Dick Hunt's Blog

December 29, 2009

Teddy and Goldie, two collies

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Two Collies. by Dick Hunt. December 28th, 2009.
During my younger years as a hard working family member on a busy Cattle Ranch in East Central Alberta, we had a black and white male Collie Dog, which was fiercely protective of not only our family but of his turf around the Ranch.  He was of uncertain lineage but of certain character, well loved by us all and a real tail wagger. His name was Teddy.  He lived happily  with us until at the age of 17 plus he became increasingly unhealthy, with loss of most of his faculties and with obvious arthritic pain.  We had to put  him down to relieve him of his misery. One of his last adventures was to walk blindly through a large herd of adult cattle  moving swiftly through the Ranch yard to fresh pasture.  Even then he seemed to lead a charmed life.  The cattle streamed past him without touching him, some even jumping over him.
Most of the land owners where we lived operated small farms with a few milk cows and little experience of Beef Cattle.   Some of them also considered themselves to be hampered in their movements by the fences that surrounded our Ranch lands and which were critical to the operation in order to manage the cattle and the horses which were used year round.  Numbers of them spent quite a lot of time ranging freely around the country without due regard to the property of other owners, in their frequent hunting forays for Coyotes.  They had a pack of Coyote Hounds, swift and voracious and eager for pray.  On one occasion they passed through our barnyard with their horses and seven hounds and without the courtesy of asking permission, intent on their fun.  Teddy was having none of that.  He waded into the midst of them and the fury of their attack did as much harm to each other as to Teddy.  He was badly mauled by the time we were able to drive them off, while their owners seemed to relish the game. That was just one example of his fearless protection and loyalty.  He was game to the end and we loved him deeply – to the end.

The second Collie was a female and her name was Goldie.  She was the spitting image of the famous Goldie of movie fame in the Scottish story.   She came to us on the Ranch at the age of six months when our first child, Joy was six months of age. Even at  that young age she was the protector and constant shadow of our wee daughter.  If Ruth put Joy outside for fresh air, the dog was beside the basinette. Not until Joy was safely inside again did Goldie go off for a run and to chase gophers or explore. When Joy was four, Rob was born and she took on another charge with just as much dedication and zeal.  Two years on, Gail was born and again Goldie rose to the occasion  and continued her self appointed protection of her young charges.
About that time, Goldie presented us with a litter of ten pups. We had no idea that we were about to begin a new phase of pet ownership as we never made the acquaintance of the father of the ten. In any case we were soon to leave our happy Ranch life and move to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan where I would train for Ordained Ministry in the Anglican Church.  I had been more and more deeply committed to my obvious calling for a number of years and finally discovered that God would not give up His plans for my Family and me.  The pups had to be put down as we couldn’t find a home for them in the short interval between their arrival and our departure.  Goldie and our canary were the only two pets that travelled with us t0 our tiny little “Wartime House” six blocks south of the University  Of Saskatchwan on Wiggins Avenue.
Goldie was miserable from the  start.  We had a narrow back yard fenced across the back and one side and I quickly fenced the other side and made it  as secure as I could. Nevertheless, as fall closed in and the late fall storms began, our lovely pet got out and disappeared. For three weeks we prayed and looked for her return but had just about given up.  Our Son Rob heard a scratching at the door, opened it and their was Goldie, muddied and footsore and so deeply loved and welcomed.
We quickly came to the conclusion that she must have gone all the way back to the Ranch in despair of ever knowing the freedom and happiness of the great open spaces.  And truth to tell, we missed them as much as she did.  I added to the security of the backyard as much as I could and we loved Goldie back as much as we knew how.  Joy was going to school just three blocks away and from time to time our  phone would ring and it would be the school office to ask us to please collect  our dog. I was deeply into my studies,  Ruth had two little ones at home and we got to know our lovely neighbors who would baby sit while Ruth retrieved Goldie.  As time went by , Goldie had found a new job.  By actual count, there were nearly sixty pre school children in the two blocks where we lived.  Our front lawn got trampled to death from all the little children that adopted Goldie as their friend.  And she revelled in it! The parents of the Children were happy to know their Children were well cared for.
And then – it happened again.  Goldie presented us with a litter of 11 pups, in our little basement! Our Children were ecstatic but – what to do with 11 pups?  The children of the neighborhood were ever so co-operative, but the parents were more difficult.  Nevertheless, we did find good homes for ten pups, leaving us with Goldie, mourning the loss of her newest litter, except the one she loved so much.  And the family of course. And again the neighbors came to the rescue.  One couple had friends who owned a dairy farm near Indian Head Saskatchewn.  They wanted to raise Collie Pups and would be happy to give Goldie and Pup number eleven a good home. The family, looked at all sides of  the picture including of the course the best future for Goldie and her one pup. With tears and huge sighs we found a suitable wooden crate, put some straw in it, some food and water and sent them off on the train to a new home  in a new environment.  All reports showed that they were happy there from day one, well loved by  their new family. And to show her gratitude, Goldie soon  presented them with a lovely litter of Twelve pups,  How about that for a wonderful pet ?

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