Monday, 18 April 2011

The Cuckoo

My Mum & Dad heard the first cuckoo of Spring yesterday in the woods, while walking their dogs. Mum sent me an excited text straight away, as they always listen for it...and this year it was especially early. In fact, everything is early here it seems...the garden is a few weeks ahead of schedule and the warm sunshine is making it burst into life at such an amazing rate that I can hardly keep up! Every spare moment is spent pulling the weeds that seem to appear in seconds...and I'm having to water every other day (just the pots & new seedlings) as we haven't had rain for a few weeks and all is dry.

Cuckoos, as you know, lay their eggs in other bird's nests. When the giant cuckoo baby emerges, he isn't happy until he has kicked the other occupants out of his adopted home and he can be alone to be pampered by the poor parents who must wonder what they've bred and where the other eggs went! It's a good subject for today...as this is quite a difficult post for me to write. I so hope that you'll understand when I tell you that we are, once again, an only dog household. I took Charlie to his new - and final - home yesterday and, as you can imagine, I'm feeling sad today. Maybe melancholy is a better description. And I'm not sad on Charlie's behalf at all...his new family are wonderful, warm people who've always had wire fox terriers and lost their last (much loved) boy 9 weeks ago. They were in tears of happiness when they saw Charlie! He's now living as the only dog, on a large farm with it's own wood and acres to play in. He's sleeping on their bed at night, and eating chicken that's been especially cooked for him at dinnertime. I'm glad that Alice wasn't with me when I met them as she may have decided to go with him on hearing all that! My last view of him was such a happy one...after a long cuddle and a good drink of water, he bounced off with them for their first walk...and he didn't look back at all. I know he'll be more than fine.

The truth we've had to face is that Alice wants & needs to be an only dog. In the 6 weeks we had Charlie, she was never really happy...and she made his life very difficult. However much attention we lavished on her, she couldn't take the fact that, as she saw it, our love was divided. And she made it very plain that he wasn't welcome. We've had far too many nasty fights...and I mean real ones where blood was involved. They were all started by Alice, and Charlie did his best to avoid them...but if he was cornered he fought back. And he was much bigger & stronger than her. She has a big puncture wound on her head, a scar on her shoulder....we couldn't allow it to continue for either of their sakes. We took advice and decided that we had to put our own feelings aside and think of both dogs. We'd never been able to walk them together, which was time consuming and annoying. Fights would start over the smallest thing (never food, funnily enough!) and neither of them really relaxed. So a couple of weeks ago we decided that we should get in touch with the lady who found him for us and see if there was a better home for him. Amazingly, and so happily, there was!

We'll never regret having him for those weeks, despite the difficulties and stress. He's shown us that, even with the easiest and nicest natured dog, it's not the right thing for Alice to have another dog permanently in the house. And if we hadn't taken him in, he never would have found what I believe are his true family..as they weren't ready for him when we first got him. So I like to think that we took care of him for them.

This morning, I took Alice for our walk on the hill. All was calm & quiet. She's happy and content again knowing that she has pride of place in our hearts. Number one. Our little cuckoo!
I hope that you have a wonderful Monday xo

12 comments:

  1. Hello dear Rachel,

    I watched a nature program a couple months ago, all about cuckoos & how they lay their eggs in other smaller birds' nests. It was such an interested show. I really enjoyed learning more about the cuckoo bird. We don't have them here where we live.
    As for Charlie, you did the right thing, and the best thing for all concerned. I know you tried so hard to get Alice & Charlie to get along. In the end, it was not meant to be. You took care of Charlie until his other family was ready for him. Now, both Charlie and Alice will be happier - Charlie running free and Alice, once again in the spotlight!! Have a wonderful day sweetie! xoxo

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  2. such a hard thing to do, but oh so the right one. And that's all I shall say. I certainly don't judge (had to do something similar myself, years ago, and still beat myself up over it), and I completely understand that sometimes things don't work out.

    Yes, isn't it dry? I can't help it,I've just about had enough of this far-too-early-for-me summer thing! I need my rain. I don't call myself rainy day girl for nothing!!

    So glad about the baby girl arrival. A helpful little miss for putting a stop to the inducing! Eeks to that!

    have a lovely day. xx

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  3. Bless your heart, Rachel! You did do the right thing for the dogs, the new family and you and Paul! It must have been a hard decision to make, then say goodbye to Charle! I am happy for all of you and things will be better. Sending love and hugs, Sherry xx

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  4. The nicest and most cheering thing is the couple that are so happy now with Charlie.
    He will bring companionship and joy, and you get to think of him loping along through the woods and dining on coq av vin! (doggie version)
    A very happy ending.....and a new beginning too.
    xx
    julie

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  5. All things for a reason---the fact that Charlie never looked back is a good feeling that he knew he was headed in the right direction and your calm walk with Alice this morning was testament to the fact that she is a happy girl, too....now YOU dear Rachel...put on your happy face and bake up some lovin' for the rest of the day!!
    xx
    Joann

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  6. Ahh I'm so sorry you had to go through that. I know it was so hard on you. It's too bad Alice can't see the benefit of having an animal friend but my Dolly is the same way. She would never let a new cat in here tho she tolerates BooBoo and would miss him if he weren't here. So what can you do? Sometimes they win the battle. But my real question is this: I'm getting older and do you think Charlie's people would want to adopt me? Sounds like a very nice place to live!

    And are you saying the birds are so bird brained they actually raise the baby cuckoo and think it's their own? How amazing! Once in school I learned that mama spiders corral all their babies and load onto their backs and carry around. If more babies are added (not their own) they don't distinguish and will keep piling them on till they collapse. Guess despite a lack of good sense you have to admire their mothering skills.

    And I admire yours being able to do what's best for Charlie and Alice tho I know it broke you heart. Sending you a big hug.

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  7. Ahhhh Alice, kicked the dear Charlie out of her nest. She reigns supreme again. Now you humans have learned your lessons.

    Sending love across the miles,

    Sharon

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  8. oh dear rachel....what a story...i had no idea....i don't know what to say...it must have been so hard for you...but you knew your little alice just wasn't happy...i know what a tough decison it was...but also i feel like you....that it was all fate. the other couple wasn't ready when you adopted charlie...so in a way it was meant to be i guess...sometimes things happen that are just out of our hands...

    when i adopted teddy ( one year ago on the 20th) when i first saw him...i literally fell to my knees ...sobbing...both for the loss of Buddy and now my sweet Teddy ( now i am crying again ) i cried the whole 2 hours we were there adopting him....so i know how Charlie's new family feels...it's just how i felt...and i LOVE the sauteed chicken...Teddy gets it too...he eats whatever we eat for dinner...

    DOGGY LOVE !!! i am HAPPY to hear all turned out for the BEST ....alice is HAPPY and so is Charlie...
    love the happy ending, my friend

    sending love to all....
    kary and teddy
    xxx

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  9. I always found cuckoos quite sinister because of that story about taking over the nest of other birds. It is a bit like a bird version of Alien! Or one of those changeling tales, about a baby being abduced by elves. I saw a picture in Wikipedia tonight showing a Cuckoo being fed by another bird and even now is gives me shivers of pure fear.

    I am sorry that you had to let Charlie go. But you have Alice.

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  10. Dearest Ray,
    So hard for you, but of course, you did the right thing and it's turned out well for everyone involved. No one can say that you don't try hard and you always do what's best for the animals. I love you xxxxxxxxxx

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  11. Hey Rachel! Thanks for your comment, so nice to catch up with you again. I lost contact with so many people when both Cherry's forum closed and I changed blog address.

    I'm sorry to hear that you have had to make a difficult decision, but am glad you find a lovely new home for Charlie and that Alice is starting to settle down again now she is the only dog in the house. Such a hard decision to make, but you seem to have a good sense of the whole thing (as in you're sad, which is only natural, but you know Charlie has gone to a great home and your 6 weeks with him was well worth it for both his and your sakes!) xx

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  12. So sorry the kids didn't get along, but you did the right thing. Maybe you can visit with Charlie, I'm sure he'll never forget your kindness.

    I love the sounds of cuckoo!

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