A farm without a dog just isn't a farm.
We've keenly felt Chief's loss these past few months. I've gone to comfort him from storms or feed him something tasty from the kitchen countless times, only to remember he's no longer here.
The girls reacted differently to Chief's death. The Big Sister took it especially hard. She declared loudly (and theatrically, as is her style) that she "never wanted to see another dog ever again".
I understood how she felt, but a farm needs a dog, so I began searching for our new hound. I found Max from a breeder in Bundaberg.
I had the whole thing planned. I'd put a red ribbon around his neck and hide him in a box. The girls would be ecstatic. The Big Sister would forget that she'd sworn off canines forever. I'd capture the whole moment on video so I could share it with our friends and family. I bought a tripod on ebay. I got the big red ribbon in the card aisle at the supermarket. I hid emails and photo updates of his growth from the breeder. Bearhands and I spoke in hushed tones about our new addition. We managed to keep Max a secret from our girls - the eldest of whom is pretty nosey - for six whole weeks.
The whole plan was going swimmingly yesterday. The Big Sister had a pupil-free day, so I kept the Little Sister home too. At seven am, the breeder called to say Max had left Bundaberg. At 9.20am the pet courier called to say he'd be at the meeting point at 10.45am. I found a box that didn't have a wine logo on the side of it. I set up the tripod. I drove to the pick up point and collected Max. He willingly wore the big red bow.
What do they say? The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray?
It doesn't really matter. I'll remember their reactions forever.
First the Little Sister wondered if we'd bought a new chicken. (When we buy new chooks, they ride home from the market in cardboard boxes).
Max then burst from the box on cue and the girls realised this was more than a chicken. The realisation slowly dawned on them; "Is it for us?" "Do we get to keep him?"
Later, during one of the nap breaks I decreed that Max needed, they said "I can't believe this is happening!" The Great Dog Ban of 2016 is lifted.
Max is an Australian Cattle Dog (they're also called Blue Heelers). The breed is known for it's loyalty, intellect and protectiveness. They're also pretty cute.
Welcome to the family Max. We're so glad you're finally here. Thanks for being part of my best-laid plans. We promise you a lifetime of memories, invitations to all our backyard tea parties and more grass to wee on than any hound could wish for.
ever planned a big surprise?