Losing our Lab mix Luke left a huge hole in our lives. The house was too quiet. We pulled up all the throw rugs, moved the pet stairs away from our bed, cleared out and put away dog dishes, and gave the floors a good cleaning. I finally went through all the old dog toys and threw away the rattiest ones and washed the ones still in good shape. It was nice to have the house a bit more organized, but that was mostly just something to do to keep ourselves busy.
We knew we would get more dogs, but neither of us felt ready, even though we wanted to fill that lonely space. I’ve always followed many dog rescues on Facebook, and adorable faces popped up in my news feed daily. There was one dog who had started popping up when Luke was still with us, and I couldn’t get her out of my mind, especially since she kept appearing!
This was the photo that did me in:
I told my hubby that I wanted to apply for her. As much as I felt I wasn’t ready, I also felt that if I saw one day that she’d been adopted to someone else, then I would feel like we’d missed out. I thought it would be OK to just try, and if we didn’t get her, well, then it wasn’t meant to be. By the time I had filled out and sent the application I saw comments from other people who had also applied and then I knew I’d be sad if we didn’t get her, but I would accept that the time just wasn’t right and that we’d find the right dog(s) when it was.
The process took a few (agonizing) days, but when we found out we had indeed been approved to adopt Copper Sue, then I knew it had been right all along, and that Luke was guiding it all from above. More on her in a bit.
Before all that had even come about, we were talking with family about the prospect of getting barn cats. It was something we had talked about for a while, but I was unsure about having outdoor cats after so many years of only having cats safely living indoors. Long story short, my hubby went ahead and posted on Facebook that we were looking for barn cats, and in less than a week we had added three one year old feline boys to the farm family! We were only planning to get two, but they had three together, so why not? For those that might not know, in our area many of the shelters have barn cat programs, where cats who are not suitable for life indoors a home are adopted out to farms looking mostly for mousers.
Barney (barn cat), Mickey (mouser) and Mighty (mouser) are now our resident “working cats”. We’ve long had a big problem with rodents on the farm, and I read that simply having cats would deter those rodents from hanging around. In their first week, we already found the evidence that they were doing their job!
Barney and Mickey have gotten more used to us and are quite friendly. They enjoy being petted (though not picked up). Mighty has been far more feral, and is just now (after a month) coming out to us, though he still keeps his distance. Mighty and Mickey are actual brothers, and the only way to tell them apart is that the white on Mickey’s face goes up between his eyes.
So far, they’ve been good most nights about going into the garage to spend the night. We feed them canned food at that time, and they already seem on board with that routine. There have been a couple nights where one or the other wouldn’t come in, but they’ve been waiting for their breakfast in the morning when that’s happened.
The chickens weren’t too thrilled with them at first, but they are adjusting. Mickey likes to play with them a bit, running at them, but we can tell he means no harm. He’s wary of the guinea hens who play that same game themselves!
They are always around in the evenings and it’s fun to watch them mingling in the yard with the free ranging birds. Copper Sue enjoys watching them all too! We are going to need to work with her a bit to be sure she doesn’t get too excited about them (like Luke used to).
So back to Copper Sue…..she is a hound dog mix, a big hound dog not a beagle (think Bloodhound or Coonhound). She was 4 ½ months old when she came home. She was transported up to NH from Arkansas in mid-May and spent about a month at a foster home. Her foster Mom said she was 90% housebroken, but she’s been 100% for us; even after Max joined the family.
Oh, who’s Max, you wonder (unless you’ve seen my social media posts)? Max is a 3-month-old Pyrador (1/2 Great Pyrenees and ½ Labrador retriever), who came from a work acquaintance of my hubby’s. He came aboard one week after Copper Sue. We knew from her foster home that Copper Sue got along well with other dogs, so we decided she needed a sibling. We figured why wait?
Obviously, Max is NOT housebroken (but making progress) and he’s a typical puppy terror! He and Copper hit it off immediately and they spend hours playing every day. Max is a monster compared to Copper’s older puppy quieter behavior we enjoyed the first week. Now he’s brought the monster out in her as well! 😊
It’s not quiet around our house anymore, and that is such a relief.
It goes a little way towards easing the pain of losing Luke, even though we will miss him forever.
I will write more on the whole crazy crew soon, and get better photos, with updates on the young birds who are now fully integrated with the other flocks and have just started free-ranging themselves. Losing Luke really crushed my creativity, so writing has been a struggle. I’m just now starting to get back into doing normal things, but these puppies sure are time consuming! ♥