“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged
by the way its animals are treated.”
As a door closed in 2000 others opened. Through one, the animals entered. Dogs, horses, cats, sheep and the meeting with their minds has been extraordinary as well as a learning curve. Living with the animals in small packs, herds or flocks has been an insight to how the wild animal persists in the domestic version especially the dogs and horses.
It is now 2022 and some have crossed the rainbow bridge while others have arrived to make their impression on my life.
THOR and BERO
Moving on. New tracks. New paw prints.
My Border Collie born October 2013 on a farm in North Devon. His father is a working sheepdog and his mother now a family pet. Thor is a live wire and needs lots of activity to keep him busy. The most obedient of all my dogs, loyal, dependable and inclined to be territorial. After the loss of Ottar and Kai we had nine months building our bond further. In September 2016 we were both ready to welcome Bero.
My young Belgian Shepherd Dog born July 2016, Llanelli, Wales. The only dog I have taken from a breeder and a good, ethical one. BSDs are extraordinary dogs and I was lost without one in my life. I tried hard to find one that was a rescue but there were none at the time. Bero is his own dog with all the best traits of his breed. Now aged 5 years old he has made some big paw prints in my life. Bright, playful, protective and friendly, like his predecessor, his human is his project.
Late summer 2017
Hampshire - July 2016
Late summer 2017
OTTAR and KAI
Not long after moving to Canada in 2005, two dogs, Ottar and Kai, entered my life. Together we would travel across thousands of kilometres.
My devoted Belgian Shepherd Dog (Groenendael) was born in Alberta, Canada. He came to me as a rescue age fifteen months in 2005 three months after I moved to live there.
Pack leader, good with horses and sheep, very protective. This dog was a star, super-intelligent and very typical of his breed.
He was my soul mate, protector and best companion with his unique sense of humour. One in a million.
My Retriever/Spaniel cross, born on a farm in Alberta, Canada, April 2008. The runt of the litter, he came to live with Ottar and me age seven weeks. In his life he had a few health problems of which one was Congenital Glaucoma necessitating the removal of his right eye in 2013. The left eye was removed in 2015. Kai's capacity for adaption to using his nose as his 'eyes' along with Ottar at his side was extraordinary. A sweet, gentle character, he loved human and dog companionship and a good snooze.
Le Gers, France - Aurumn 2010
Alberta, Canada - June 2008
Swansea, Wales - September 2015
Le Gers, France - Aurumn 2010
Ottar crossed the rainbow bridge on 19th November 2015 after a very short illness with cancer. Six weeks later, Kai, who had had several health problems joined him.
My boys and I had travelled thousands of miles together on two continents and their loss was devastating.
Thor missed them too and became my close companion throughout 2016. Ottar and Kai left some large paw prints for those that follow and their absence is felt even now.
Having grown up with dogs, cats and a rabbit, later with my children we had several rabbits. It was part of our education to learn that, like us, each animal is an individual and acknowledge their needs. That animals need food, shelter and, at times, medical care like us their human counterparts. As well as an avid interest in animal wildlife documentaries, inspired early on by Sir David Attenborough, animal welfare always permeated our consciousness as a family.
In a world awash with the immediacy of social media, news of animal extinction and abuse seems of epidemic proportions globally. The hardest lesson of all, however, is to realise, then accept, that one person cannot save them all. All we can do is donate what we can and sign every petition asking for changes in the law for animals.
TOUZI and BITZI
Touzi and Bitzi were my Ouessant sheep. Touzi was born in Brittany (2010) and Bitzi in Normandy (2012). They were neutered to be 'wethers' so could live with ewes. When they went to stay permanently on a Devon farm they lived happily in a ewe flock. They got along well with the dogs and horses. The breed is not for meat and they are traditionally kept for their beautiful fleeces.
Click on image for more about Ouessants.
The story of our Spanish Mustangs can be found at their website with link to Facebook. Click on logo (below) to go to website.