To all the greatest dogs in the world.

“Everyone thinks they have the coolest dog in the world, everyone is absolutely correct”
unknown author.

I don’t know a single person who hasn’t got a funny or unique story to tell about their dog. On station’s it is the same, some great conversations have been had about the stupidity, bravery and plain weirdness of some dogs. Then there are the stories of out right mateship and genuine care the dogs show in return for the love they receive. Irrespective of why dogs are as faithful as they are or why people relate and attach to them, the simple fact is dogs make life better and I just couldn’t imagine my family without one or three.

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Buddha – doing his tough guy look.

This is our family pet Buddha, an Australian Cattle stumpy tail. His job was security and entertainment. Other names he was commonly called were ‘Old man’ and ‘Fat bastard’
We purchased Buddha as a puppy in about 2009. He was a lovely affectionate dog to us, but dynamite on any visitors. That’s for good reason we sometimes get uninvited drunken people coming into our homestead hum bugging, it is not encouraged and we like forewarning these people are around. Dogs are our alarm system and a very good deterrent for repeat offenders.

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Buddha had a few curious traits, he was also dynamite on snakes, My daughter spooked a very large python once and very much out of character of this species the python stood up to my daughter and was extremely aggressive and agitated. He had her bailed up against the wall of the house. Buddha happened to be with me and when we heard her hysterical screams (always assumed to be due to a snake) we found my daughter hard up against the house with a python standing at least 40cm off the ground and increasingly focused on my daughter due to her agitation and screaming. I had little to combat the big bugger with, while I frantically searched for anything, Buddha flew around and starting nipping at the snakes tail, this was enough to move the snake’s attention and let me push an old empty bird cage (empty due to another python) onto the snake to let my daughter out. We disposed of snake and cage.

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A large Olive python, normally docile and harmless, though intimidating due to their size. This one we think had been flushed out of the river due to flood and wasn’t none too happy about it.

Another time we looked out onto our verandah and wondered why Buddha was just looking at his chair and not in it. We went to look and another python had taken his seat and curled up quiet happily, completely ignoring him. Buddha killed a number of smaller snakes around the house.

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Buddha had a fetish for cane toads, sometimes I would catch them to try to keep their population down. He’s also grabbed them and due to their poison gets a hit from them. I’d wash his mouth but he’d be like a druggie, dull eyes and odd behaviour, the next day he would be cranky and usually jumpy like he had a bad hangover. At times of the year when cane toads seem to be more frequent we would lock him up or else he became mesmerised with grabbing them. He called it his ‘toad hit’.

04.09.12 075_edited-1Buddha playing his favourite game ‘stick’

When we would get new staff if they played stick with Buddha he would accept them straight away. Until they played stick he was wary of them. Budd’s measure of a person was by how often they would play stick, you knew when he fully accepted when he bought a stick to them.

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Being the family dog can be trying, being dressed as the ‘bride’ to be. We don’t have any female dogs so Buddha drew the short straw of having to wear the veil.

We have chooks which live in a shed not far from the house and also geese and guinea fowl wandering around. Our daughters job is to feed the chooks and collect the eggs. She had forgotten to bring the egg bucket in one night and Buddha promptly ate all the eggs for that day, considering I usually have anywhere up to 20 chooks he likely ate 10-15 in one sitting. I like the geese and guineas as they keep brown ticks out of the lawns, then I don’t have to treat the dogs so much for them. Sometimes my geese will nest and dutifully Buddha would bring me their eggs, (His thinking I’m guessing is he knows he gets into trouble eating them) He just didn’t understand why I would then quickly rush and put the goose eggs back, of course then the geese would kick them out of the nest anyway. Buddha must have got sick of this, so he’d then eat them and leave the shells near the door as if to say “you’re bloody ungrateful so I’ll eat them instead”.

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Cutting up meat, the door step being the closest Buddha was allowed. The position was taken very seriously ready for any scraps until he physically couldn’t eat anymore.

Buddha’s diet was at times his undoing. I often buy a large quantity of bread and pack onto the back of the vehicle to take home. If it was a long day or a late trip we would unpack the car the next morning after arriving back. I left a box of bread on the car one night to find  the next morning several full loaves gone. One slice we found had a distinctive paw print, our daughter took very seriously the investigation of the evidence. With a criminal line up a CSI TV show would be proud of, each dog was carefully screened, examined and questioned. Budd’s paw was the one which matched it perfectly, he certainly seemed the fattest and the guiltiest.

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The famous paw shake. No one could be near a car without Buddha reaching out and wanting attention.

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Recently Buddha took ill, over a couple of days what I thought was constipation due to worms escalated in him becoming very sick to the point that I worried he would die. My family and I walked around for ages one night looking for him as we’d been concerned and it was very unusual he wandered away from his sleeping chair after dark. We found him. He was alive, dis-orientated and getting sicker. I was concerned he had major internal problems; he had no body injuries or pain points when we touched or moved him around. We thought for sure one of his old antics were coming back to haunt him, snake/toad poisoning, I was also concerned he had some sort of blockage in his gut from rubber castration rings we use on weaners. He wouldn’t eat and was drinking very little. The next morning I took him to an aboriginal community close by where some vets were doing their round of pet health checks. The vet immediately inserted a drip to rehydrate him and while he couldn’t diagnose the problem ruled out bowel obstruction or any of the sicknesses I thought he may have had, including Parvo. He thought a serious gastro problem but wasn’t sure, He confirmed Buddha was really sick and getting worse, so I continued to town, which was another 3 hours away. He was sitting on the front seat of my little truck with an IV hanging over the door. He rallied and seemed to improve so I was confident he was going to be OK. I was sure I had over-reacted; I rang the family on the satellite phone to tell them Buddha was on the mend. He wasn’t, and a few hours later, only 50km out of town Buddha died. There was nothing I could do for him then, except tell him how much he was loved and would be missed. After a time I continued to town and asked the Vet to hold him for me overnight, which they kindly did. I drove home the next day with our family pet wrapped in a tarp and ice and we buried him at home with the other ‘bestest’ dog that ever existed in a garden which everyone knew was Bronte’s spot, It is now Bronte and Buddha’s.

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So too all those great dogs out there, past, present and future. RIP Buddha you really were one of the greatest dog in the world.

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Categories: Animal Welfare | Tags: ,

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