I mentioned in an earlier posting that during all the shenanigans surrounding our move we agreed to take Mr S’s dog – under duress. It was not that we had anything against the dog, we had met him a couple of times when we had viewed the farm, and he was slightly distant and aloof, it was simply that we were worried that if he didn’t get on with Ben & Sam we would then be left with the problem of trying to rehome an old, enormous dog.
Anyway, due to a combination of severe emotional blackmail and the fact that when it comes to animals we have the breaking strain of a Kit Kat, we found ourselves with a new addition to our family: Cosmo.
Cosmo is a Pyrenean Mountain dog. Imagine a small Shetland pony, and that’s pretty near the mark. He is 10 and has lived all his life on the farm. At first, after the sale had eventually gone through and we had moved in, the best way I could describe him is “depressed”, and we thought at first that he was missing Mr S. Since then we have learned that Cosmo was often left on his own at the farm for weeks on end. Sometimes a neighbour would come by to feed him once a day, but often Mr S just left him a couple of kilos of food to see him through.
We feed our dogs morning and evening, and that was the routine we wanted for Cosmo. At first, every time I fed him he would leave a lot of the food – I think this was because he had got so used to being on his own, and didn’t know how long the food was supposed to last him, he daren’t eat it all. Thankfully, he has now worked out that he will ALWAYS be fed twice a day – in fact if we’re a bit late in feeding him he will come and bark as if to remind us.
When we moved in Cosmo was a matted ball of fur. I discovered that he LOVES to be brushed: no wonder – he must have been so uncomfortable – so I gradually removed all the knots and burrs and other assorted crap, and then Eddie gave him a haircut.
As for Ben & Sam, there were a few tussles to begin with as Cosmo and Sam tried to work out who was going to be top dog (poor Ben is always going to be bottom of any pecking order he is so easy going), with the end result that Cosmo IS top dog, but he is happy most of the time to let Sam think he is.
Cosmo is a totally different dog to the one we inherited six weeks ago. He is loving and so gentle – a real gentle giant. Now, rather than spending all day in the barn, as he used to, he spends his days outside with us, or patrolling his territory. He even plays with us from time to time. He is an outdoor dog – we have tried to get him to come into the house, but he won’t (that may be no bad thing - I dread to think of the damage he could accidentally do with his hulking great bod). Maybe that will change when the weather gets colder, but he’s obviously bred to withstand the cold.
In short, we are very glad to have him. This breed is not long lived – I think 11 or 12 would be a good age, and he already has some problems with his back legs getting stiff, but for however long he has left we will do our best to make him know that he is loved and wanted.
Cosmo was not all we inherited when we bought the farm
We have a cockerel and 4 hens (one missing from photo!). One hen we only found after we moved in, when we discovered her in one of the stables sitting on eggs. A week later she hatched 5 chicks. Unfortunately two were killed by rats, so we have moved them all to a rat proof house, and put down copious amounts of poison in the outbuildings. One of the other hens had a single chick when we arrived – we’re not sure yet if this is a hen or a cockerel.
Apologies for the lack of photos in the last few posts. Here are some pictures of our new home.
View from paddock above house across towards the Pyrenees
View from paddock above house looking back to the house
House and barns
House and barns