Monday, June 8, 2009

The five year plan.

My sister wrote me this morning. She has a mini horse farm that also houses various other animals. When the boys were growing up they were in 4-H. One in sheep, t'other in dogs. As animals tend to do, one led to another, and they were soon breeding border collies. Very nice border collies that worked the sheep. She then got a big white Maremma dog as a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) to make sure that coyotes and wandering dogs and other critters kept away from the horses and sheep. (Maddie is very old now.)

One of the Border Collie litters had a problem. Two of the pups were quite ill. One of them, Emma, was their "keeper" of the litter. Little Emma had a huge problem. She had multiple seizures, bouts of severe diarrhea and loss of function and appetite. The vets could not figure out what was wrong with this itty bitty pup. After many bouts, dear Emma continued to fight and she was diagnosed with Equine Ehrlichia, which was unheard of in our area. (She has saved a few dogs and is now on the records at the vet school in the state.) She went in to remission with prophylactic antibiotics. However, the disease had really taken a toll on her poor little body. She was quite small and fox-like. She had severe arthritis at a young age. But dear Emma just kept "keeping on."

The farm moved a few months shy of a year ago. As they were moving a new LGD was given to them. Alex. A fantastic, beautiful Great Pyrenees that would take over from aging Maddie.

Alex was everything anyone could ask for in a LGD. Gentle with anyone and anything, yet looked ferocious. If one got too near, the risk was in getting slimed, not bitten. Alex befriended dear Emma and became her personal protector and guide dog. Little Emma was blind by the time the move occurred. The biggest dog on the place, was "bestest" friends to the littlest dog. She looked to him, and he was always with her.

Until a bit over a week ago. The heat spell we had claimed Alex. I cried then, and I cry now. There was something incredibly special about Alex, and the same can be said of Emma.

Today another note from my sister. Emma is gone. Again I cry. Emma missed her guide dog. She somehow wandered into one of the pastures and when trying to find her way out got hit by the hot wire. In her fear she got tangled in it. She was so stressed that she had a relapse and the Ehrlichia kicked in. She was no longer able to fight.

I believe that my sister is right. Alex met her at the Rainbow bridge. His job has changed now from guide dog to big brother. Emma finally has a healthy, pain free body. She can run and play without hurting. Her world is perfect and she will be waiting when our time here is over.

My sister is also right in that one should not have animals that are the same age. Barring "accidents" they will all go to the bridge in close succession. I saw it happen with the dogs that I brought here. In a matter of three years they were all gone. It seems like I would just start to heal from the loss of one and the next would leave.

So here I sit, corwyn at my feet. Two dogs that are almost exactly one month in age difference. Kate celebrated her second birthday last month, and Henry last week. I'm thinking that five years down the line I will be getting another dog..

God speed Alex and Emma. I miss you both. I loved you both.


No comments: