Sunday, February 12, 2012


I am someone who adores animals. I love learning from them, caring for them and discovering their individual personalities. I do not like it when animals on my farm die but I also realize that death is a part of life. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances involved it bothers me more then others. Usually, I accept it quickly, don't think  to much about it and move on. But, every once in awhile a special connection is made. I remember once when I was a girl, I suppose I must have been about 13 or 14 years old, my parents and I were visiting my grandparent's farm in Minnesota. My parent's friend Gertie also lived on a farm and I would often visit and help her with her horses. She also had a dog, named Homer - I don't remember much about him other then he was Humongous. Gertie was coming for supper at my Grandma's house and she had brought with a surprise for me. Homer had run off to the neighbors earlier that year and the brief encounter with the neighbor's dog left them with a litter of puppies. The sweet little puppy was scared to death and would not, no matter how much anyone coaxed come out from under the vehicles parked in the drive. Finally after everyone else had gone into the house, I was able to earn his trust and he spent the rest of the evening following me every where, as if I was his mother. Little Homer, had captured my heart and I think I left a piece of it behind with him when we left that summer as my parents tried to explain that he would grow to be to big for our home and we already had a dog. I knew they were right, but I was heartbroken, and I can remember crying  for the next couple days. 

Fast forward some 27 years later. We have had several dogs on our farm over the years. But it wasn't until this fall that one was able to touch me the way Little Homer had.  I had been searching on craigslist for a dog. I new exact what I wanted in a dog and after many months I finally found him.

Enter Granger an Australian Shepard and about 6 years old. We went to pick him up and never before had I seen anything like this place. There must have been 40 dogs running lose. Several more in kennels and on chains. A camper was parked in the drive way and seemed to serve as a dog house- there was furry heads looking out every window. Granger appeared timid, scared but submissive and obedient. Some of you who follow me on facebook may remember the story of how when we brought him home how scared he and while I was showing him around the farm he slipped out of his collar and took off down the road. The harder I pursued, the harder he ran until at dusk he disappeared into the timber and we lost all sight of him. I really figured that would be last we saw of him. I thought if he was lucky he would find his way home. Not so, the next day around lunch time our ten year old spotted him outside the house. It took 2 days but finally with the help of my oldest son we were able to corner him into our daughters play pen and within 2 days I had earned his trust and loyalty. Granger was all the dog I ever wanted. He greeted me excitedly every morning and followed me while I did my chores. He would lay on the deck watching over the farm, did not bother the chickens, ducks or sheep and even slept with the cats. And best of all, Granger stayed off the road. Granger loved me and he loved the kids. He took more warming up to my husband and older boys. He would flinch whenever they would bend down to pet him and we often wondered what his life was like before he came to us. Granger had this look in his eyes and a fierce bark, one that would make my husband even a little hesitant to pet him at times.

Then it happened. I was working in the barn one day when Joe, the guy who works for us walked in. Granger with out any warning what-so-ever bit him. Thank goodness he had car-hartts on and wasn't hurt. But I was sick over it. We kept close watch on him after that and he didn't bite again but he would often sit at my feet keeping himself between me and whoever I was talking to when we were outside.
It was a worry.

Unfortunately- my story does not have a happy ending. We were away last month on a trip and while we were gone Granger was killed on our road. I can only imagine that he must have been wondering where his family had gone too. In some ways I am glad I wasn't here when it happened and in other ways I feel like my 10 year old when he said "I wish I had been there so I could have loved him one more time". I like to think that the last few months Granger spent with us he knew what it meant to have a family and truly be loved.  Hubby says I need a puppy. Maybe someday, right now, I'm just not ready.

1 comment:

  1. I am so sorry; it's always painful but more so when we're not there to say good-bye.