Monday, November 5, 2018

AUSTRALIAN BLUE HEELER


Rerun from August 2009
Don't really have anything so I thought I'd rerun my biggest hit maker. So far it has gotten 33,542 page views which is 20,000 more than 2nd place. It still gets hits today.

Not my picture but accurate representations.

When I moved to Okeechobee Florida I had never heard of a Blue Heeler or Australian Cattle Dog. Okeechobee being cattle country, used the dogs quite a bit as cattle herders. The around 30 pound dogs are called Heelers as they nip the heels of cattle to herd them.  

I saw the pack of Heeler puppies in a back yard of a high bill complaint.  I fell in love with the exotic looking dog.  I was a little put off by their $125.00 price tag which was huge so many years ago but I was smitten and had to have one.  

Not my picture.
She was a little female and I named her Jip.    As she entered her second heat, I breed her to a marvelous working Heeler. The breeding took and Jip produced a lovely litter of 6 pups. Of course the pick of the litter went as stud fee and I was left with 5 really cute puppies. 

When I took them to the vet for their shots and worming, I met a lady outside the vets office who just fell in love with the runt. Of course they were too young to sell so I gave her my card and told her when they would be ready and how much they would cost --- hoping she would never call.

I am very ashamed to say, I prejudged this woman totally on her appearance. As she had cornered me on the way into the vets office with my basket of puppies, I saw her vehicle. It was an old battered car. She had 3 very young children who were very well behaved and dressed in clean but thread worn clothes. I felt she was over extended was hoping that was the last I would hear from her.

When the puppies grew, I found what I hoped would be wonderful homes for them.   Only the runt was left and then, "that lady" called. I quoted her full price of $125.00 and she never wavered.  Later, when I saw her drive away with the pup, I was certain I had not done the right thing for that little dog and felt quite guilty.

Before a year was up, all the puppies that I had meticulously placed in loving homes were dead. Three had been run over and one had been shot by an irate neighbor. That left only the runt and her iffy home.

I ran into the woman at the grocery store almost two years later and she insisted I stop by her home and see the runt, now named Emma Lou. Interested to see how my only surviving puppy had turned out, I followed her home.


I was quite surprised by her home. It was not elaborate by any means but was very neat with a fenced in, well cared for yard sporting flowers and a vegetable garden. Emma Lou bounced out of the house and joyfully leaped up into the arms of the woman with a happy grin on her speckled face.  She was obviously happy, healthy and alive, something her siblings had not managed.

I left that day feeling quite stupid about my previous prejudgment of this woman. Her family didn't have a lot of material things but they had enough for comfort and I am pretty sure she would have done what ever was necessary to provide for her children and her pets. I totally admired her and felt Emma Lou was one lucky pup.

Right before I moved to Arkansas, I got a phone call out of the blue.

"You probably don't remember me," the strange female voice started, "but I bought a Blue Heeler from you 19 years ago."

"Yes I do remember you," I said honestly for she had so impressed me.  "How are you?"

"Ok now, I guess," she said with a catch in her voice, "This is the first I have been able to call you and not break up. I just wanted you to know that Emma Lou passed away last month. She was 19 years old and I thought you would want to know, she had a long and happy life."

I was almost speechless. Emma Lou had lived 19 years!!! That was just beyond amazing. We talked a while and finally she ended our conversation with,"I just wanted you to know and to thank you."

I thanked her for calling but in my heart, I thanked her for firmly embedding in me years ago that appearances mean little, character means all. The kindest hearts are rarely clothed in the finest silks. It was a lesson never lost on me.

42 comments :

  1. No wonder that post was so popular, Patti. A good life lesson, indeed!

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    1. Out to Pasture,
      Thank you though I think most people found it looking up the breed. It was a lesson I never forgot.

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  2. What a thoroughly lovely story -- touched my heart on so many levels. And that puppy pic is beyond adorable.

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    1. Olga,
      Thank you so much. I am so pleased when one of my stories touches a reader. Totally agree on how cute those puppies are.

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  3. What a wonderful, warm story. Growing up my folks had a herding dog and in the summers we lived in the country on a lake. My mom could say to that dog, "Go get the kids" and that dog would actually herd us back to the house when we'd wander too far down the road. We were not always happy about it, but she did her job.

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    1. Jean R,
      Thank you. I can see why you kids didn't appreciate it but I am sure your Mom was thrilled.

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  4. I don't remember this story, Patti. I love it. It's beautiful and sweet. Just the kind of story we need these days. Nineteen years of love for Emma Lou!

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    1. robin,
      You were around then but it has been 9 years since I posted it. So glad you enjoyed it and hope it made you smile.

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  5. We can all learn much from this story.

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    1. Fun60,
      It is a lesson we all know but sometimes until we experience it, we slip up. I know I did till I met Emma Lou's Mom.

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  6. That is such a touching story and a good lesson never to judge a book by its cover.
    Around My Kitchen Table

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    1. Around my Kitchen Table,
      Thank you. We all know better but sometimes we need something to drive it home.

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  7. There are no bad dog stories...though the other pups not lasting a year is disturbing.

    I have heard good things about this breed.

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    1. joeh,
      And I had been so particular about the placing of first 4. They are tireless workers. A day worker cowboy gets paid extra when he has a Heeler. It is said the dog is worth two cowboys.

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  8. Such a sweet sad story. 19 years..amazing and wonderful!

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    1. Mary,
      Glad you enjoyed. Yes, for Emma Lou those were 19 great years.

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  9. AH----such a great story.... Love it.... I just read a sad animal story last night. My African friend Jo lost one of her precious kitty cats to some dogs last week..... SO sad......

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. Betsy,
      Thank you. I am so sorry about your friend's cat. It is hard enough to lose a pet to age or disease but to have one murdered is brutal.

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    1. Fran,
      Thank you and I so am glad you enjoyed. I enjoyed retelling it.

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  11. Thank you for rerunning the story of that truly happy dog.

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  12. I love this story. Sorry about the other pups, but Emma Lou sure had a happy life. And that lady was so kind to call you about her.

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    1. Snickelfritz,
      Thank you. I was shocked to hear from her after 19 years that she still had my phone number.

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  13. Well, that was certainly worth a re-post! I don't think I've read it before, and it is so heartwarming. Thank you.

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    1. Linda R,
      Sure glad you enjoyed. You hadn't commented on the first run and that was 9 years ago. There are only 2 who are still with me from that time.

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  14. I like this story. Vaguely recall hearing of Blue Heelers but never saw any. Being a dog person, if I was inclined to get a dog now, that breed would be tempting — probably requires more energy and activity than I could muster now — running through a back yard at the very least.

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    1. Joared,
      You are so right. They are very high energy dogs and not for everyone. They are happiest when they are working. Jip use to move my live stock around for fun.

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    2. My dog love I had to give up when young was a stock collie. Broke my heart to have to part with him which I wrote about years ago. His father herded cattle but wasn’t given enough workout on a farm his owner didn’t even live at regularly. Dog was fed and watered by workmen, was kept on a long chain starved for attention which I gave him some of when we occasionally visited. He would lay quietly within chain length, allow chickens to come within his limit, then attack them just for something to do I guess ‘cause he wasn’t vicious though I interacted with him only at his extended chain length when I learned of what he was doing. The worst was when I was told he broke his chain, got into a barnyard area of young male pigs 150-200 lbs. — think he might have been trying to herd them (no person there), they might have nipped at him as boars could and he reacted. Inwas told he took huge bites out of their haunches. I saw him days later, petted him and he was sweet as ever. I wasn’t afraid but took precautions. It was heartbreaking to me that this dog likely simply suffered from lack of activity and human affection.

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  15. What a wonderful story; so glad you reposted it. Of course, I would love it for my Millie is a mixed Blue Heeler.

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    1. Chip Butter,
      Few people are familiar with the breed. So glad you have cattle for Millie to use her skills on. She looks like sh has a lot of Blue Heeler in her.

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  16. Aww rats! My eyes are all prickly now. 19 wonderful years. If only all dogs could have that.

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    1. River,
      I know. The worst thing about dog owner ship is their relatively short life span.

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  17. Well, this post sure brought tears to my eyes. It's a very good story, told just right. That adorable puppy lived to be nineteen! Wow! :-)

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  18. Djan,
    Dog stories do that don't they? Usually the smaller dogs have longer life spans. Still that was a long time for a Heeler.

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  19. I read this through tears sweet Patti....heart touching tears. Thank you for again posting this wonderful story. Hugs and give your fur babes nose kisses and tummy rubs from us.

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    1. Maggie,
      So glad this story that touched me, touched you also.

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  20. I love this breed of dog and I love this story about Emma Lou

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    1. Annie,
      Thank you. They really are neat dogs aren't they?

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  21. This had me misting up as well. Such a great affirmation that some homes are surprising. This is a wonderful kind story.

    PLEASE stop by my post. the missing photos have been rounded up and posted. We have such battles, computer and me.

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  22. Susan Kane,
    Thank you and yes, we can never know the whole story of a person by appearances.
    I have a similar problem in that I can never get my personal videos to play for others.

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