Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Mischief and the three dogateers

It seems like a good day for a doggy tail... rain drips reluctantly from the dark grey sky, the temperature is breaking new cold records, the poor people in Oklahoma are struggling through their individual nightmares and in Iraq over 70 people have been killed in bomb blasts that the rest of the world little notices.

Mischief is my oldest dog, almost eleven, while the three dogateers are the youngest. They have coalesced after my crazy latest recruit, Banjo, came to us. Now he has settled in and the three have formed a gang of loopiness, Zelda, Cody and Banjo. The cold mornings make all five dogs in the pack find bounce in their legs, though Mischief's springs are a bit rusty by now. They all rush up into their paddock when let out, where the gang of three promptly fly around at top speed and maximum energy, falling over each other and playing tag around the trees and water tank.This excites the older Virginia and Mischief. Virginia, having long legs, can catch the gang and leap on them; this she finds great fun but they feel a bit squashed and rush off in different directions, to reform their running group. Mischief, being short and fat, can't catch them. Her response is to bark challenges at the entire pack. They all reply by running back towards her, all landing on her in a heap. Mischief then becomes very flat and cranky, telling them all off in no uncertain and loud manner. I then rescue her and she walks in dignified manner while the youngest three continue their morning aerobics.

Mischief came from the RSPCA at Fairfield, Brisbane. My Best Beloved Dog, Tzar, had died in February that year, and it was time to try to fill the hole in the pack. Daughter El and I went to the shelter to find a pup. That day nearly all the pups were cattle dogs and competing with each other to be the loudest; they were not for us. However there was a litter of kelpie pups, one of whom said he was mine. He was fairly similar to Tzar in appearance and tugged at my heart. he only had one competitor, a funny little girl down at the far end enclosure all on her own. Goodness knows what breeds she had in her, and a funny half a tail. She was sweet and gentle, but I was drawn to the kelpie. I asked the attendant about him, only to be told that those pups were not available. They had been seized from a property and were being assessed. They might or might not be adoptable depending on the result.

So, by default, the lonely pup down at the end became the only contender. We went back, whereupon she solemnly got off her bed and came to greet us at the fence. No barks, no carry-on, just an offer that we could have her. So we did. 

The little that was know of her story was that someone had brought her in as a stray, found by a major road on her own. Clearly she was dumped - no tiny puppy strays to the side of a highway. No other pups were seen so their fate was unknown, but Mischief was a very sick little girl. She was sent to recover from her dehydration and poor condition with a foster carer. She then went down with kennel cough and nearly died, but the devoted care she received pulled her through. As soon as she had recovered she was taken back to the shelter to be desexed and sold. Hence in her nine weeks of life she had been dumped, been taken to the RSPCA, then to the foster carer (who apparently thought her 'gorgeous'), been sick, then sick again, then desexed and sold. Her experiences marked this highly intelligent dog for life.

If I have time tomorrow (it's the day everything happens this week) I'll tell you what came next and how Mischief earned her name...

Wherever you are, stay safe and warm!

Cheers - Fliss

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