Life Behind The Scenes With The Ironing Diva
I LOVE to iron. I LOVE to cook. I LOVE to sew. My daily primping and preening of my farmhouse. And my country garden. Gives me great joy. I LOVE my life on a remote property in rural Australia. My worldwide business is my focus in life. Is one of my greatest challenges. And is a source of great joy. I LOVE being alive. Because I’ve risen up from the ashes of despair. And created a life that is now a dream come true. Come join me on my adventures of how I live a life I LOVE.
~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
Memories. The Story Of Daisy Mae. My Dog With Attitude.
It’s with a sad and heavy heart that we laid our beloved 14-1/2 year old Tri-Coloured Rough Collie, Daisy Mae, to rest at 10:45 this morning. Monday, 19th November 2018. Hopefully. She’s yippee-yi-yo-ing. As she chases rabbits in doggie paradise.
As with all our rescued animals. Cats and dogs. Each one has a story.
In January 2005, Daisy Mae replaces a much loved Dalmatian, Speckle.
In 1994, we find Speckle on the secondary road we travel to and from our local post office.
I see him on a winter’s day. On the way home from posting parcels. His 18 month old body pasted against a fence. Terrified of passing traffic.
He won’t come to me when I get out of my car to rescue him.
On arriving home. I tell Victor. We go out together to look for him.
But to no avail. We spend half an hour searching. But he’s nowhere to be seen.
We let all the neighbours know we will give him a home.
The bush telegraph goes to work.
The next day, late afternoon, we receive a phone call. He is holed up in thigh high grass at the entry to a dirt road. Underneath a mailbox. He’s hard to see, we are told. The caller says if we don’t pick him up by 5pm. He will be shot. Farmers don’t take kindly to hungry stray dogs who might attack their sheep.
Victor hurriedly makes sandwiches. Takes them with us. While I grab a blanket.
We find him exactly where the caller says he will be. Victor gets out of the car. Offers him a sandwich. And he’s in the back of our car in no time. Shivering. He is a short haired dog. Roughing it out in the open. On a bitterly cold June day in our rural patch.
Food is now in his tummy. And he’s covered by a warm blanket. He’s in heaven!
No one claims him. So we do.
He lives with us for 11 years. And dies in his sleep from congestive heart failure. He doesn’t die alone. We are in the room with him. And laying beside him is his best mate.
She is a rescued 6 year old English Springer Spaniel X German Pointer.
In 2001, a 10 year old boy goes door to door with an 18 month old heavily pregnant dog on a rope in Lithgow. Telling everyone his father is being sent to jail the next day. And if he doesn’t find a home for her. His father will shoot her that night. Can you give my dog a home, please?
Shooting unwanted dogs is de rigueur in the bush.
A friend rescues her. Lets her have her puppies. Finds homes for them. And rings me to tell me she’s found the perfect dog for us.
Which she is.
She is very lonely after Speckle, her best mate, dies.
That same friend puts us in touch with a breeder in the Blue Mountains. She has a 6 month old Tri-Coloured Rough Collie who is unsuitable for breeding. Therefore she won’t sell her. But wants to give her away to a very good home.
We are that very good home.
We take Feather with us to help us inspect this potential new canine resident of our rural property.
Things don’t go well.
Feather is so named by Victor because she is ‘gentle as a feather’.
Daisy Mae has attitude. And expects to see your passport and birth certificate before making any decisions regarding her acceptance of you.
In our ‘meet and greet’, she is aloof, but curious, about me and Victor. But clearly takes exception to Feather. Including baring her teeth. And a warning snap. Or two.
Victor is quite horrified at her bad manners.
When I tell her owners that, yes, we will give her a home, Victor’s head snaps back. As if he’s been whiplashed. And in utter surprise, asks – we are?!?!
The drive back from The Blue Mountains – 2+ hours – to our farmhouse. Can best be described by the words – ‘this dog is a real piece of work’.
She lives in a kennel. Has never been in a car before. And is terrified.
Being a bundle of energy, she doesn’t curl up in a foetus position with fear. Instead, she tries to climb all over my head from the back seat. After 10 minutes of my head being assaulted, we stop. And I get in the back seat with her. She sits. Sometimes stands. On my lap on the journey to her new home.
I glance back at Feather. Who is sleeping with one eye open in the back of the station wagon. She opens the other eye when she sees me looking at her.
Her message is unmistakable.
Daisy Mae huffs and puffs and squirms with anxiety all the way home. It’s a relief to finally drive through the gate of our rural property.
Victor’s mother, Margarita, is at our farmhouse to meet us. She lives on our property in a house designed for her by her architect son, Victor. Called Meadow House.
Daisy Mae is besotted with Margarita from the first second she lays eyes on her. She jumps up and down. Howls. Tries to jump into Margarita’s arms. And licks her to death.
What a good sign. She likes people.
As with all new dogs and cats who join our family, a visit to the vet is mandatory within days of landing in our rural patch. There’s micro chipping to do. Vaccinations. Check ups.
This dog is an attention getter. Glossy black fur coat. Set off with a white ruff collar. Beautiful black button eyes. Striking black and tan face. Not many people have seen a Tri-Coloured Rough Collie. In our vet’s waiting room, Daisy Mae isn’t happy with people coming up to her and patting her. She is tolerant. Just.
When our vet comes out and sees her, Daisy Mae happily jumps up on her for a pat. Just like with Margarita.
A better sign.
But when our vet bends down to give her a kiss. Daisy Mae snaps at her.
Our vet apologises. Says many dogs don’t like people putting their faces so close to their face.
Me? What I’m seeing are potential red flags.
I quickly learn that, regarding the public, Daisy Mae has multiple personalities. Cuddly Marilyn Monroe. Waspish Bette Davis. And sometimes Snappy Tom. And she can be all three within seconds.
And. Did I mention it? She’s very in your face.
Full of hustle and bustle. You know when she enters the room!
And in no time, Victor is utterly fascinated by her. And besotted with her!
She is never difficult with me. Or Victor. When we lay her to rest. I tell our vet she is the most loyal and obedient dog we have ever owned. And she is. She is a devoted one-owner dog. Who doesn’t need anyone else in her life. We are her world. And that’s enough for her. She only has eyes for us.
But. It’s a given that she needs to be socialised. So she and I enroll in Saturday morning dog training in Bathurst. My nearest regional centre.
Class starts at 9am. Sharp.
The 7am drive there is an hour+. And we go every Saturday. Even in rain. Because rain here. Doesn’t mean rain there. On our two lane country road, we drive through pea-soup fog. Snow flurries. Sunshine. Heavy clouds. Up hills. Down dales. Around hairpin bends that twist like pretzels.
We start in Beginners. And she takes me all the way up to Class 4. She loves the work of being obedient. Training her is never work.
In training. As everywhere else. She turns heads. People are captivated by her beauty. And in training, her quirky personality is more often cuddly Marilyn Monroe. Sometimes waspish Bette Davis. But never Snappy Tom.
We end training 4 years later. After 208 Saturday mornings. There is nothing else I can teach her.
Our training buddies become lifelong friends. And in Bathurst. Amongst a select group of people. I will be forever known as Daisy Mae’s mum.
She and Feather become friends. Share Feather’s couch. Yes! Feather has her own couch!! Sleep together. Play together. And she adores going for a ride in the back of the station wagon.
In 2007, we rescue a 4-1/2 year old gentle giant Rhodesian Ridgeback called Jake.
Jake comes from a loving home. Is fully trained by his owner. And reluctantly surrendered.
Husband and wife are in partnership in a country pub outside of Canberra. Their partners want out. Because their pub has no poker machines, by choice, no one wants to buy it. So they all agree to close the pub.
They return to Sydney. And are devastated when they discover they can’t find any accommodation to rent that will allow a Rhodesian Ridgeback as part of the family.
They put Jake in a kennel until the right home is found. There he languishes for 4 months.
The same friend who finds Feather and Daisy Mae for me. Knows about Jake. Would we consider giving a home to an older dog with a big personality? Who is yearning for human companionship?
We enthusiastically say YES!
On the way back to our rural property. With Jake in the back of the station wagon. Victor muses as to how Feather and Daisy Mae will react to ‘King Kong’. He is a very BIG dog!
Upon seeing him, Feather is delighted. And immediately shows him her ‘play bow’.
Daisy Mae, on the other hand, strikes a pre-emptive stance.
I’m Top Dog!
This kindest and most loving of dogs – Jake – always acquiesces.
We learn how to manage her multiple personalities regarding the public. And always have a working dog muzzle on hand. To put on her if we think Snappy Tom will be the predominant persona.
At home. On her own turf. She is a smiley. Happy dog. She loves her human family. And feels very secure and safe with us.
12 months ago we notice her back legs aren’t as strong as they used to be. Getting up. Laying down. Becomes problematic.
To the point where she needs help in getting up. And laying down.
Being that she is now an only dog. Feather and Jake having been laid to rest in 2012 and 2015. We become indulgent dog parents.
Victor takes to carrying his 25kg beloved canine companion from room to room. When she falls, we are there to help her up. Because she cannot get up on her own. For that reason, we make the decision that she will never be left alone. We will not go out together as a couple unless we can take her with us.
But in recent weeks, there are other worrying signs. The tumour that is growing by leaps and bounds over her left eyebrow. Her struggle with arthritis that is getting worse.
Give us the gnawing feeling that . . .
That time is this morning. Victor cradles her in his lap at the vet. And when she is injected with her anesthetic overdose to stop her heart. It is swift.
When her head drops. My heart wants to scream out. “Raise your head up, Daisy Mae! Please!!”
But that is not to be.
We miss her the second she leaves us. And we will miss her forever. And remember her forever.
The ghost of our ‘in your face’. ‘I only have eyes for you’ hustle and bustle dog with attitude. Is rampaging everywhere in our farmhouse. And our farmhouse is very quiet without her energy and chutzpah letting us know – she is in the room.
~Carol Jones, Ironing Diva❤
Daisy Mae. And Friends. In Pictures.
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