Man’s best friend

A lover of dogs all of my life, our family has always had one or two around us. And I have to say, they were a wonderful addition to our life. As I grew over the years, I learned more about having a dog as a pet and I was able to give them more of what they needed, love, exercise, food and plenty of family interaction. In return , I received loving, loyal pets.
When we brought our first husky into our home nine years ago, we called her Skye because of her beautiful blue eyes. She also had a sandy coloured coat. Skye was a very good puppy from the start, she house trained really well and behaved like a Royal lady in our home. She was so regal. Skye was to be the leader or Alpha female of our other dogs. She would take all their food first and all of their bones and toys. She would want the first hugs from us as she came into the kitchen each morning. She loved playing with Pongo, our King Charles, because he was clever enough to let her be boss. She constantly picked on Buster, our West Hiland terrior, because he was dumb enough to try to hold his own corner. Sadly, five years ago, those two little guys passed on and Skye had sole rights over her kingdom.
She was really cute. She loved rubber balls, to eat. It was the strangest thing, she just loved to eat rubber! Every squeaky toy or ball would soon be demolished by Skye. She would be all excited at the thoughts of her delight.
Thinking she might need a pal we brought home Storm, a seven month old huskie with one blue eye and one brown. He had a black and white coat. His owners were a young couple who were emigrating and they had given him lots of love. So we had no worries about bringing this guy among our own seven year old daughter. Storm was so funny. We definitely thought that he had ADHD because he was so hyper and anxious. He almost talked to you in a moany type howl, to let you know what he wanted. He needed lots of exercise and runs without a lead. He was so happy to be given the luxury of regular runs by the beach, in the mountains or whereever we went, that he rewarded us with    great loyalty. He always checked if he could see me on our walks.

We brought our third huskie into our lives two and a half years ago. He had been on tv3 from dogs    
trust looking for a home. He was the only white one of the liter and he was deaf in one ear. Of course
we had to have him and we fell immediately in love with him. We called him Solas or ‘sully’ for short. He was the most adorable little guy.
 Skye took to him like he was her puppy and Storm was happy enough to have a new pal to play with
In the first few months, it did appear that he was deaf as he didn’t seem to here us, but Yasmin and Sarah spent all their time playing with him and loving him and then it seemed he was able to here as he was able to follow instructions in the house or outside. He would here a biscuit wrapper open instantly and I was amazed as I knew he had a great eye sense.
I figured in the last while that he only had one deaf ear as they lay flat on our walks while the other stood up always on the alert.
Three huskies are very strong to handle on walks but it didn’t deter me. I took them everywhere and ran them freely in the fields beside me. They loved running in the fields and chased each other around playfully. I just had to be careful they didn’t knock me down as they ran back and forward around me.
They’re strength would be the same as a motor bike if they hit you on full speed!

Skye was the boss and young Sully would chase her everywhere. Unfortunately he chased after her  this past January into the main road from the far end of the field. I heard him Yelp in pain and I initially thought he had ran into a trap of a sort as I didn’t realise they could get out into the road, but my heart ached when I walked towards his squeals and saw him hobble back into field with his leg dangling. Once he realised I saw him, he stopped where he was in obvious pain.
I had to run into the road and get him help as I couldn’t carry him myself and a lovely old man and a young chap came to help me. I was devastated that my little guy was in so much pain and I feared that he would lose the leg. But thankfully, although the vet told me the leg was smashed, he did a great job in an operation and had him as good as knew in a few months. He was so cute with his bandaged leg and relished all the extra attention from Yasmin if that was possible as she loved him already so much. We left him sleep in the kitchen from then on because we didn’t want the other guys to rough play with him. Each morning I came into the kitchen and he would be there wagging his tail
waiting for his hugs. I would say, ‘where’s the baby? Where’s the baby?’ He would stand up beside me
and hug my legs. When I let the other two in, they would all run for a place at my legs, delighted to   see me and get a hug.                                                                                                                                    

We realised in the past couple of years that Skye was a hunter. She liked to catch rabbits, cats and other small animals and one time while I was walking her in the fields, I saw her grab a baby calf into the ditch. She was just about to go at it and Sully was right behind her and Storm came too, but I let such a racket the dogs left her and the calf was able to escape unharmed. I talked the the farmer after that and he kindly told me to just keep them away during calf season. Once the calves were big enough they would be well able for the dogs.
I was very grateful and did what he asked.
I had been walking them on the lead for a good while and a lovely lad from our road also walked them fro me. They loved to see him coming. They knew he would have treats for them after their
walk.
I went back to the field this past Wednesday. The dogs were so excited and ran into the field excitedly and then that’s when two of my dogs prescious lives ended.
It all happened so quickly. Skye ran off ahead of me with Sully at her heals. Storm was running and jumping rough the growth playfully. I followed the other two into the patchy field behind the secondary school. It wasn’t ideal for a long run, but it was better than a walk on a lead.
I knew Skye and Sully would be way ahead me now, possibly looking for pheasant or wild rabbits. To my dismay, I saw a sheep. There had never been sheep there before and my dogs had never been in an area where there were sheep, but I knew Skye had gone for one. I could here branches breaking in the bushes before me but I didn’t have the guts to in after them. I thought if they had a sheep in the last four minutes it would be too late. I took Storm home and called for help. I knew if my dogs had a sheep that they would have to be put down . But I wanted it done quickly humanely.
Instead, the farmer hit my dogs with a shovel and sent them running off scared. And it was a couple
of more hours till they were actually put down , but I know my dogs knew that something bad was going to happen to them.
I am actually an animal lover and sympathise with the poor sheep also. I explained to my heartbroken
children that unfortunately, we couldn’t have our dogs if we weren’t able to control them and they had become wild. And acts like that from dogs scare people. Would they turn on a newborn baby?
But, it is the saddest thing.
I feel that I failed my dogs in giving them so much freedom. The only comfort we have is knowing that while they were in our family, they were so loved and cherished.
 That every moment of their life was happy and fulfilling and they gave us so much love.
Jean xxx

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