I had some very sad news at the weekend. Shep my old mate, died last weekend.
Shep was in a blog I wrote last year on the 28th September.
Shep was a working collie that lived on the farm, I now only milk for every other weekend, due to being offered more milking, at the other farm I milk at, which is a lot closer for me. Last Saturday evening I arrived to milk (I milk every other weekend doing the Saturday pm milking and Sunday am milking) and I noticed Adrian who I work for and his family up at the end of their garden. I waved a hand to them and made my way to set up the parlour. I then next saw Adrian getting the cows in, he seemed not quite his normal cheerful self as I said, "Hello."I went and started the parlour up and then Adrian came in the parlour to tell me about cows in the calving pens and about any cows that needed milk withholding. He then said, "I'll be back later I've just got to go and shift some earth." I just said, "Okay, see you later." Then I noticed Adrian was dwelling at the end of the parlour and then he said, "I've got to bury your old mate." I looked at him and then the penny dropped, as Adrian always referred to Shep to me as "Your old mate" and I said, "Shep's dead ! Oh no, not old Shep." He replied , "Yes" and I could see by the way he was looking, it was not the time to question Adrian to much and he left to bury Shep at the end of their garden.
Shep got referred to me as, 'Your old mate' because he did not work for everyone. For some reason though, Shep decided I could join the exclusive group of people he would work for. So for the last three years during the summer months when I arrived on farm, Shep would appear at the dairy door and for the price of a good rub down, would then happily trundle up the lane with me to get the cows in. A good dog on a farm is said to be worth two men, especially on sheep farms, where a bulk of the work is herding.
Adrian returned near the end of milking and he was in a better place to tell me more about Shep's passing. He told me that, he had seemed a bit shaky Friday night on his legs and in the morning they took him to the vets and he passed away in the back of the Landrover while waiting for the vet. Shep was not a young dog nor neither an old dog at around (Adrian thought) eleven years old. Farmers don't tend to count their dog's years and I was on a farm where the old working dog died and they thought her around twelve years old, but one day after her death they found her registration papers and it turned out she was closer to sixteen when she died, so Adrian thinking Shep eleven, he might of been a year or two older. The most likely thing they think is he had a heart attack.
Their oldest daughter has been beside herself with the sudden loss of Shep and being ten years old, this is her first ever dog, she has known him since a baby. Shep was a proper old softy with Adrian's three children and any of his children's friends. I said to Adrian "In time your daughter will understand that, although Shep leaving her so suddenly is upsetting for her, but for him it was a quick death, a good death, which is better than him slowly going down hill and you then have to play God." Truth be told, Adrian is also feeling the loss as much as his daughter. At the moment he is almost akin to a man who has lost a limb. He said, "I just got the last few cows in and no Shep. It don't feel right."
Shep you had a good life and a good death. Goodbye, my old mate !
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me with Bumble and Blottie, waiting patiently to be unleashed, November 2018
Hello, I am Jane, you might of guessed, I love dogs. We are situated in the North Devon countryside, England, United Kingdom. Our home is occupied by my husband, David, our children, pack of dogs and me.