I’ve never owned a dog for all the usual reasons, but I’ve always loved them. After spending a few years as a petsitter, I knew a dog would always be a part of the bigger dream here. We hadn’t been ready or able to adopt one before now, but over the past couple of weeks it’s felt a lot like the universe was actively conspiring to make it happen.
The first sign was when Richard outright stated that he wanted a dog. I didn’t disagree, but I was worried about everything that comes with puppies. My experience has mostly been with the kind of pampered pooches that get their own sitters when their owners go away. It sounded time-consuming and expensive.
But then the next day, the second sign came while talking with a neighbour. We’ve been having issues with feral pigs in my garden lately, and she said we should get a dog to keep them away. I had forgotten that in the country, dogs are more than just companions – they have utility as well.
Finally, the third sign came that night. I was on Facebook, and noticed a post from another neighbour. They had a puppy available for adoption. She was 5 weeks old, and a Rottweiler-Huntaway cross. She was free to a good home.
If you had ever asked me to list my favourite dog breeds, I probably would have said: Rottweilers, Huntaways, Collies, and Lowchens. One day I will have a Lowchen, but I’ve made peace with the fact it’s probably my retirement dog. Right now we need a big dog – a Rottie-Huntaway cross sounded perfect.
The next morning, I woke up with a plan to sell an extra cow (instead of homekilling her) to cover the puppy costs like vaccinations, registration and desexing. I checked in with the stock agent who was happy to take 4 cows instead of 3.
I sent our neighbour a text, and half an hour later, we were up the road meeting Roxy.
Roxy is a mishap between a Rottweiler mother and a Huntaway farm dog. The resulting litter was supposed to be pure rottweilers, so our neighbour got quite a surprise when Roxy and her siblings were born.
She is a unit with monster paws. Richard and I had to pass her between ourselves a few times to give our arms a break. If she takes after her daddy, she’s going to be a big girl. Perfect for heading out pig and possum hunting, occasionally rounding up some cows, and guarding the place. Perfect for us.
Last Sunday, Roxy turned 6 weeks old. Not long after I published the week’s blog, we popped back up the road to bring her home.
Since then, she has proven to be very smart. Even when she has an indoors accident, she does it on a piece of PVC we have laid out ‘just in case’. She’s already proving magnificent at picking up pig scents. By Day 2, she’d worked out how to thwart the pen we had originally set up inside for her.
Because she’s still young, she’s living inside with us for a while. The cats are… not amused, but by now are starting to get used to her. We’ve upgraded her indoor space to a crate. She has her own blanket and a few toys – cardboard rolls, a stick, a stuffed llama, and a possum tail she stole from the cats.
She’s smart enough to not eat the cat’s biscuits. She can drink their water, and any biscuits on the ground, but not those inside the feeder. I’ve never seen anything like the restraint on this girl. She has full access to the cat biscuits, and we know she likes them, but she doesn’t eat them when we say no. Incredible.
When she’s bigger, we’ll be transitioning Roxy to living outside. She was born a farm dog, and that’s why we have her. We also don’t really have inside room for such a big dog. We do, however, have a kennel that we originally built for our piglet Shirley a couple of years ago. At the time, we knew Shirley would outgrow it, but that one day it would make a great dog house.
We’ll need to add on a proper outdoors race (with a roof) for her. And when she’s old enough to not chew the bejesus out of everything, I’ve got a single sheepskin underlay I’ve had my entire life that I’ve kept safe for 20 years for my first dog. It’s just as snuggly now as it was when it comforted me as a child, and will keep her warm while she guards my garden.
Most of this week has been about Roxy for us. But we’re so happy to have her. With a story like hers, I can’t help but think she was born especially for us.