The Animals We Cared For
We were in charge of taking care of Jilly a cattle dog, Jack the Jack Russell, Mr. Wesley the cat, four horses, Roxanne, May, Theo, Sadie and a Shetland pony named Paris.
Jilly was very nervous at first and being a young dog, was very playful and active. She learned to trust us after a short few days and we grew to love her. She was very obedient for the most part but still very wary of new places, surroundings and other dogs and people. She was so fast when running for the ball and absolutely loved running the length of the field at lightning speed to retrieve it. Both she and Jack would run to the box where the balls were stored and wait in great anticipation for us to open it. She enjoyed her long walks and became adept and obedient on her leash as time passed.
Jack the Jack Russell would run with Jilly and did very well to keep up with her during their ball time. He loved his treats and would jump up high almost to my waist to remind me that it was treat time. A little sneaky at times - eating Jilly's food if we left it on the ground and turned our backs!
Our mornings consisted of feeding and running the dogs in the field, feeding the cat and then walking a quarter mile to feed the horses. Repeat at night. Over the weeks we came to know them well, observing their habits and enjoying their personalities. There was definitely a hierarchy with the horses with poor Paris being on the bottom rung. We did spoil him a little by leaving some food in the red bucket and letting him finish it off when the others pushed him away from the food troughs. They spent their days out in the field and came galloping towards us when they saw us arriving to feed them. Mucking out was not too bad, only during the bad weather did the horses stay in the barn longer and thus more piles of poop to scoop. We had some unexpected very cold weather and the challenge was to keep the water pipes from freezing and breaking the ice off the water buckets.
Mr. Wesley was a character - at every opportunity he would try to sneak into the apartment. He did succeed a couple of times. He ruled the yard, loved chasing Jack and we caught him one day with a mouse in his jaws, and on another day there were feathers scattered around the yard - I don't think he went hungry!
Four weeks with these creatures allowed us to become accustomed to their nature and habits. We enjoyed interacting with them, despite the cold weather and enjoyed our long walks with Jilly. I have to admit, she turned out to be my favorite of them all!
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