I'm a bit sad today. I had to say goodbye to an old friend yesterday. My Reddi Dog. A Red Aussie Healer that I've had around since she was a Pup.
I trained her...or rather she trained me. But she was my faithful companion wherever I went when she could attend. My Mom (& Stepdad who thankfully moved away) have a place outside of town. I ended up moving in to help out when he'd had his Coronary back in 2000. It wasn't bad but they needed help around their small farm. Hay, Livestock, Horses etc. He brought home a little Aussie pup from one of the auctions that he was "given" and somehow she decided I was the boss.
Probably because I was around the livestock all day. Llamas and St. Croix sheep. Being a cattle dog and a little one at that, I trained her not to latch on with her teeth as Aussies will do when they're working with Cattle.
Her first trip for Hay was fun. She wasn't much for going for "rides" at first and this first trip was fun. In a single cab flatbet pickup driving between 35-45mph on a gravel road it can get a bit exciting. Try it with a 40lb squirming dog trying to crawl in your lap for comfort. Not TOO bad when you know she's on the way. But when you're concentrating on the Road and traffic? Big no no. She got a polite swat on the rump and a stern NO! from the driver. From then on she never did it again.
Most of the property doesn't have fencing. Not even between neighbors. Stock have their own pens and we have Whitetail up here. She didn't like them because they weren't in their pens. She'd chase them all if you gave her her head. But she never left the edge of the property. except when the Boss went for a walk with the rifle in tow. I never took her hunting but she'd sit by my side when I did target shooting down in the low lying creek bed and wouldn't move til it was time to go inside or feed. She would chaase those pesky deer off the property turn 180 and wipe her back paws in their direction and trot back, her job done for the day. A habit that I just didn't even try to break her of. Deer a carriers of Ticks, Fleas and Mange up here. Surprisingly enough she never caught a Tick came up with fleas and her Coat was shiny right up to her final day.
She never wore a leash in her entire life. Ever. We'd go into town and she would sit in the truck with the window down and not leave it... well she tried once but got that one swat that and a stern NO! and that's all it took. IMy Reddi Dog was nothing if not a quick study of my gate. She loved to chase tennis balls thrown in the yard and when had enough would bring it back, lay down and hold onto that sucker so you couldn't even pry it out of her mouth and give you a dissatisfied mumble(no growl from that one) if you tried. When she was ready to go again she'd drop it at your feet and look out. She could mouse better than any cat I ever saw and squirrels gave her a wide berth.
I could fish with her laying on the bank by my side or patiently waiting for me to come back to her spot after casting 10 and 2 with my fly rod.
I'd since moved but she never passed up a chance for getting hay. That pup could jump atop a stack of Hay 5 bales tall flat footed. I'd had bigger dogs that couldn't jump higher than 3. She'd sit up there and supervise the whole production. Our bales being a foot and a half tall give or take we're talking about a stack that's over 5ft. in height. No joke or embellishment about that.
I never had a spot of trouble with that one. Never bit anyone. Wouldn't allow strangers to come in the house unless invited. But once invited wouldn't be a total sponge. Giving people the room to be. I don't know if you've ever been round dogs but most dogs once you've made friends with them you could walk off with anything that wasn't nailed down as long as the dog knows you. Not Reddi Dog. She'd get her attention from you back off to the opposite side of the Room and escort you out when you're ready to leave. Make one move back to the door she's let off a yodel that let you know she was on duty and not having any of it until Boss says you're cool.
Sadly after eight years of faithful service, she came down with a bladder infection that attacked her liver that couldn't be repaired. So yesterday she was buried underneath a shady oak in her favorite spot overlooking the farm. I have to say goodbye to my Reddi Dog who was ready for anything as long as it was on her terms. I was just along for the ride and am glad to have had such a wonderful companion who I will always miss. Especially on trips for Hay.
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