Taffy Was An Aussie
Well-ll-ll... OUR Taffy was! Absolutely Australian, not Welsh
But the famed 'Taffy' was a Welshman - and the old-time rhyme goes a bit like this -
'Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief,
Taffy came to my house and stole a leg of beef!
I went to Taffy's house,
But Taffy wasn't home....
All that was left was a large beef bone!'
Ahh-hh-hh, what can I say....my beautiful, baby Taffy WAS a thief' (just like her Welsh namesake!)
..she was also brave, and intelligent, and loyal, and faithful.
And... she would have given her life for us -and nearly did... a couple of times.
You Should Have Seen Her
...as I First Saw Her
...reminds me of a song, somehow? Doesn't the next line go something like this -
"Oh, Oh, Oh what a girl.... and this fair lassie ... etc, etc,"
Well-ll--ll, this particular 'lassie' was a tiny, cowering, shivering 'handful' ball of black fur, attempting to hide in the far corner of a HUGE cage in a suburban pet shop.
The man of our house said a most definite '"NO", but my female wiles and wheedling abilities were more enchanting and persuasive in those faraway days. Together, baby Taffy and I formed a formidable front.
Did I mention that it was near impossible to find front from back of this tiny black 'dynamo'? Which way was up - or even front? THAT was question! But two tiny but 'star-like' button eyes provided the twinkling answer.
Taffy Came to Our House
...as a Most Welcome Family Member
...fitting into my two cupped hands on the long homeward journey in our car - finally quitting shivering as she seemed to realise her salvation WAS complete. She had a family of her own again, AT LAST!
Kanute, my husband, wanted to name her 'Scruffy' - but I thought this just terrible for such a sweet little bundle. And so she was 'Taffy' - and inevitably, almost equally Scruffy - or Scruffs - or even 'Hey you'.
Her loving nature was such that she would answer to absolutely anything!
But Back to the Beginnings
This was a sick baby puppy. Maybe 6 weeks old (?) as claimed - certainly too young to have left her birth-Mum and home. Certainly only able to survive on that great, previously tested, 'roo' saviour - goats' milk powder. Once again, my trusty 'life-preserver' wove its magic - and Taffy survived.
Not accepted at first by her big sister, Gypsy - but, following warning growls, occasional harmless nips, and many aggro reactions and then finally just pained looks - Gypsy admitted defeat, and accepted the intruder as second-in-command. Most definitely inferior, and subordinate - but obviously loved by Mum and Dad, and therefore essential to be adopted, however unwillingly.
Taffy licked Gypsy's nose, and most gratefully and gracefully accepted her designated role in Life at the Larsens.
**NB** This is NOT a real photo of Taffy, but if you would picture the white parts changed to solid Black (except for her chest blaze - and I reckon I remember maybe a tip of white on the end of her tail), this is our gorgeous girl - absolutely! And that dumb, 'love you to death' expression in the eyes? Oh-h-h YES!
And So She Grew
...and became a Cow-girl
And in our dairy-farming days, where she began her farming 'career', she was unsurpassed for herding abilities in the dirt-yard, just immediately prior to them stepping up onto the concrete dairy yard.
This dirt-yard was not idly named. After being trampled by 60+ cows x 4 heavy hooves each, twice a day, plus countless kilos of cow manure, etc., it seriously WAS a dirt-yard (and that is the polite description, truly!)
Suffice it to say that our dog, Gypsy (her with the four white feet), would turn back at the gateway to this yard, with first a refusal to meet your eyes (with pronounced 'hang-dog' body language), followed by an absolute refusal to navigate the dirt-yard, as she performed a slinking-type retreat to the house-yard area. Not for her the chore of licking clean those abominable feet. Oh no!
But Taffy? The long-haired terrier, the girl who should have led a cosseted existence in a city or suburban home somewhere?
Well-ll-ll. Nobody had informed her of this,and so in she plunged, barking and nipping at slovenly heels, keeping those cows moving along until they were safely barricaded in their concrete yard, all ready for their milking.
And then - and only then - she would jump into their water trough. Never mind how cold or wet the weather, just get in there and wash off the worst of her mud-bath! What a trooper, what a comedian. You just had to love her - smell and 'dags' and all.
And 'adopted' our kids - ...one by one, just as we did
Don't you love the resolution of old photos?
This 'charmer' was taken on the ultimate latest of its time - the Polaroid 'Instant' Camera, complete with ready mounted photo in white cardboard frame.
You cannot imagine what a 'breakthrough' this was...especially after a lifetime of taking photos, using up the film, carefully opening and packaging the reel, sending it to Kodak, and then waiting - and waiting, for its return. And then finding out less than half were even part-way reasonable!!
Some parts of the 'good old days' were questionable, to say the least!
And Another Role
...as a Shearing Shed 'Angel'
Taffy LOVED the whole world - except for sheep (and our bull, but that's another story)
Whenever it was shearing time, she would wriggle into the 'crawl' space beneath the slatted floor of our small shearing shed, and bark, and bark, and growl - and bark some more at these 'threats' to our security and well-being. Somehow she had doggedly decided these sheep were out to get us, by hook or by crook. (Hang on. Wasn't that Little Bo-Peep? Or that other 'crook' - Little Boy Blue?)
Our only solution was to tie her up, well before the event - and make sure this was done most securely. Forgot to mention, her middle name was 'Houdini' - the major escape artist. Taffy could have given him a run for his money, I promise you.
How I wish I had photos - but finances limited much in those days.
Taffy wasn't much of a reader
... but I'm sure she would have agreed with the sentiments expressed in these books.
But Her Bull-Baiting Skills
...were QUITE an experience, believe me!
There was a day when my husband was working in the city, kids at school, and I was home alone on the farm. Well, the bull broke out and went trotting up the road to go see the 'new talent' that were spreading their scent most deliciously from the other side of the (steep) hill. I went after him in my car of the day, a tiny Mazda, and tried to head him off and back home, with much tooting of the horn, and revving of the engine. He was not amused - and finally turned on me and Maz, and proceeded to start pawing the dirt road, preparatory to 'charging' us. To say I was scared was an understatement - I was petrified!
Then, what should I see, charging across the paddock below? A whirling dervish in black. A vision of something seriously similar to a speeding bullet! It was ...Taffy to the rescue! She had heard and read my distress, and she was a Mutt on a Mission - to save her Mother!
The bull saw her coming and turned to face her. Undaunted, Taffy spun around in her tracks, leapt into the air, latched onto the bull's tail, and swung, growling viciously the whole time. He kicked and he lunged. He snorted and he pawed. He did everything in his power to dislodge this...this...leech! But nothing worked.
He had no choice finally, but to beat a retreat to the gateway to his paddock. And now, she released her bulldog-like grip, and proceeded to yap at his heels and chase him vigorously home.
What a girl! What a heroine! And did she get much praise and special treaties of every kind I could imagine? Oh yes. BIG time!
And the story was spread far and wide ... of the little 'Scruffs' who believed she was a Bull-fighter extraordinaire!
A Sudden End that hurt a Lot
... but now, I'm glad you didn't suffer, my little 'Scruffs'
Taffy died in our garage one day.
The kids rushed in saying, "Taffy's sick. Taffy's bleeding everywhere."
And she was - haemhorraging, it seemed from every opening. There was no time to phone the vet or assist in any way at all.
There was only time to hold her dear face and head in my arms, and say the briefest 'goodbye' - and she was gone.
It was terrible at the time. Only much later have I come to the place where I am thankful it was so fast and painless for her.
I would never have wanted to witness this brave little soul suffering long, drawn-out pain and eventual death.
She died as she had lived ... fast and full of spirit. Oh-h-h Taffy.
Have to see My Best Photo of Taffy - ...once again
Oh Taffy, my honey-bunch - if only it were today, I would have SO many photos of you.
But we both know just how many are indelibly printed in my memories.
(How come the heart hurts so much at moments like this? It's only a big muscle that pumps, isn't it? Hmm-m-m.)
Are we humans not incredibly blessed to share our lives with SO many amazing characters?