Today is Spotty’s birthday. She is 14 years old. On waking she had lots of stroking and kissing from Mary her Mistress. Mary sang ‘Happy Birthday To You’ twice.
After breakfast she opened her present. Only one you say? But just wait and see.
After breakfast Spotty went with Mary for her walk. First they called in at the Library. The staff there know her and she was made a fuss of.
Next they went and sat outside their local cafe’. The sun was out but still a bit cold. People passed and Spotty watched.
The final visit was to her favourite pet store. In here Mary bought her 2 new placemats and again much fuss was made and she was given some treats.
On the way home we walked along the canal. The large puddles were now drying out. We stopped to speak to an owner of a black collie dog who was only 2 years old.
Once home as the sun was still out Spotty spent time in the garden.After dinner it clouded over and she came in and as I write she is resting and waiting for her birthday tea.
Here is some writing I found the other day about Spotty.
This how I think Spotty saw the situation.
A visit back to her farm in 2008 brought back these memories
Joy, oh joy. Hey this is familiar. Spotty ran into the barn. Sniffing, she re-called the common smells of the place where her life began. Her first unsteady steps taken, Playing with her brother and sister, now gone to another farm, and her sister, since died. Oh, and there was the bench where Jan and Mary had sat, getting to know the family.
How she remembered the way she’d tried so desperately to get Mary’s attention to go and live with her. Working on the farm was not her choice. Instinct had implied there was a better life elsewhere.
But it had happened. Her sister, Katy, when old enough to leave Mum, had gone with Mary. She remembered the visits when Katy and Mary came back. Katy had told her all about the ‘town’ life. Being put on a lead, which she detested, and taken for walks. Back at the house, so boring! No sheep, no grassy slopes, no rabbit holes to explore, none of her family, In fact, no place to roam freely, nothing, absolutely nothing but sit outside in a fenced off area watching birds and tame cats.
Spotty exchanged news of ‘farm life’. Her relations had constantly annoyed her. She experienced a bad run in with one particular sheep. When rounding up it suddenly turned and stared into Spotty’s face, telling her in no uncertain terms to ‘leave me and the rest of my sheep family alone!’ From that day to this Spotty always showed kindness to other sheep.
After that first visit it was decided they would swap places. Humans were stubborn and a lot of working out had to be done. But they were determined. So at each of the visits they planned and many ways were tried out but in gentle manner. The last thing they wanted was to hurt the Humans.’
Katy was stubborn with Mary. She was taken to training classes where she just slid all over the floor. She pinched things off the table, stole from the plates, chewed everything she could find. Despite all this nothing worked! Once she devoured nearly a whole bottle of cod liver oil pills. But that only resulted in being starved for a day and a shiny coat.
Out on daily walks she would she would pull and tug on the lead. Mary told her constantly to stop pulling but she took no notice. In one ear and out of the other as the saying is.
Then there was the time she was off the lead walking up the mountain path. She sensed at the top a field where lots of sheep were grazing.
What she did next Katy anticipated would make Mary see that her life was to be a farm working dog. She rushed on ahead and as it was up hill Mary was much slower. By the time Katy reached the top instinct took over and became really involved in rounding up the sheep. She did not hear Mary calling as concentration was focused on ‘sheep’. This work she loved doing.
On the next visit to Jan’s Katy reported how Mary had re-acted. It was decided she would have to give her a nasty bite, enough to cause treatment at the hospital. She had been giving her ‘nips’, but to no effect. Drastic action and her ‘nips’ were harder and it done the trick. She was ignored for the next few days. Only being given food and let outside to do her business. The love that was given to Katy was stopped. Luckily this treatment did not last long. She was put in the back of the car and transported back to the farm.
Spotty was not around when Katy arrived as she was out with Gethin in the van. Had she known when the swap was to be she would have stayed behind? Arriving back she recognised the grey metro car and Katy inside.
And so the swap happened. The collar and lead were taken off Katy and put on Spotty. She had always wanted a collar. It felt real cool. Jumping into the car she waited while the ‘goodbyes’ were exchanged.
At first the farm and other dogs were missed but soon faded into the past.
She cried a lot but Mary gave her lots of love and Spotty returned the same by being obedient, house trained and never straying far from Mary’s side when out walking. So the sadness disappeared as Spotty and Mary bonded.
Joining the group they walked over the yard. Behind the barn door a host of memories came flooding back. Everyone inside began to chat and reminisce.
Spotty saw the opposite door leading to the grassy area. The pups had managed to make a hole to escape through, but plans were thwarted when Jan had blocked it up.
Through the barn door and out to the grassy area where she had romped with the other dogs and familiarised herself with ‘sheep and lambs’.
Spotty felt excited at remembering things of the past yet safe with her time with Mary.
Now came the cow-shed. Look the cows were in there too. Sad to say it was here where her sister had been kicked by one of the cows and met an untimely death.
Mmm, a smell of manure. Perfect.
Stepping into the lambing shed. Spotty reluctantly followed everyone. Oh how she hated being in this place. She remembered that it was here the sheep had spoken severely to her.
From then on sheep were avoided sheep and more time by spent wandering the fields and getting round Gethin or Idris to take her out in the van.
Last year’s lambs were in the pens, waiting to go to market. At least they only went half way up the shed before turning back.
Spotty hastily retreated out of the barn followed by the others. Out on the yard the air was cold as everyone continued the brisk walk over the familiar fields.
Carrie, Jan’s dog, and Spotty ran and jumped over ditches. Above two Kites were flying. Back at the farm, time to say good-bye and see you again soon very soon.