle they would have been safe. These rabbit were not ours and no one had told him to be gentle. He went down and broke into the farmers rabbit pens and ate several. Let’s just say the farmer finally kicked him up the bum and sent him home. I took Nelson the next day to be de-sexed (stop groaning men) he never went too far again.

Mrs Wilson had many pets over the years, he owned a angora goat, a cockatiel, a couple of guinea pigs, rabbits and a herd of cows. All which he looked after very well, even once bringing back a guinea pig that had escaped into the forest. His goat Lisa would sleep on his bed because if we didn’t let it come in and sleep with him he would sook. The cockatiel slept on his head every night for years and would even climb into Nelson’s mouth to clean between his teeth. He was the epitome of the saying “Bomb Proof”. If he was told to be gentle with something he would protect it like it was “Two Legs”. When we bred cows Mrs Wilson was so trusted by our cows they would let him stand right beside them while they gave birth and he would help clean the calves. I would often look out the window to see him babysitting all the calves while the mums were off eating.

Nelson loved everything and everyone – and everyone loved Nelson.

Nelson worshipped my Hubby, they would go fishing together and Nelson would always get a few fish fillets when they got home. Nelson was between 8-10 when my husband passed and he knew my Hubby was sick. Towards the end he would sniff at the spots were new tumours were appearing, I’m sure he knew what was coming. My Hubby was at home up to the night before he passed and when the ambulance came to take him to hospital, I was lucky enough to get two of the nicest ambulance drivers you could wish for. Two legs was 7 at the time and like most 7 year olds was oblivious to what was really happening and more interested in the flashing light etc. So as he climbed through the ambulance Nelson stood at the door looking in at his “pack leader”. One of the ambos pulled me aside and said “your husband doesn’t look like his coming back home and I think your dog would like to say goodbye”. He then asked his partner to occupy my boy. He then let Nelson get inside the ambulance and say goodbye, he walked up to David and put his head on him and just sighed. They both had that moment together – sadly their last. As the ambulance drove down my driveway the dog that had howled only a few times before and only when asleep – sat and howled. My son – still oblivious.

For months after his passing Nelson would sleep with Dave’s ugh boots, and whenever I would have a meltdown (reserved for when Two Legs was at school) Nelson would find something of David’s to give me. A jumper, a book and once a fishing rod. He slowly got better, but right up until he was old and grey the smell of raw fish would make his tail wag.

Nelson lived through many dogs over the years, some that were ours and lived and passed around him and some that just stayed with us until they found their forever homes. After I lost Dave I got Bonsai she was 12 weeks old when we got her and she was a nightmare from day one. Naughty, defiant, and just a little rat, well just a Jack Russell. Nelson put up with hell from her, she would bite his tail, in fact she would hang from it as he tried to walk away. She would bully him away from his food and take his bed. He did as had done so many time before – dealt with it like a true gentleman. Bonsai had a litter of puppies – 5 little monsters that he also lived through.

Then a few years later my desire for a Wolfhound was still strong and I believed the time was right. It must have been, not did I jump a long waiting list when I met Moke’s breeder , 12 years later we still keep in contact, so I also found a friend. She was also the reason I have my Keva, putting a good word in for me with Keva’s breeder. Miss Moke came home to Nelson and he loved her like he had so many dogs before. Moke was different from the evils – she worshipped Nelson she let him be boss and he loved every minute of it.

So my dog that I was told may only live a short life was now about 11 years old minimum and still going strong. Moke brought the puppy back out in Nelson, he would chase and play hard with her and they walked the forest daily with me.

Over the first 5 years of Moke’s life he was her mate, her teacher, her leader. He still had a dicky heart and every check up the vet would be amazed that he was still going. Over these five years he slowed down, he went grey, and slowly went blind. I only realised he’d gone blind when I moved all the furniture around one day and when I let him that night he couldn’t work out where he was. So Two legs and I had to put him outside and move all the furniture back to where it normally went. We let him back in and he knew exactly where to go. He’d still been taking himself daily to the dam for a swim and to mark his territory. He still did this up til a few days before he passed.

When Nelson’s time came he did what he done so many times before – he went on an adventure. My boy didn’t come home one night. Now he was very old now and I knew he had taken himself off to die. I grid searched my farm, I went to all his favourite spots and I couldn’t find him. I stood in the middle of my paddock and cried for him, then swore at him for doing this to me. Then I yelled at the sky as if David could hear, “if your there and your watching, take me to him!!”. Then I cried some more and got up and started to search again. I truly believe Dave was listening and that he led me straight to him. There was my old and grey man lying in the forest, still alive – just. I went and got help and we got him back to the house. I wasn’t going to let him suffer, I rang my vet. The same vet that had stitched him up that first night, through the tears he knew exactly what I was calling about. Nelson was in his home and on his bed being held by me when he took his final breath. This dog beat the odds having lived past that day with the gun. He whipped the odds for the next 13 and half years that I was blessed to have him in my pack. Mrs Wilson was between 15-17 when he passed. I like to think he is standing beside my David over the rainbow bridge.

Nelson aka Mrs Wilson, was one the main character in many of my greatest memories, including my wedding day. He was the rock through some of my hardest. He was a dog that had been given the worst possible start to life and every single reason to hate and fear humans for a lifetime. But he didn’t, he trusted, he played, he loved and he was loved. Most importantly he got to be a dog!!! If someone had of told me years ago that I would have more years with this dog than my husband I wouldn’t have believed it. In fact, other than family Mrs Wilson is the longest relationship I’ve ever had with a man and boy what a man he was.

Left behind – But still lost

Left Behind – But still lost

I thought about writing something poignant about lost dreams, loves and aspirations but that’s not me and goes against the way I try to live my life. I strive to live in the now and to deal with the future if I’m lucky enough to get one. As far as the past, well there is stuff all I can do about that and if I didn’t learn from it at the time I’m not likely to now.

So yes, I have lost and learnt from it, I have given away and regretted it and I have had things taken from me that I ache to have back. But these times and events have all passed and the consequences have been lived. So dwelling to me is like trying to fix the hole in a sunken ship. You might get that hole repaired but the ships already sitting on the ocean floor.

When I chose to move to the country as a 22 year old, I was young and naive and had no real idea of the things I would be giving up. I soon learnt to live with a 80km round trip to the shops and 40 km round trip to get the mail. Couriers that refuse to deliver to my farm and blackouts that can last for days. That bushfires are part of summer life. That “she’ll be right mate”, will be used in business meetings and that a country clock has many more hours in a day than city a one does.

Hell I’ve even adapted to sharing my space with critters. Furry critters with bad attitudes, 8 legged critters the size of dinner plates and even legless ones that belong on the top 10 deadliest list. All of these I have happily excepted as part of country living and as part of the deal for having 30,000 acres of forest at my back door.

I have also accepted that country life does not come with the city’s access to the arts and culture. That a missing ingredient means a change in the menu. That internet speeds are slower than third world countries. That nothing is a simple trip and if you want it, you will have to order it online. I’ve even come to terms with the fact when I have to ring 000 I have to them give direction on how to find the front gate.

Life in the country is different, I’ve learnt to deal with it and I now embrace it. I am also human, so of course there is a loss that I cannot let go. A loss that was taken by this country living that I love so much. A memory that haunts my thoughts. It at times taunts me in my dreams. A treasurer I held in my hands that I gave away without realising the reach of its loss. A loss I still mourn for. A love that was stolen from me with a change of address. A yearning that I will forever want.

I’m not sure if I will ever come to term with it or be able to accept it. I may continue to mourn this loss until I breathe no more. So to you, one of life’s greatest gifts…to my lost love……Home Delivery – I miss you, I salute to you and I live in hope that one day you too can leave the city life and join us here in the country.

 

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Advice on a tiny card.

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It hard to admit that the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given was on a tiny little gift card. It didn’t come from profound source like the teachings of Buddha or a great piece of literature. It didn’t come from a prophet, a genius or even a humans mouth.

Just a simple sentence on a gift card that gave me the motto for my new life. So what was this profound piece of advice that has driven me forward. The words that have given me such comfort over the past 15 years.

“Don’t cry because it’s over – Smile because it happened.”

Not that profound really, but the timing of reading this comment was everything.

I was 30 years old with my 7-year-old Sons arms wrapped tightly around my legs, when I was handed a bunch of flowers that held this little card. I will never forget reading those words, or the impact they had on me at this precise moment in my life.

This was not the first bunch of flowers or card that I’d been given that day. It was one of many, all with beautiful verses and heartfelt words written on them. At the time most of these cards I couldn’t even read, let alone digest the words.

These words were exactly what I needed at that precise moment in my life.  I sat and took them in. Never before this moment nor since then has a sentence affected me so deeply.

All the while I was taking this advice in, my sons arms were still wrapped around my legs. I realised in that moment that this was exactly what I needed to do. It was precisely how I needed to live my life from this moment forward.

So I bent down and kissed my boy on the forehead, picked him up in my arms. Together we walked up to my husbands coffin and placed that tiny little card deep into the Gymea Lily that sat in the centre. I turned and walked out of the chapel, eyes red and swollen but with my head held high.

15 years on I still “Smile because it happened”.

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Get a goat “They” said.

 

 

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Get a goat they said – they are cute – they said.

Get a goat they said – they will clean up around the farm – they said .

Get a goat they said- tough as nails – they said.

Get a goat they said- you can’t kill them – they said.

“They” – were talking through their ass!!

Unless of course the nails that “they” use are made of marshmallow, “they” find Asshole cute and accept window eating as cleaning up. Oh and the cant kill them bit – well that one really resounded in my head as I dug a grave.

So as a community service I feel it important to educate the world about the real story of goats.

Get a goat they said – they are cute – they said.

First and foremost goats may be cute, but they are also assholes!!!! This is not just a assumption, it is scientific fact. They don’t mean to be assholes, they just are. Just like an elephant cannot help its size, or a giraffe it’s long neck, a goat cannot help being a asshole. It just science people.

Not only are goats assholes they have the ability to interfere with the human psyche. Able to turn a once placid animal loving human into a bat shit crazy – goat hating Mo-Fo. How? You ask simply because goats are assholes.

The following tale is just one of a million that prove this fact beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Once upon a time there was a lady who lived in the bush…….a crazy lady. She hadn’t always been crazy but she got “goats”. On a unusually very hot autumn day the crazy lady (who from hence forth will be referred to as Mel) worked long a hard in the heat. She worked up a healthy hunger and the craving for a BLT, she decided this would be the perfect dinner. So taking a break from work she drove to the corner shop and mere 30 km round trip to get fresh bread and bacon.

Back out to work in the heat, knowing a BLT was waiting. A couple of hours later Mel comes inside for a drink break and the back door is open…….Shit balls on toast!!!! Well actually forget the toast because the Assholes had eaten the entire loaf of bread, not even a crumb left…GRRRR. The theft of a loaf of bread sent her mad I hear you ask – not likely. The fact that after finishing the bread they then decided to eat a budget report I had just finished for one my clients – all 35 pages, leaving only the plastic binder undigested. This was still forgivable – the report can be re printed and bacon, eggs and fried tomato on NOTHING would be ok.

So back outside to work, doors locked on the way out. 4 hours of farm work later Mel almost crawls through the door exhausted and physically sore. She goes upstairs to her bedroom (a loft) and the smell hits her!!!

Now the crazy lady has her last thought as a sane person “That smell better not be on my bed!!!???” She turns, she’s sees, she SNAPS!!!! Instant crazy, and not “Crazy Pete has the deal for you” kind of crazy, but full blown “Rip your Bovid eyes out and suck them like lollies kinda crazy!!!” Let’s just say the bed scenters were lucky to be safe in there cage and that the bat shit crazy lady was too tired to take to them with a chainsaw!!!!

So I think that you would agree this tale alone proves that goats are indeed assholes. Yes they can be cute – that’s what saves them from the baking dish.

Get a goat they said – they will clean up around the farm – they said .

They lied, they lied, they lied! Yes they do eat greenery but only if it happens to be your favourite plant or even more enticing is if that plant is deadly to them. The weeds? Well apparently they don’t taste to good. My goats have chosen instead to eat timber, not a problem when you live on a farm I hear you say. A big problem when you house is built from wood. My once lush gardens now reduced to a collection of stumps that desperately try to reshoot. Only to be chomped the second the foliage pokes its poor doomed head from the stump. Once proud plants now chomped greens, while the weeds stand tall and flourish.

Get a goat they said- tough as nails – they said.

Really? Tough as nails? Balderdash these creatures are as “tough as twigs!”

In less than a year – the time I’ve owned goats. My vet has been able to put an extension on his house. He’s bought his children all have brand new bicycles and I’m not talking about cheap K-Mart ones.

First was a belly full of worms, Goats down, Goats down. These worms took the life of one and nearly the other. Since then the survivor has racked up vet bills like an epileptic, diabetic, transgender Great Dane. She has eaten rat poison that I didn’t even know was on my property, but the goat found it. Goat down, Goat down, again. This was a home visit from the Vet and blood clotting tests. Of course I live in the middle of nowhere so this visit was not cheap. She recovers from her rat bait suicide attempt and then finds a poisonous plant on my farm and of course has a banquet. Goat down, Goat down….AGAIN. This took charcoal and sherry to reduce the poison levels. I now know that goats don’t like charcoal or sherry. They also do not take to being force fed…. AT ALL. By the end of this episode I was covered in a mixture of charcoal, goat spit and sherry breath foam. Then there was the “slinging of the cud” incident – A delightful event where the goat starting throwing up a green slushy mix. Why – because she found another plant she should not eat. Another dose of charcoal and a lot of cleaning up of green slime, because of course she couldn’t do it out in a paddock. Why you ask, because she is a goat. As previously mentioned goats are assholes so therefore it is their duty to chuck up all over my back door and verandah. She has also eaten polystyrene, plastic labels, nuts and bolts, tables, chairs and any paperwork she can get her teeth into. The only thing she turns her nose up at, her very expensive goat food and of course weeds.

Get a goat they said- you can’t kill them – they said.

Well apparently, I CAN! Goat down, Goat down…..permanently.

Now please don’t think that I find this funny. I held my girl while she took her last breaths and cried while digging her grave.

Can’t kill them, REALLY? This gives a illusion of a bullet proof animal that can eat anything, withstand the elements and survive longer than 7 months. Apparently not and confirming this is my vet’s new Porsche and the rather sad gravesite of Miss Tramp.

No longer do I see goats as these super hero style animals that can and will survive anything. I now know better, this is why forever more when someone uses the term “They are as tough as goats” I will now picture a frail little creature, that could die at any moment.

If you are contemplating getting a goat be warned – Cute does not jump on your car and bounce like a demon. Cleaning up is not eating your house. Tough does not break down constantly and can’t kill em – yeah right. Get a goat they said…….

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