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Growing local

(This is just another crazy post from the life of Andy.)

I think I need to set some considerable background, in order for this little tale to make sense.  For the last 15 years, I have been “blessed” with the privilege of raising two husky dogs.  I bought them as pups, a year apart.  Baby Huskies are just so very cute – little balls of irresistible fluff.  Contrary to popular belief, Huskies are actually not a large dog.  My girls stand around knee high. What could go wrong?

For the first few years, the girls were just a little stupid, boisterous but quite trainable with patience.  Oh, they caused a bit of damage to the skirting boards, the odd book left on the floor, some shoes and even a lounge chair.  But, puppies will do that.  They’ll grow out of it.

So they did.   That’s when they began to cause damage to local animals.  The first sign was when they chewed into our quite strong wire mesh aviary (we aren’t talking chicken wire here!) and killed all the birds. Then, they killed my cat.  The neighbour lost two cats as well.   As the years went by, I lost count of the possums, water dragons, blue tongues and other critters that met a grizzly fate.  Before you judge, it’s instinct for them!  If it small and it moves, then they feel the need to kill it.  “Oh,” says Andy.  “That’s why people say they aren’t far removed from the wolf!”

Another disturbing habit that emerged over the years was the fact that one of them (my little Kian) feels the need every six months or so to try to show me that she is the dominant one in the pack.   Fat chance babe!  We’ve had quite a few … “discussions”… about that very fact.  I’m quite confident that she loves me as much as I love her, so neither of us have actually done any lasting damage to the other.   But, I can tell by my Rozie’s white face that when Kian and I need to chat, it’s probably a little scary to the untrained eye. 

Anyways, the point of all this is that I can actually control a dog.  I’ve always kept the likes of German Shepherds and Huskies.  You learn pretty quickly how to train those dogs or the dog trains you.

Then, along comes my Rozie with her two…. little, fur ball “dogs.”  Shozzie and Louie are cross Maltese and Silky Terriers from a single litter.  The height of half my dogs suddenly decreases from knee to ankle high. 

Louie, the boy dog, was pretty much out of control.  He was the alpha male of the pack.  His three bitches (Rozzie, her adult daughter and Louie’s sister included) pretty much did what they were told.  That lasted about two weeks when I came on the scene.  Here were two dogs that might take off a toe, but they were never gunna rip my throat out!  Mind you, little Shoz was always such a good little girl.  While Louie escaped on a regular basis to terrorise the neighbourhood, Shoz just stayed home and looked worried. 

Three years later, and Shozzie passes from cancer.  Louie is distraught.  He is alone for the first time in his long life.  After the neighbours complained about his crying during the day, I decided I needed to leave him inside.   Cleaning dog crap can’t be such a big deal, can it?  Oh, but wait, the little bugger cries at night too.  Eventually, I crack.  The poor, stupid geriatric thing can sleep in my room.  That quickly becomes “sleep in my bed” because he won’t go to the toilet in it.  Okay, I get woken occasionally, but not often.  All seems good (for a few weeks).

The other night, Louie was a shocker.  Now, I don’t sleep very well, so I tend to go to bed late. By then, I am tired and grumpy.  Being woken by a dog panting in my face (I’m thirsty, Dad) and shaking his stupid head (my ears are itchy) is not my idea of fun.  Big dog instinct cuts in.  Bugger this.  I grab the fur ball and throw him out of the front veranda. Don’t worry, his water goes out there as well.  What can go wrong?  If he poos, I’ll clean it up in the morning.  And so, I snuggle back down and drift off to la la land.  All is good.

I wake to the terrified screaming of my Rozzie.  “Louie is on the roof!”

I’m thinking, “Don’t be stupid, he can’t climb.”

“Andrew, he’s on the garage roof!”

The stupid bugger has pushed himself through the veranda railings, onto the garage roof.  Bear in mind, we are talking about a dog that is half blind and mostly deaf.  Oh look! He’s wandering around the edge of a roof right beside a big drop.  Did I mention, his back legs don’t work too well?!

Anyway, eventually Roz managed to get him off the garage roof.  He went to the Vet the next day and got stuff for his ears.  Meanwhile, I am now cooking and doing the dishes to try to make up for the fact that I didn’t actually get out of bed.   What’s worse?  - a murderous Husky, or a Silktese Terror?!

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The are lots of work as puppies and lots of work when they get old.  The 10 years in between make it worth every bit. 

Having dogs as part of your life is a privilege anyway. I never begrudged the grooming and the 'butling' nor having to book them into kennels before we made holiday arrangements for ourselves. When the last one went after 30+ years of involvement in the dog world, it was a very silent house and took me some months to come to terms with. The sound of dog claws clicking on the wood floors ... dog hair in the fridge, the laundry, the bed. No more dogs but the trip was very worthwhile.

LOL. Elaine, that makes oh so much sense to me. 

I've never had dogs so it's hard for me to relate. Just all the comments here and from friends led me to believe fathering a dog would be hard work at times, much like a parent to a child (which i am) and obviously both are rewarding otherwise we wouldn't do it!

I'd wait until your kids were a bit older - the youngest about 10.  Dogs are a kid's best friend.  They also teach them lots about life, responsibility .. and eventually death. I don't think I've ever been without a dog.  My dad gave me my first one when I had my fourth birthday.  Oh yeah, I remember it well.  

You can't possibly have kids, Craig!! Mind you, getting a puppy again has scarred me for life. I had thought, with my kids being 8 and 6, that two years ago, when we got a German Shepherd puppy that we were past getting up in the night and all of those other baby things. But no, Kirra didn't realize that dogs don't pee where they sleep, and so until she was 16 weeks old, I would have to get up every two or three hours and take her outside (or clean her up in the morning), where she would stand in the cold grass and develop stage fright and not be able to pee... However, she is now almost two and a gorgeous, if somewhat rambunctious huge girl.

One of the smartest dogs I ever owned was a lab and shepherd cross.  Your's is only two so you have another 2 or 3 years before she gets sensible.  I named my old fella "Al"  - as in Al Satian.  Cost me all of $20 because some dirty old labradore got into the prise German Shepherd next door.  LOL.  He used to know when I had a hang over (I was a tad younger then!). We'd sit on the back steps on a Saturday morning.  He'd just sigh and put his head up.  I'd rest my chin on his head and that's how we'd see the morning in.  

lol See Craig it's not just me.

Love the dog stories. Love my silly cunning old dogs, but I'm a cat person first and foremost, never been without them until this last year. I had four when I moved here off acreage and they mostly all died of old age since (one seems to have had a stroke and died in his sleep with a little smile on his face).

Can't get a kitten as I don't know what my little ratters would do with it :S They would either love it to death, or.....

My wife is a cat person and I'm happy with my chickens so it's unlikely we will get a dog unless I give in to my daughters requests...
Yes I know I look 12 but it will work to my advantage when I'm 50!

I was a bit tough with the 12 wasn't I lol. A tall 14. And yes! it will be a blessing when you're 50 to look 30.

Yeah, I'm a touch jealous to be honest. 


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