Candy - A Honey of a Dog
Such a Long Wait for My Very 'Own' Dog
Many life happenings conspired to create the 10 year gap from when my sweet Kim died until I was able to get a puppy again.
First Mum and Dad and myself moved to a new home, and they didn't want another dog. Then I married, and our early years were in rental properties in two Australian States that didn't permit dogs - until at last, we were moving to the country, and joy of all joys... I could have a dog again.
And waiting for me in a pet shop, was my 'honey child'. Her name was instantaneous - the sweetest puppy I had seen just had to be called 'Candy'. I have no photos of her as a baby, so you have no idea what a roly-poly golden girl she was, with the biggest, softest brown eyes. What a love.
In this photo, she has been trying desperately to feed her large family and this was the only time in her life she was skinny.
This City Slicker
. . . made a 'Tree Change' too.
Out of puppyhood now, but in this photo, she looks so little in the 'Great Outdoors' that existed beyond the house verandah.
She loved farm-life and all the smells and sounds of the wonderful world of Nature that surrounded her. And every creature she met was another friend to be played with and licked half to death.
This was no watchdog. Candy would have let a burglar take everything we possessed, and given him a kiss goodbye. This was her role in life - to live, love and help to rear anything that needed a little encouragement to take the next breath.
Always Willing - . . . to be a Foster Mother
After her experience with aiding and abetting the raising of her 'special' kangaroo - Ooroo the Kangaroo, Candy figured she could co-raise anything known to man. And she promptly went about this in her usual motherly/sisterly fashion to the great delight of all recipients, who would follow her and me everywhere we went. (I can tell you, getting through the door to the famous outside toilet without all the 'followers' was quite a trick. An art form, almost.)
In this family pic, Candy and I are sharing a memorable moment with the current baby goat (or kid), a lamb or two, and a heap of white goats in the background. (No, I didn't raise them - our boss/friend had brought a heap of feral goats back from further North in 'station' country, to mate with a pedigree 'Bill' he owned - a highly successful undertaking)
. . . to be a dog? or what?
Here's the pictorial proof of Candy always being ready for a play with all creatures 'great and small' - especially her 'big sister' (actually neighbour from across the road - and several paddocks - Lassie).
So many of our 'babies' raised together over the years, had little conception of exactly what species they were - nor did they care. The varieties have been amazing. Dogs, cats, kangaroos, horses, wallabies, lambs, goats, emus, and calves. All 'our family'. Pure gold experiences.
How rich and lucky have we been?
There's 'Mothering' - . . . and then there's Motherhood +
One fairly ordinary day when we had gone to 'town' (28 kms away) for some shopping and mail post and pickup, we left Candy locked inside the Kitchen. We had a feeling she was maybe about to come 'in heat' for the first time (i.e. most likely point of her oestrus cycle to mate successfully). We were actually quite unprepared for this to be the time yet, believing her to be far too young. But 'just in case', we put her out of harm's way...or so we thought!
(The Kitchen is the two window 'add-on' building with chimney on the left - see how high the windows are?)
We came home to find the Kitchen empty, and the kitchen sink under the window looking like a bomb had hit it - a dish-drainer full of crockery, cutlery and saucepans had been overturned and broken all over the cupboard and floor. The heavy window was pushed much further open than how I had left it for reasonable air flow, and the flyscreen was ripped off completely. Initially, it looked as though we had been burgled - through the Kitchen window. (Which would have been novel, because when I said 'locked' I actually meant 'closed' - because we never locked the house in the whole time we lived there. If there had been a burglar, he need only walk straight in front or back door!)
After the first breathless, stunned moments wore off, we realised there was no Candy in the Kitchen. It just seemed impossible - the window over the sink above the cupboards would have proved insurmountable for a little dog like her. Ha! Not true - as we discovered some hours later when she returned - bedraggled, woebegone, with guilt written on her sweet face as though stamped with a burning brand.
We've all heard of Romeo and Juliet and the balcony, but this was the case of a Mystery Marauder and Candy and the windowsill. We never did find out who the faceless father of her children was - other than being a total 'fly by night' thief who left her to face a swelling stomach and subsequent motherhood on her own. (Well, not quite - I was with her all the way, including the birth).
It Was Tough For Us
. . . but Someone Had to Do It!
Candy was 'restless' from early morning and hanging extremely low - truly a belly on legs. I made a 'bed' for her of old jumpers and towels - and she would scratch a bit, and turn around six times, and lay down, and get up again - and repeat, and repeat, over and over.
And finally her contractions started in earnest. The first head appeared, and she had no idea what was happening -except that it was hurting her - badly. She couldn't help herself - she actually twisted herself around, ready to bite the first-born - and would have done, I' m sure, if I hadn't quickly moved this first one out of reach, until she was too preoccupied with the next - and the next. She took some big 'panting' moments between - and also started washing these first tiny faces, clearing their mouths and noses . . . with just a little help. This was why my hands and my scent were the first 'other mother' the babies all knew, and loved, and depended on.
It seemed this birthing would never end. Can you believe 8 babies? Candy couldn't - and nor could I. Several were already nuzzling her teats as she was still giving birth to the later ones, until, finally - Candy could lay back, and I could sit back - and all the kids had a bellyful of Candy's milk, and fell asleep, in a line, still attached to her teats.
TOO Young to Mother
. . . all these babies
Candy was too young to produce all the milk the babies needed and within days it was necessary for me to supplement her milk with warm, fresh cow's milk.
The photo suggests I was probably telling her - "Don't worry Candy - this milk will be for ALL of us to share - some for us two-leggeds, and a whole lot for you and your four-leggeds! And you can't get it fresher than this - direct from 'moo' to you!"
Each one was started on the same bottles and teats I used for my baby kangaroos, but were quickly taught to drink from a bowl, led there by sucking on my fingers. You have no idea of the mess eight eager puppies can make - slurping, shoving, slipping, slopping, sliding - until every last drop was gone, and the bowl cleaned until it sparkled.Then, at last the little horrors would be exhausted and have to sleep a while, with great bloated bellies - usually starting in a heap together, then rolling off and ending up in all manner of inelegant poses on their backs, with legs every which way.
Couldn't Have Made It - . . . without a little help from a young 'Gran'!!
Look at dear little mother Candy in the bottom left hand corner of the photo, watching gratefully as I give her some 'time out' and R&R. And force myself to share some play and nuzzle time with the babies. And smell their delicious baby puppy breath. I can close my eyes and smell that sweet scent anytime. Do you know it? Better than the most expensive perfume invented.
By the look of this photo, it's highly debatable who is having the most fun.
There's No. 8 - . . . hiding around the side of the rainwater tank
And it's baby Gypsy (lost in the shadows on the right) - and she's the one we're keeping. (Little did we know the 'keeping' would be for the next15 years! Her story is yet to come). The rest of her siblings all went to loving homes - one pair to the same home. Wonder how many had such a long and happy life as Gypsy? But then she had the added bonus of the love and care of her mother (& 'Gran'), all the days of her life.
This rainwater tank features in the 'family' saga, also. I just mentioned about the problems entering doors - well - you should have seen the procedure for getting into the house through the back door - right near the tank. At this particular time I was raising a couple of kangaroos, an orphan piglet, two lambs and a goat, plus co-raising Candy's eight puppies. It proved near impossible to get through the door without trapping a little body or two in the door, plus a few uninvited guests actually 'making it' through.
The only solution was to run around the tank three times and keep running to the door and through it. Fiendish chuckles as I watched the confused babies all frantically searching for me somewhere out of sight around the tank. They figured if they ran around enough times and yelled my name loudly enough in their own particular languages, they would find me. Well no, they didn't . . but it was funny.
Dog-lovers Warning... - Resist if you CAN!
Just Have to Love Puppies - ... look at these cute books for kids.
All Good Things Must End
. . . ALL
When we began our dairy-farming career, we 'inherited' a tiny old corrugated iron farmhouse, that had no carpets (and many other 'essentials' were missing, also). Because of this, and the bitterly cold Winter we experienced that first year - for the first and only time, our dogs were allowed in at night. (Normally, it would require 'sick dog status' for a farm dog to be allowed inside at all).
And so, there came a night when we were finally relaxing in front of the TV and fire - milking all done, animals all fed (us too!) - husband in his faithful old rocker/recliner, and myself stretched out on the Lounge - when Candy suddenly came to me, lifting my arm with her nose. . . and quivering strangely, with a worried expression in those big brown eyes.
Our normal practice, before bed, was to let both Candy and Gypsy out for a last 'whatever', and so we just figured Candy had an 'urgent call' a little earlier this night. . . or maybe she wanted to be sick. She was such a 'clean and well-mannered' little lady - she would have been deeply humiliated to make a mess.
So, off they went, into the dark, just as normal. The difference this night was that only one came back - Gypsy. We never saw Candy again - and nor did anyone else. We waited. . . and called. . . and searched - that night, and for many days and weeks afterwards. And our neighbours all kept an eye out wherever they went in their own paddocks or bush areas.
But we never found her body. . . and we never knew what happened to her. Maybe a snake or a spider bite that had taken a while for her body to react to? Maybe she had eaten some slow-acting poison? She certainly had no illness beforehand, and had, in fact, eaten a hearty dinner, as always. Gypsy grieved with us - openly for a long time - and privately, forever.
Finally, there was no escaping the fact that Candy would never come home to us again.
I waited SO long for this precious girl - ...but I can still wait some more
- for the Rainbow Bridge