Friday, October 27, 2006

Fall project. What did you do to my bathroom?

This is Rosie the latest addition to our family. Rosie is a five year old Australian Cattle dog, she came to us or should I say she picked us one fine fall day five years ago a day my wife and I were having a yard sale. It seems like her previous owner dumped her in our neighborhood with a rosary around her neck. That was all my wife needed to see so she was one of us, it didn’t matter that we already had a dog Pepper who was older and did not like to share. I tried to give her way to friends, far away family any one, but no takers after a couple of weeks she was part of the tribe.
One day while looking at a book of dogs, I found an identical picture under Australian Cattle Dog. I had no idea about the breed. My vet confirmed the finding and preceded to tell me what great dogs they were but added she needs a job. Australian Cattle dogs are working herding dogs that persuade cattle to move by nipping at their heels. We soon found out what that met, since we had no cattle in our Miami home why not herd the next best thing, the humans and the other dog.
After showing Rosie that I was the Alpha dog in our house and herding humans was not part of the deal, I took the advise of my Vet and found her a job. Guardian and Protector of the garden. She took on to the job like a natural, she would not allow any stray cats in our neighborhood to come into the garden and soon the word got around to all the cats to stay ways from that house with the funny looking dog. She is the perfect garden dog does not dig holes respects the flower beds and does not bother the lizards, frogs and birds.
Rosie is my shadow in the garden she will sit next to me for hours while I work and does not complaint no matter how hot it is, she is always waiting for me by the front door when I come from work ready to go to work in the garden. So how do I re-pay her for all her hard work and dedication? I turned her favor bathroom place in the garden into my fall project, where soon all the grass will gone and will be replace by rocks flowers and a water feature. Oh well we have plenty of grass in other parts of the garden.

What is blooming in the garden? Cats Whiskers


El said...

Our dog is an Australian cattle dog, too. Her name is Penny. We knew the requirements of her breed when we got her, and luckily, she can run and play and herd us all on our big piece of land. They're funny dogs, that is for sure. Penny really is a "velcro dog," too, and needs to be with us (actually me) all the time. Annoying at first but now she's just my shadow.

Tea said...

Rosie`s a sweetie! Im going to be bookmarking your blog :)


Anonymous said...

Greetings from Australia at about 7pm on the eve of the new year.
I have never blogged before and was, in fact, looking for ideas on transforming an outside area into a "bathroom". Somehow you and Rosie turned up and when I saw your cattle dog. I had to say hello.
My very best, life saving, always say yes, guide through learnings about trust, love, courage and joy is my 17 year old red cattle dog Snapper.
I found her living, brave and fierce, by herself in an old shed on the farm that I was renting.
She could sit comfortably on the palm of my hand and her puppy fur was a shell of ticks and fleas. I bathed her daily, singing to her as I soaked them off. She was too small and weak for chemicals.
We have been inseparable ever since.
We have spent most of our lives together alone in the bush, walking, taking photos, getting up at 3am to play outside in the frost and sleeping together on a couch by the fire.
Circumstances have seen me move closer to the city and we now share 3 acres and she continues to defy all diagnoses that she is blind from retinal atrophy. One of the very few genetic weaknesses that cattle dogs are prone to. I didn't know that she could scarcely see!! I thought her reluctance to jump into the car and canter up and down the internal stairs was due arthritis.
How is this possible that I didn't know how bad her sight was you ask? Well Snapper has lived in the bush most of her life - swimming across rivers, running down rocks cliffs, bush walking in steep wild country and always letting me know when she needed to stop and think or take her time. In fact, much of the time, given the "go ahead" command she led me. I discovered the bush through her wonderful dog sense.
It is only in the last month or so that she has been totally unable to find and retrieve her stick from the river. (easier for dogs to see moving objects that still objects) and started asking me to clip a lead on her when we walk in unfamiliar places or when the daylight is failing. She comes up slowly beside me, walks at heel and then skips and walks on at a confident clip when I put the lead on her!
She has saved me from stepping on a death adder and found the joey that I was rearing had got caught in a fence. Her ability to learn is only limited by my willingness to spend the time to watch and listen to what she is saying. From the age of three months or so I would ask to her "show me" when she barked. I would follow her to where she led me and truly take the time to notice what it was... someone coming up the road a kilometre away, someone walking up to the gate in the dark winter rain, a snake, a rabbit, sheep disturbed in the paddock across the road. Once I knew what it was I would say thankyou and that was that. At six months I had to take her to obedience classes because she was so fiercely protective that I was concerned that she would get herself into trouble. Someone approaching from the other side of a football sized field was "too close" for her. I was fortunate to have a fantastic x- dog bomb squad trainer. He taught me to have the skill and confidence to train her to respond to the really important commands. No! Stay! Come! Go Ahead! Show me! and, for me, the really important one "Cuddle" which is how we ended our fierce growling and wrestling games. When I want the growling to stop I just say " that's enough now" and then "Cuddle" and she comes up and puts her head under my arm so I can cuddle her and stroke her tummy.
She doesn't really like having her head "patted". Bum or chest rub? Absolutely! Ears scratched? Yes please!
Snapper has never been a "fussy" dog. In fact, for a long time I used to cry because she seemed so independent but...she is ALWAYS there..just at arms length. She knows when I am sad and sick. At twelve months of age she wouldn't let the ambulance guys in to take me away - she had lay beside me for four days - I had pneumonia. I eventually had to phone someone she trusted to come and get her so the ambulance could take me to hospital.
She has never wandered away even when I have left the gate open.
I just don't know what I will do when her time comes.
She is the love of my life.
So....congratulations on getting yourself a cattle dog!
They truly are the gift of a life time.
The stories of what the have done with and for people in the Australian outback are amazing.
And yes they have an extraordinary sense of humour.
My friend Heather's mum visited, Heather, who didn't like her mother at all, escaped outside to the horses. 45 minutes later she returned looking for her mother. We eventually found her in the toilet. Snapper had posted herself at the door and wouldn't let her out! No barking or growling- just the cattle dog "eye".
She still rides on the front seat with her "arm" on the arm rest and her gaze firmly fixed on the driver of the car beside us.
She rearranges the pillows on the bed so that he has her arm on the pillow that she has placed beside herself.
This is crazy- I didn't realise that I had so much to say about Snapper and the wonder that is Australian cattle dogs.
I hope you have a great life together.
very best wishes
Clare and Snapper