Life on the farm with the Man…and our critters…

Posts tagged “Kody

Our Tapestry…

IMG_4674Animals have always been a part of our lives. Dogs and cats were a constant part of our childhoods, and now as adults, we can add horses, goats, donkeys, parrots, chickens, and recently a bearded dragon. Future plans include some Scottish Highlander cattle, Baby Doll sheep, and perhaps an Alpaca or two. I wouldn’t be surprised if a pig entered the picture at some point.IMG_0391 For some, animals are just pets, and they come and go through their lives with little to no fanfare. But for most, these critters become much more than just pets. They become family. There is no place that this is more true than here on the Farm. Each new arrival brings excitement and joy, with a healthy dose of upheaval as the new member struggles to find it’s place within the Family. It usually doesn’t take long for things to settle down each time, and soon we are all laughing, playing, connecting, eating, and even snuggling together.  It’s a gift from the Universe, this dance between us all.  The Man and I cherish every day we have with our “children”, for we know all too well that those days are limited.  My Gracie’s graying face reminds me of that every day.  Their departure is inevitable, and the more animals a person shares their life with, the more often they are faced with tearful goodbyes and the sadness and mourning that follows.  One would almost think that these goodbyes should get easier or that the grieving should lesson over time.  Although the Man might appear to have better control over his grieving process than I do, it never gets easier for either one of us. IMG_1864Today marks the one year anniversary of the day that we said goodbye to Kody, and even as I put these words to paper, the tears well up, and the pain is as fresh as it was that day. Everyday I visit his grave, sometimes surrounded by our other dogs or with the Man, but most often by myself.  It’s my time to say hello, to make sure he knows that he hasn’t been forgotten, and that he is still very much a part of life on the Farm.  Of all the many threads in the tapestry that the Man and I weave into our life here on the Farm, Kody remains the strongest thread of them all.  He was the first, and all that have come after have been bound to him in one way or another. IMG_0245There have been many other goodbyes over the years.  Some were beloved cats, like Toby, Trouble, Bert and Ellie.  Last week, we said goodbye to Chester, a beautiful black Himalayan, rescued from the roadside after his mother had been hit by a car.  Even losing Harriet the chicken a few days ago filled me with sadness.  Yes, just a chicken, but my chicken nonetheless, and I did my best to nurse her back to health even though her outlook was grim.  Rudy the goat had a very special place in my heart, partly because he wasn’t very bright, and partly because he was devoted to me, and followed me around like a puppy dog.  His leaving was sudden and unexpected, and I cried like a baby as he passed away in my arms.  Despite all of the heartache when they say goodbye, the love and affection they give us while they are here is immeasurable, and we find ourselves opening our doors to them every time with little hesitation. That’s what we do.  We welcome, we love, we say goodbye.  And soon after, another thread is added to the tapestry…and we love again…IMG_3775


Goodbye, Hello…

IMG_2373I didn’t want another dog.  Not so soon, anyway.  After losing our old man Kody such a short time before, I really couldn’t bring myself to think about it.  I was still grieving heavily, and to entertain the thought of replacing him felt like I was betraying him.  Kody was the first four footed friend we had welcomed to our life together on the Farm, and his departure had taken me to a level of pain and anguish I had never experienced before.  Of course, as in all things, it wasn’t just about me.  The Man and our other two dogs, Gracie and Dewey, were all grieving the loss of a beloved Pack member in their own ways.  When I discovered that the Man had been quietly researching English Cream Golden Retrievers, I simply thought it was his way of mourning.  We all have our own coping skills, this was his.  Even when he came home from work one day excitedly babbling something about a friend of a cousin to a woman that was a childhood friend of the Preacher’s step sister’s dog had just had a litter of puppies, I still wasn’t taking him very seriously.  Then, with the barely contained excitement of an eight year old, he softly squealed that they were just a few miles up the road, and we were expected there in an hour to see them.  IMG_2129The next sixty minutes were a blur, and before I knew it, we had pulled up to the house where the puppies lived.  When I stepped out of the car,  the door to the house opened, releasing a flood of white puppies.  Twelve of them.  Six boys wearing blue collars, and six girls wearing pink collars.  The Man had informed me on the ride there that he preferred that I be the one to choose the puppy, but it had to be a male so Dewey could have a playmate.  Still not quite believing that we were where we were, and doing what we were doing, I started looking for blue collars.  At first, none of the blue tagged wee ones stood out to me, but then I noticed that one had a tiny little blue bell attached to his tiny little collar around his tiny little neck.  And then he turned and looked at me with those black as night eyes that were ringed with beautiful white eyelashes.  And in an instant…I was pudding.  Done deal, stop looking, he found us.  I turned to get the Man’s attention, only to find the puppy’s one hundred pound father balls to heaven in the Man’s lap, enjoying a good belly scratch.  After seeing proof of goofy genetics, I held the puppy up Lion King style, and presented the Man with the newest member of our Pack.  Over the next month, we visited him at least once each week, and each time, he was happier to see us.  IMG_2770We decided to name him Sebastian, a fine English sounding moniker that befits his breed.  By the time I drove those few miles one last time to pick him up when he was eight weeks old, he was answering to his name.  As we had planned beforehand, our first gathering as a family took place on the back lawn, near where we had laid Kody to rest.  I needed him to be near, to feel him near.  Dogs being dogs, that first gathering didn’t go as well as we had hoped, but they eventually all worked out where they each stood in the Pack hierarchy.  At the end of the day, Sebastian was a very tired pup more than ready to lay down and collapse.  Having done the whole puppy thing three times together already, we were well prepared, with the appropriate amount of toys, a plushy bed, and a large crate that stood beside his new brother Dewey’s crate.  Gracie took up residence under the kitchen table a few feet away, rightly claiming the night time space and bed that once belonged to Kody.  IMG_3986For the most part, the months since Sebastian’s homecoming have played out pretty much as I expected they would with no big surprises, but for one thing.  When Sebastian first came to live with us, there were often times when his Golden personality would remind me of Kody, and the sadness would return.  But Sebastian’s own personality quickly started to reveal itself, and the times I saw Kody in him grew fewer every day.  He and I bonded quickly, and he rarely left my side.  I came to rely on him for bad breath puppy kisses and laughter as much as he depended on me for unconditional love and approval.  The normal routine of life returned to the Farm once more.  Sebastian is now seven months old, and he is developing into a beautiful and rugged young English Cream Golden.  He is nearly as big as his brother and sister, and will likely surpass them in size and weight soon.  IMG_4556As the Man predicted, Sebastian and Dewey have become the best of friends, and spend hours each day getting into impish trouble together.  Of course, Sebastian still reminds me of Kody at times.  It’s hard to deny those Golden quirks, after all.  The difference now is that my memories of Kody are no longer painful, but are full of joy and laughter, with new memories being made every day.  I am grateful to the Man for knowing what our family needed, and also what I needed.  I’ve come to learn that sometimes in order to begin saying goodbye, one must first not be afraid to say hello…