Tag Archives: cows

Waiting for Doggo!

Doggo Waiting Patiently on Mat

Chapter One  

It’s been seven months since Little Monkey went to play with Mr Spaghetti Legs and all my other dogs; Lady, Jack, Madam and TJ.

I have been looking for another rescue dog. While I wait for Doggo, my toy dog sits patiently on his mat, like Pinocchio, waiting to be turned into a Real Dog!

There are many rescues to choose from, here in Cape Town. I thought you might like to come along with me on my quest.

Rescue Doggo 1

My preference is for a calm, middle aged male, weighing under 20 kg. (But fate has a way of laughing at your plans and I might end up with a young female; who knows!)

LM weighed 23 kg and I had to help her in and out of the car as she got older. One time her back legs collapsed in the middle of the road and I had to scoop her up quickly and carry her to the kerbside. I rubbed her legs and she was good to go again. However, my days of scooping up 23 kg are limited, which is why I am looking for a smaller dog.

Rescue Doggo 2

First I went to the rescue organisation from where I adopted Mr Spaghetti Legs (and Lady and Jack before him.) It was under new management with different methods, but the dogs were still very well cared for and in good shape.

However, all the dogs they showed me were far too big and strong. They were street dogs with mixtures of Pitbull, Boerboel, Labrador etc and way bigger than LM, even though I told them what size I was looking for now.

Rescue Doggo 3

The manageress told me that dogs are not pack animals, so that’s why they were mostly kept in kennels on their own. This does not help them socialise.

Also, any clip you ever see on street dogs shows them forming into packs, round the rubbish tips etc. They do not go it alone, if they have a choice.

Rescue Doggo 4 and Cows

The whole experience was draining and I won’t be going back. I had been sure I could just walk in there and find my new soul mate, as I have done six times in the past.

But it wasn’t a total loss, as at least I got to see a few rescue cows up close!

Cows 2

There are other places to try and that’s where we’ll be going in the next chapter.

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post script: Waiting for Doggo is a pun on the Samuel Beckett play, Waiting for Godot. Thank you to everyone who has been asking about my search for a new dog.

post post script: They only used positive reinforcement here, so the dogs did what they liked instead of listening to the volunteers, who were trying to coax them with treats. Someone who does not normally follow me may start ranting about this and I won’t be responding. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and I have no problem with that, but this is a post about searching for a new dog, not dog training methods. Positive reinforcement is perfectly fine and I use it myself, but to only use it with no correction does not help the dog.

If a dog is jumping on me, scratching and bruising my arms (which is exactly what happened here), I am not going to give it a treat when it finally decides by itself to get down. However, while there, I respected their methods and let the woman with me sort it out. She offered the dog a treat and repeatedly said, “Sit! Sit! Sit! Sit! . . . ” It did not sit. I walked away and it jumped on her!

To stop a dog jumping on me, I walk forward into its space, tell it calmly, stop that, and get it to sit. It’s done in a second, and the dog and I are both happy.

Scifihammy and TJ

You’ll recognise the photo above from my About page; My Tail Too.

Old TJ jumped on us when we first got him. He desperately wanted attention. I taught him in one day that if he stopped jumping up and sat nicely he would get instant attention. Thereafter, whenever I turned around, little TJ would be sitting beautifully, waiting for attention. I always gave it to him. In the photo above I have just returned from dog class with Little Monkey. TJ has missed me!

I learnt dog behaviour from all my dogs; particularly Little Monkey and Madam. After all, a dog knows how to communicate with other dogs far better than we do!

 

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Down on the Farm

Cows 1

Cows 1

Milking Time

A description of Modern Day Farming Methods

When my sister and I went for lunch at a restaurant on a working farm in Yorkshire last June, we were lucky enough to be there at milking time: which was, surprisingly, 2 pm.

We had already visited the calves; see Baby Face, when heading back to the car we noticed all these cows sort of congregating in the field.

Cows 2

Cows 2

They seemed to be lining up in a particular order, as some who were already up on the path were waiting for others to go in front of them. To the right of the muddy part on the photo was a large green field. It was only churned up here where they all gathered for milking.

Cows 3

Cows 3

My sister knew this place, so led me off into a back area and up some steps to a public gallery, where we had a clear view of the whole milking process.

There were two doorways through which the cows could enter. For some reason some were still trying to get in through the middle door that did not open. The side doors opened automatically to let only one cow through at a time, when a milking ‘station’ (for want of a better word) became available.

Cows 4

Cows 4

The cow then walked along till it reached the open gate, and entered the stall. The gate automatically closed behind the cow, shoving its bum in as it did so. It was a very snug fit, as you can see from the photo.

Cows 5

Cows 5

Once inside, an automatic feed dispenser (the large red box thing in the roof area) dropped down a portion of cattle food and the cow contentedly munched away while waiting its turn to be milked.

Cows 6

Cows 6

There were two guys on the floor level between the two rows of cows. They went to each cow in turn and cleaned the udder, before attaching the milking machine.

Cows 7

Cows 7

When a cow had finished being milked the machine partly fell off, so the guys knew then to let them out of the stall. The automatic gate opened on one side when it let the cow in to the stall and opened on the other side to let them out, so the cow just walked into and out of the stall.

Cows 8

Cows 8

Some cows that entered the shed were not allowed into the stall to be milked. I assume they were either too young, or pregnant. The automatic gate closed as they approached and did not open again until they had passed by. The way the gate opened and closed gave them no opportunity to back track into the stall.

Some were quite persistent in waiting there. They wanted the cattle feed in the trough!

You will realise just how automated the whole procedure was by the number of times I’ve written the word automatic. The cows must have been wearing a computerised disc (the orange tag in the first photo) that was scanned as they approached the stall, to decide whether or not this animal would be let in to the stall.

All this is a far cry from the farm I knew as a kid. We’d visit my uncle’s farm and watch the cows milked. They all had names and walked into the same stall each time. We drank fresh, warm milk straight from milking and ate home made butter. All the farmer’s children had chores to do on the farm and had those ruddy cheeks associated with a life lived mostly outdoors. And though I wasn’t exactly a city-slicker, they put me and my siblings to shame. We never did a day’s hard labour.

Fun Cow Facts

  1. Cows are extremely curious and inquisitive animals which will investigate everything.
  2. Cows form close friendships and choose to spend much of their time with a few friends.
  3. Cows have almost full panoramic vision, helping them see predators.
  4. Cows can hold a grudge for years.
  5. Cows become excited when they solve problems (some even jump in the air); for example finding out how to open a door to get food.
  6. Cows spend 10 to 12 hours a day lying down.
  7. Cows have an excellent sense of smell and can detect odours up to 5 miles away.
  8. Cows can hear both low and high frequency sounds beyond human capability.
  9. Cows tend to face either magnetic north or south when grazing or resting, regardless of the sun’s position or the wind’s direction.
  10. Cows share 80% of our genes.

post script: For more info, see Amazing Facts About Cows and 20 Things you didn’t know about Cows.

 

Baby Face!

Baby Face Calf 1

Baby Face Calf 1

You got the cutest little Baby Face!

I must admit to having mixed feelings about this little chap.

Baby Face Calf 2

Baby Face Calf 2

Yes, of course he is cute! And he and his friends are in nice clean stalls with fresh hay, a bucket of fresh water and a bucket of cattle feed.

But I can’t help thinking that they should all still be with their mothers, drinking milk and out in the fields, there on this farm in Yorkshire that I visited last June.

Baby Face Calf 3

Baby Face Calf 3

And my next thought is: what life will they have?

If they are male, most likely they will be fattened up a bit then slaughtered for veal, or later on, beef. If they are female, they will probably be used to breed from and then kept as dairy cows.

 

post script: The song Baby Face was first published in 1926; music by Harry Akst, lyrics by Benny Davis. I picked this version with Dean Martin singing because my Mum liked Dean. He had a great voice. But I must admit that, as a kid, I always thought he was drunk onstage. Watching this clip now does not dispel that theory!

 

Till the Cows Come Home!

Cows!

Cows! Waiting to cross the road

When returning to Windsor, UK late one afternoon, my friends and I were wondering why all the cars on the road had come to a complete standstill.

Turns out that a very large herd of cows had decided to cross the road; presumably to go home to be milked.

So Many Cows!

So Many Cows!

It’s a little difficult to make out in the photo, but the dotted brown and white blobs all along the field/house line are actually cows. I have never seen so many all at once before.

We could see no farmer in charge; the cows simply gathered on one side of the busy road and at an unknown signal, decided to cross; and the cars all stopped.

Isn’t that great?

And I’d hardly call this the countryside! I well remember, as a kid, sitting in a car, crawling behind a small herd of cows, as they ambled down a very narrow country lane to their farm to be milked.

That’s when I first heard the expression, “Wait till the cows come home.”

 

post script: “Till the cows come home” is an old expression meaning for a very long time.