Last Monday, the day before Valentine’s Day we lost Jessie our blue heeler and much loved family pet; she was twelve years old. For the past four years Jessie had lived with Granny and Farmer Bill at Red Hill Station. Enjoying her advancing years on the farm as a night watchdog, patrolling Granny’s extensive rose gardens by starlight to keep the kangaroos and rabbits at bay.
On 1st January 2000, the first day of the new millennium, Jessie unexpectedly joined our family. Brought down from Booligal with her littermate to be viewed by perspective buyers that were staying with us at Hay. The two very cute roly-poly puppies played in the dust of our driveway while the decision on which pup to choose was being made. The buyers chose Jessie’s sister.
Our Booligal blue heeler breeding friends Yabby and Sandra asked if we would like to keep Jessie as a New Year’s Day present. With 20 month old toddler Max and not quite four week old baby Sam; a blue heeler puppy was the last thing I wanted… but what can I say, she looked at me with her big brown eyes and I heard myself saying “Wow, really? She’s so cute. Thankyou.”
I’ve always had a soft spot for heelers, they are tough, fiercely loyal and like kelpies, uniquely Australian stock dogs. Jessie although a purebred blue heeler, was a short-wheel based version that looked as though she could have had Staffordshire terrier somewhere in her ancestry. She was a very dark blue (black with flecks of grey) with a big black splotch around one eye.
Growing up at Rosedale with Max, Sam and Henry, Jessie had a beautiful loving nature… with the exception of some strangers, the odd chook, rabbits, snakes and car tyres. Vehicles were her nemeses; she would bark ferociously whenever one came down our driveway and would growl and rush at the front fence as they drove past on Farlows Lane.
When she was about eighteen months old Jessie made a dash for the road in an attempt to remove the driver’s side front wheel from a neighbour’s dual cab Hilux ute. An unsuccessful attempt as the Hilux went over the top of her and she was left black and blue with bruises for more than a week. Relieved that she had survived relatively unscathed with the exception of the bruising, I felt it was a good lesson for her and would cure her of her car chasing ways. How wrong I was.
Far from being dissuaded from car chasing, Jessie became more incensed. She would hear that Hilux start up from two kilometres away and would be bracing herself for a renewed attack… ever confident she would “get it this time.”
Over the years she had some personal victories: a low-profile high performance (read: very expensive) tyre on a Falcon ute (straight through the wall of the driver’s side rear tyre) and a brand new Bridgestone on a Fairlane (again, straight through the wall rendering it impossible to be repaired).
Taking her incorrigible car-chasing ways into account we decided it would probably be best if Jessie retired to the isolation of Red Hill Station on the Hay Plains rather than the suburbia of Teddy’s Lane in Barham. It took Jessie about two years to accept that she was not holidaying at Red Hill Station and that it was now her permanent home. From then on she followed Farmer Bill around everywhere during the day.
In the last six months Jessie had become increasingly deaf and sadly her fifth “run over by a vehicle” incident proved fatal on the morning of the 13th February 2012.
As my eldest son Max said on his Facebook status: R.I.P Jessie. The Best pet/Guard dog/tyre eater/car chaser a Family could have. Run over 4 times (and healthy) till yesterday 5 times was just 1 too much. We’ll miss you…
I couldn’t have said it better.