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Cayla is not a big dog but she's a big jumper

Cayla is not a big dog but she’s a big jumper

Part of the reason for building a wall around our garden was to stop our dogs from escaping, unfortunately Cayla just saw it as a challenge.

Despite the wall being around 2 meters high and she less than 50 cm at the shoulder, she would jump the wall, nothing deterred her and even after the dogs long daily walk over the dunes, we would get home and within minutes she’d be gone again. Cayla also didn’t seem to realise that if she could jump out, she could jump back in, so she would stand out side the gate and bark until we opened it for her, crazy animal.

We don’t want to, nor can we afford to, build the wall any higher so we have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to devise ways of stopping Cayla jumping it, without having to tie her up. I shan’t bore you with a list, needless to say nothing we came up with worked and then she came into season and became more of an escapee then ever. Time to visit the vets, we hoped that having her spayed would reduce her desire to roam.


We took Cayla into the vets in the local town and while she was being operated on, Neu and I went off separately to pay bills and get shopping etc. I’d arranged to meet Neu back at the vets and as I was walking back there, a small street dog fell into a wobbly step beside me, she obviously had something very wrong with her back leg and was having difficulty walking over the cobbled roads of the town but as she had decided to follow me, she came to the vets.

We had to wait to see the vet and the little dog sat quietly beside me the whole time, as people came and went she greeted them with a wag of her tail but didn’t move from my side, by the time the vet came to see me, this painfully thin little dog with huge ears had quite a fan club. The vet said that she seemed fine apart from being underweight and crawling with fleas, her leg had been broken and healed spontaneously but with a bad join which he couldn’t now fix, she would adapt to it but she would never walk properly.
There is grooming service at the vets and he said he would tell them to give her a bath and cut her nails, then try and find her a home. She came back from her bath looking considerably cleaner and with glittery stickers on her head and ears, the young man who’d bathed her said she was adorable and as you’ve probably already guessed, she came home with me.

Star, in her glitter from the dog grooming service

Star, in her glitter from the dog grooming service

Back at home our other 5 dogs didn’t give her the best of welcomes, they were probably a bit perturbed by the condition of Cayla who was too busy suffering the effects of surgery to bother about anything or anybody else but after an initial burst of hostility all the dogs settled down. At first our new addition seemed very pleased to be with us, our son called her Star and she took to hobbling after him or trying to make friends with the other dogs.

Following the excitement of the first day when she seemed so pleased to have found a new home, she hid under the beds and refused to eat for the next 4 days, becoming nothing more than skin and bones. I really began to fear for her survival as she point blank refused everything and didn’t seem to be even drinking water. I resorted to syringe feeding her rehydrating liquid, then yogurt or chicken broth and finally on the 5th day she decided to eat and boy did she want to eat, we now had to limit her food or she’d have made her self sick but she was clearly over her initial trauma.

After 4 days refusing to eat.

After 4 days refusing to eat.

Star, looking better

Star has put on weight now and is fully at home, the other dogs have accepted her and she has made special friends with Zia, they are often to be found chewing on each other or romping around the garden together digging up my plants.P1013460

Zia and Star have become best playmates

Zia and Star have become best playmates

Unfortunately Cayla’s surgery hasn’t put her off jumping the wall, even before her stitches had healed, she was trying to get over it and we had to tie her up just to stop her from ripping her stitches. We have now found something that seems to work, so far so good anyway.

P1013451We have ¾ filled old PET bottles with sand and then placed them on their sides along the top of the wall, flattening them slightly so they don’t roll off. Now when the dog jumps up she encounters the slippery surface of the bottles and cant’ get sufficient grip to be able to pull her self up and over the wall. Now have to find enough bottles to cover all the points where she likes to jump, it’s not the most attractive finish to a wall but it works, so far.

Helping with the weeding

Helping with the weeding

Our second addition is a horse. Neu’s father has a small cart and he used a donkey to pull it but owing to the number of wild donkeys around here, his donkey was more often than not pregnant or feeding a foal and so couldn’t be used for pulling the cart. Some one offered him an old male horse at a knock down price, it is accustomed to the work having pulled a cart for years and is extremely docile. Neu’s father jumped at the chance but then found that if he borrowed the money from the bank, he would have to pay back a ridiculous rate of interest. As one of the main reasons for having the pony and cart is to bring our shopping or Neu’s dialysis material down from the road I felt it was only fair that we helped out financially and so I offered to go halves on the cost, allowing Neu’s dad to avoid the bank completely.

I call the pony Mister (Neu’s dad doesn’t go in for giving animals names) and a lovely though overworked and underfed fellow he is. We are building him up and giving him lots of care and attention, he’s getting good feed and we’ve wormed him, hopefully he will soon be in a better condition. He had some nasty wounds on his back, caused from having previously been used to pull a cart with the wooden yoke over his back with no protection underneath it, the wooden bar had rubbed away the skin on his spine, it must have been very painful for him but Neu’s father and I have been applying iodine and the wound is almost completely healed now.

Every day when Neu and I take the dogs out, Mister comes too. At first it was a little stressful as the dogs were unsure of him and having six nervous dogs can be a bit of a handful, but they now ignore him and he seems confident that no one is going to attack him and so ignores them. I don’t know how old he is but he will have a happier old age with us.


A hopefully happy Mister

Daily walks with 6 dogs and a horse

Neu and the dogs.