One of my great delights in life is talking to dogs and horses. Their perspective is always honest and clear. They have no mixed agenda and are totally open and real with you. I’ve been asking my Molly dog, a border collie advice for years. I use a voice that my father did with us as kids – the one we speak to babies and animals with. I have just realised it is self- soothing and I find myself using it whilst driving and in stressful times. It perks the endorphins and has a way of relaxing you, enables you to laugh at yourself. I have inadvertently taught this voice to my niece, also a great animal lover (and much to my sisters disgust) she has mastered it beyond mine. It embarrasses my son and in fact in order to scare off Andrew – a then potential suitor (my now twenty-one year partner) said to him “Have you heard the voice?”, like it was some evil demon alter personality. Those of you who know me, know I talk stupid. It doesn’t worry me at all if you think I am nuts – I am fortunately of an age that I no longer care.
Images of Molly and Kelkei posing for our marketing collateral.
I in fact, if I was honest now days prefer the company of creatures. The highlight of my day is my morning walk with my old girl Molly (now thirteen). We have several friends who come to greet us. Sometimes I feel like Caesar the Dog trainer – first there are the two border collies next door – Lily and Boston. Lily lost her brother Mahal to an infection after a possum attack (they often carry a virus deadly to dogs). Lily is like another daughter as I met her when she was a new pup and we bonded. She knows that I am her second mum and drops in frequently. She genuinely knows that I am here if she needs anything – ever. Boston is new and bouncy and has to learn that chasing car tyres is not such a good idea. I sat him down and had a good talk about it – but he’s young and can’t resist the fun.
Images at Bandhini HQ of Molly hard at work, as usual.
Up the hill and down to greet us is Buddy the Boxer. A big, soft hearted boy – Molly is very cruel to him, like she doesn’t quite make her grade, but he’s got such lovely manners I just can’t resist him.
Two barking German Shepard’s go off as old Molly tart parades her stuff – she can barely walk these days but goes off like the queen of the street – Ellie and Candy respond like a couple of wild wolves but are as timid as all get out. I ended up with one here – lost – found by a passerby. I tend to get a lot of lost creatures here, I think they know it’s a safe haven. So far I have had seven dogs, two horses and a cow find sanctuary. It bothers me that they are lost and worried and away from their families.
Images of Molly trying to be a part of the new shoot!
Next along are my horse friends – Mystery a lovely Draft and her new foal Starburst who I saw her on the first day of her life. She is now nearly as big as her mum and in typical teenage fashion bossing mum around – who seems to tolerate everything thrown at her.
They share the paddock with miniature donkeys – Fudge and Popcorn. There was another Coco but he was sadly bitten by a snake – as his brother a Shar pei– very tragic to loose an animal that way, tortious pain for them. At the gate protecting the joint like a Gold Coast Bouncer is Zeus – a Doberman – I always disarm him with a cheery “Good Morning Zeus” I think he wants to tear a piece off me but really couldn’t.
Images of Tai with her best friends, giving them a quick snack!
Next my feathery friends – Henrietta, Charlotte and Abigail – I’ve made their names up as their parents haven’t given them any, awful sad I think. They roam freely up the end of our street – two clusters united from neighbouring houses. I am convinced that one of my greatest talents is as a “chicken whisperer”. I was asked by their family to mind them whilst way. “None of them are laying unfortunately”, they said. Well, let’s see about that, I thought. I immediately used my funny voice – just talking all sorts of rubbish to them. Well, the first day I got one egg, then two the second and by the time their folks got home, we were up to eight. That’s the power of friendship right there! They now have a new protector from foxes there (yes a sadly few have gone) in the miniature foxy Little Bubby only about the size of a size four shoe himself.
Images of Molly laying in the garden.
Then there’s the native bird life that makes you feel like you are on a movie set of a tropical paradise – a flash mob of cockatoos appear out of nowhere, squawking cheekily, good looking lad lorikeets duck and dive straight thru Molly and I as we toddle along. A gaggle of Kookaburras are in full blown karaoke like a bunch of jolly blokes returning drunk from a night out. We have our own resident Wrens living in our well clipped hedges. Andrew has named them Bonnie and Floyd – but to be honest we think there’s been a number on Bonnies as Floyd is a bit of a man about town and loves entertaining. Say no more.
Images at Bandhini HQ of our beautiful big horse, Kelkei!
I have my own big horse at home too Kelkei – you will have met him if you visited our office and warehouse out in The Valley- Yes I know we do things differently here. This big Arab creature wanders around like he owns the place. He’s an only horse and we feel a bit sorry for him in his paddock alone. He’s a good look of a thing, but don’t worry he also knows it but at twenty-six he’s also a grumpy old man. Any opportunity for a bit of a nip when you are not looking. Andrew is his main carer and they have taken on each- others qualities, so I have a complaint jar for them both and they are in charge of solving the problems. Kelkei has just lost a friend across the road – Pegasus a Thoroughbred who just lost his battle – a kindly vet kindly stroking him as he slipped away into the “green dream”. Our boy has taken a new lease on life however and he’s acquired a river retreat. Our neighbours across the creek have kindly allowed him on their easement – where they have across the fence – two llamas and five goats. Oh and the “to do” from Kelkei the day the Llamas moved in – he had never seen anything like it – these funny looking horses with pretty faces. Smitten he is, as we are, doesn't even bother coming home at night for dinner as he’s out on the trot with the llamas – batting their beautiful long eye lashes at him. Like his mother, he enjoys the company of furry friends who talk funny!
By Tai Schaffler - founder of Bandhini