I was born on a farm in Bega NSW, the quieter one of a litter of three. Mum was the farm dog. Red Heeler, a working dog with a long and distinguished heritage. She put in long hours on the farm, but it was good work. I never met Dad. He was a house dog from up the lane. Jack Russell, flashy, lots of personality. After the union he was banned from the farm. I often wonder how he felt, never seeing his pups.
Early days on the farm were the stuff great memories are made of. Sleeping together to keep warm, chasing each other, doggy smells and mother’s milk. Even now, at nearly three, I still dream about those days sometimes. Before long mum had to get back to work and we pups were left to play by ourselves from breakfast to dinnertime. Being Spring, it was mostly wet and muddy on the farm. We’d chase each other in circles until we dropped, then sleep in a pile to get our energy back. They were great days. We didn’t know then how soon they would end.
There was only work for one dog on the farm and not enough money to feed four. It was a tough time for dairy farmers. I guess it still is. A nice lady from Animal Welfare came around one day to chat with the farmer’s wife and we found out that we were to be put up for adoption. We had no idea what that meant at the time.
I remember the first time I met my new folks. It was raining, we were running around in the mud as usual and all went over to say hello. They got covered in mud. We returned to our game. I remember feeling sorry for them standing in the rain and went over to sit next to them for a while. Then they left. I didn’t know I would meet them again.
A few days later we pups went off to animal welfare to have vaccinations and operations. I really didn’t understand any of that. We never saw Mum again after they picked us up. I still think about her sometimes when I can’t sleep. Before we left, the farmer and his wife decided she was too valuable a worker to let her have any more pups. I guess she’s still working on the farm. I’d like to think she remembers me sometimes when waiting for her next job, under the willow tree.
On the day of the operations we were separated, it was the last time we were to be together. I never saw them again. I really missed them at first, but things were changing every day and the changes soon became the focus of my thoughts. Still licking my operation site, I was picked up by those folks I had sat next to in the rain that day and they took me back to their house. It was a big house, on top of a hill. Most of the rooms were upstairs. It was New Year’s Eve and we sat on a sofa on the balcony watching the fireworks. It was them who gave me the name Enzo.
I wondered how I would ever get up the stairs. Little did I know I’d soon be taking them two at a time. The new folks got me a big white polar bear to sleep with called Yuri. He’s been a great friend. For a while I didn’t know if they were my new Mum and Dad, or Yuri was somehow both. Anyhow, I’ve got it sorted now; Mum’s in my memories, Yuri’s my best mate and I call my new folks Silverback and the Sparrow.
I’ve been very lucky. Things have turned out well. We spend a lot of time camping and travelling. Yuri comes along too. I was never going to do farm work, being undersize. My main jobs are taking the folks walking, cleaning up dropped food and guarding the van when they go shopping. In my spare time, I’ve fallen into writing stories about our travels. I really enjoy it and look forward to each new place. The folks look after the publishing side. Together, we are enzotraveldog.com.
That’s my story. I still think of my brother and sister often. I hope things worked out as well for them.