It doesn't take long for the harsh realities of daily life to creep in after returning from a lovely holiday - there's the stack of Bills retrieved from the letterbox, the filthy car to clean out and the piles of laundry to attend to. What isn't expected is to come home and find most of your farm pets dead.
If you can picture a scene where 4 little children literally jump out of the car before the engine has even been turned off so they can race off to see their beloved pet sheep Rocco and Lulu, only to find that they have been mauled by stray dogs. It's a horrific scene for anyone, let alone little Kids who had no warning of what their eyes would see. They were all inconsolable the whole afternoon. We then searched for the rest of the menagerie and found half our flock of Chooks had been killed as well as one of my lovely Indian Runner ducks. This was all before we have even turned the house key into the front door.
A frantic call to a neighbour who confirmed that the day after we left, 2 stray dogs went on a killing spree in our area. They killed one neighbours Pony. A Pony! Another neighbour had their Alpaca maimed and another neighbour lost their flock of chickens. The neighbour we called actually saw the dogs and tried to shoot them but missed the shot. His two mature Alpacas tired the dogs out and they fled. They have not been seen since but were sighted further down the Valley. The local Council know exactly where one of the dogs lives and a case is being built against the owner. We actually missed a call from our neighbour while we were away but he didn't leave a message so we thought we'd just call him back when we got home. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss.
I know these things happen but it was such a horrible way to arrive home. I feel terrible that we weren't here when it happened, but it probably would have happened anyway because all the other neighbours were home when the attacks occurred. And then there are the "what if's". What if I was outside with Flynn and left him for a moment to answer the phone and the dogs turned up? It doesn't really bare thinking about. I'm sad it's happened, angry at the dog owner and the senseless destruction of innocent animals but mostly heartbroken for the Kids. Rocco and Lulu were really part of our family. We hand-reared them as lambs and they were such characters and great pets for the Kids. The above photo was taken a week before we went away and is one of my absolute favourites because it was a completely impromptu photo of the Kids before they hopped in the car to go to their inaugural Winter Sport games. Lulu decided she would like to photo-bomb the photo and ran up to the kids and poked her head through the middle of the line up. This is not the first time she had stolen the limelight. We are really going to miss them.
Despite the sad tenure of this post we also look back on the joy these animals gave us and if there is a silver lining it is this - one of the hens happened to go broody for the first time while we were away and was sheltered from the attack as she was tucked up in her nest sitting on her clutch of eggs - a new generation of Chooks are already on their way!