A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 7, 2009

A Small Dog, A Big Loss

Filed under: alpaca, Family, General — Tags: , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:01 am


Our Dear Boy Toby In Full Coat

Our Dear Boy Toby In Full Coat

As with many farms our animal family is not just limited to alpacas, we have our horses, our barn cats, our house cat “Six Toes” (yes he really does have six toes on each paw) and then there are our dogs.

Dogs have been one of my loves for as long as I can remember, from our first family dog “Simba” through to our current dog family, our dogs have always made an important contribution to our lives.

On Friday night I had the sad task of saying goodbye to our darling Pomeranian Toby.  About two years ago Toby had developed acute hemolytic anemia following his annual vaccinations.  It seemed that something was not right with the vaccine as other pets seen and vaccinated by our small animal vet at the time also developed problems.  For a while it was touch and go with Toby as his body turned on itself destroying his red blood cells.  But Toby was a fighter and won that battle.  During his many blood tests (we started off with three a week and gradually worked down to one a week over a long period of time) Toby won the hearts of the staff at the vet’s office.  Whenever I had to go to the vets for something not related to Toby the office staff asked about him and some times I would take Toby with me so that they could spoil him for a few moments.

Friday morning Toby was pretty much as normal, his usual boundless energy was present as he strutted through the house wondering why on earth I had not got his dog food ready for him yet.  Throughout the day little seemed different with Toby, he even took the opportunity to escape onto our growing new back lawn when Ric went through the gate to mow it.  In true Toby style he “christened” the lawn before Ric could catch up to him.

By the time I fed Toby in the evening I knew something was wrong, he wouldn’t eat and was panting more than usual.  As the evening continued I realized that I was spending my last hours with my dearest companion.  I made him as comfortable as possible, talked to him, told him how much he was loved and stroked him.  As time went by he seemed more relaxed, so much so that it was hard to notice his final breath.

Toby was a small dog in physical stature, but a big dog in more ways than one.  He charmed everyone he met and had a generous heart, he was full of boundless energy often whirling in circles until it made you dizzy to watch him and he was permanently happy.  It was hard to have a miserable moment when Toby was around; for from the moment he entered the room he brought with him a happy, upbeat energy.

When my dear friend Linda came to visit us following the death of her husband Dick, Toby with his never ending happiness helped to put a smile on her face again.  When Ric was still in the Air Force and deployed for long periods of time Toby was always there with me, keeping me happy giving me a purpose each day – for Toby just knew that my purpose was to make sure his food bowl was filled, his need for affection was met, and that the door to the back yard was opened and shut as often as he required it to be.

Toby - the year we decided to clip of his coat.  What a cutie!

Toby - the year we decided to clip of his coat. What a cutie!

I believe I first met Toby when he was a puppy in a local pet store.  There on my lunch hour I was charmed by the black bundle of fur that demanded my attention from inside his pen on the floor.  I played with him in the pet store for as long as I could and then had to return to work.  We had our Golden Retriever Katy at that time and I wasn’t sure that Ric was too keen on getting another dog, but that little black puppy in the pet store stuck in my memory.  Several months later when Ric asked if I would like a Pomeranian I was more than willing to go and visit the prospective pup.   Toby’s owners at that time were in the Air Force; unable to keep Toby they had asked at work if anyone would like to take him.  Ric knowing he was soon to deploy to Korea for a year was worried that our aging Katy would pass away while he was gone and thought that by getting Toby I would still have a companion if something happened to Katy.

We decided to take Toby and on talking to his owners I discovered that they had purchased him from the same pet store that I had visited at about the time I had seen the black Pomeranian puppy there.  Can I say for certain it was Toby – no, but I suspect it was and that fate always meant to bring us together.

We had at least 14 good years with Toby, years of fun and laughter, years of devotion and friendship.  When our dog Sandie passed away last May Toby became even more determined to be by my side night and day.  He hated me to leave him and I sometime had to battle with him to keep him in the house as I left.  Toby was always waiting for right inside the front door when I came home.

There is a huge void now in our hearts, its hard to lose your constant companion, but we have to console ourselves with the knowledge that we were lucky enough to share our lives with one special little dog with a huge personality.  For me I was fortunate enough to have those last few hours with him, a chance to say goodbye that others don’t often have.  Toby and I had been together through good times and bad, happy and sad and we were together when he took his final breath.

We have buried Toby next to Sandie, as quirky as Sandie was Toby still adored her and I feel he felt her loss when she died.  As Toby passed on I imagined Sandie standing in front of him, her tail slowly wagging, her legs in a wide stance and a twinkle in her eye as she prepared to invite him to play as she used to when she was alive and Toby jumping up to join her, a little bundle of Pomeranian Power as he departed this world to be reunited with his dear friend.

Toby was a special dog and a good dog, who will be greatly missed by his “Toby Fan Club” and especially by his number 1 fan – me.


February 13, 2008

On The Road To Fort Worth, Texas

The day has arrived for us to head down to Fort Worth to prepare the show grounds for the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular.  The show itself does not start until Friday but there is much work to be done before the exhibitors arrive and start checking in.  The last few weeks have been hectic with show preparations and so it is good to see the show drawing closer and knowing that it will soon all be behind us.

Of course leaving the farm is no easy task, the animals can not be left to fend for themselves and there are not too many people who want to spend their time caring for over 50 alpacas, two horses, five cats and four dogs.  In fact we have five people coming in to help with various tasks at various times in order to keep everything going.  Thank goodness for friends!  We have had a couple of run throughs with our helpers and so far so good, at the end of the day as long as all of the animals get food, water and good shelter (and a couple of walks at least for the dogs) then everyone should be fine.

It is inevitable that things seem to go wrong just before we leave, Toby the Pomeranian started with a virus or infection so it was back to the vet for more medicine.  Thankfully Toby’s latest health issue seems to be minor, but as we have fought hard to keep him healthy it is troubling to think that he is not 100% as we leave him for a few days.  He is still his lively, bright active self and so we hope that is an indication that he will be fine.

One of the alpacas Rosie decided to get a hair in her eye and then rub her eye on some hay in an effort to get the hair out.  The hay did nothing to help her eye, we did manage to get the hair out of her eye and have been bathing it and treating it in order to soothe it for her.

Then of course there is the weather.  Fine today but Thursday and Friday are forecast for snow, and possibly a lot of it.  Why does it seem that whenever we leave the farm the weather takes a turn for the worst and the poor farm sitters are left to struggle in the elements – Murphy’s Law I suppose!

Just to add another dimension of interest to our travels Ric has now completely lost his voice!  For the last couple of days I have had to act as his interpreter on the phone as it is almost impossible to understand him. 

It just seems to be a rule of thumb that life takes an awkward turn every time we leave for a show, or is it just our perception that things are that way.  Once we arrive at the show grounds I know our feet will hardly touch the ground, but I also know everything will work out and the show will go off well.

 The blog entries will probably be sporadic over the next few days, but I will try and post at least a little update as to how the show is going.  For those of you attending the show we look forward to seeing you there and wish you safe travels on your journey to Fort Worth.


November 19, 2007

This Week Will Be Better!

I am sure we have all had times in our lives when it seems as if nothing goes right and the last couple of weeks have been like that for us.  Vehicles breaking down, cats getting injured, a kamikaze beta fish and our poor little pomeranian dog Toby having a serious reaction to his annual vaccinations – we had enough problems in the last two weeks to see us through the rest of the year!

I remember as a teenager there was a similar period when everything seemed to go wrong.  At that time our family used to read our daily horoscopes in the newspaper and according to the horoscopes my problems had something to do with Saturn aligning with Mars, with the way things are going I bet you that those two planets are aligning again (actually I won’t bet you right now because the way my luck is running I would lose!).

As life’s problems go I realize that ours are really small on the grand scale of things, we have our health, we have a roof over our heads and we have a lovely herd of alpacas to bring a smile to our faces amidst our woes.  I will admit that I am still very worried about our dog Toby, his condition is very serious and while he has made a little progress over the weekend it is very little progress.  Toby is 12 years old and we have had him since he was 9 months old, he is my office buddy curling up behind my chair as I write this blog and usually growling at me if I have the audacity to move before he is ready to do so.  He usually is a lively, happy–go-lucky little dog who spreads joy wherever he goes, so is hard to watch him being so quite and depressed.

So this week will be better, I’ve made my mind up to that and I won’t have it any other way.  My plans to have some time working with the crias went out of the window last week, so they are going to fly back in again this week and cria school will recommence. 

Of course this week also contains one of my favorite holidays – Thanksgiving.  I love the fact that Thanksgiving brings together family and friends without the commercialism that has unfortunately become attached to Christmas.  It is a great time to slow down a little, take a look around and be truly thankful for all that we have.  I really would be quite happy to have Christmas just like Thanksgiving, no material gifts just the gift of spending time with those who mean the most to us both two legged and four legged.

So this week will be better, we will get back into the regular routine of doing chores and working with the alpacas, with a brief interlude for a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast on Thursday.  Naturally we will still have to do chores on Thursday, but what better way to work off Thanksgiving dinner!


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