Before we knew it we had a dog. Every farm needs a dog, especially once you have sheep or cattle. Irish sheep dogs are bred for that purpose in particular, but ours turned out to be a mixture between Border collie and God knows what. The kids were delighted. Our promise of a dog had been a big incentive luring them into this adventure of emigration, something not easy to understand for little ones who had to leave behind their familiar surroundings and friends.
The pup was about 8 weeks old. We named her Brandy although she was more black and white than brown. “So, will the next one then be called Whiskey?”, the neighbor who gave her to us asked in true Irish humor. Brandy turned out to be an excellent watch dog and an expert at rounding up herds. A few months later that autumn, she already was pregnant with 11 puppies. That fertility continued over the years. We kept one of her first litter, Brownie, who became an expert football player, snatching the ball in real goalie fashion. She was useless with the animals however. Patrick loved to play football with Brownie though he found it not fair that she was better at it than him. “No wonder, she has 4 legs…” he groused. Brownie was a devil for following cars down the road attempting to bite their tires and was run over in the process twice. She would retreat to her dog house and not eat for a couple of days but then be at it again relentlessly- or shall I say stupidly?
May weather was beautiful and warm that year promising a long hot summer or so I thought. My enthusiasm was curtailed by the prevailing Irish wisdom, however, that “we only get 2 weeks of summer a year”. That’s it. But it was only May? Wait till you see. By the end of May I had unpacked most boxes and got ready for our first set of visitors. And we ran out of water….