Saturday, 16 November 2013

Poppy Arrives and Deer Drama

We were up bright and breezy this morning so made an early start with the sheep. We found 22 of the 29- the rest were hidden deep within the thorny thickets so we couldn't get in to them. This is not unusual since the sheep have learned to use the entire area they graze.

The only thing that was worrying me was that we didn't immediately see Betty, but she finally appeared, bleating and charging down the hill towards me (or towards the bucket), just as we were leaving. 

The mist on the fields around the down was spectacular, like a rolling ephemeral sea, and the cattle loomed out of it like creatures of the deep...

Islands of woodland breaching the mist
An attractive shot of Betty

Ice crystals on nettle

We had High Drama on the way home. A fallow deer had been hit by a car just outside Stockbridge and three men were in the road with it. We drove past, thinking it looked like they had the situation covered, but a voice in my head immediately told me to go back, so we turned round and went to help.

It turned out they hadn't hit the deer, instead, a car with two elderly people in it had driven past them with its front hanging off and a second later they came across the deer lying badly injured but alive in the road. Despite not being country people, and despite the fact they were dressed up and on their way to a day at Cheltenham races, they pulled over. One went to the deer while another rang the police.

Knowing from experience that the police don't always know what to do with wild creatures, and also seeing that although alive, the deer's back legs were paralysed and it would not recover, I rang Sean, who has done a game-keeping course and also works as a GC. He told me to cover the deer's eye with a cloth to help calm it while he got in his car to come out. Luckily, M was wearing two t-shirts (it being parky) and stripped off one so I could wrap it round the deer's head. It stopped struggling, which was a relief.

At this point the local policeman arrived and told us he'd left a message with whoever was top of their vet/ local gamekeeper list to come out. The only problem was he had no idea when that would be. Sean had told me he would need to cut the deer's throat (sorry if this upsets anyone, but I'm afraid that's the reality when a large animal is injured that badly on the road and you don't have a shotgun handy).

Anyway, I told the policeman Sean was on his way and in a few more minutes he arrived. The lads who has done so much to help the poor animal decided they didn't want to stay and see what had to happen, so M and I took over. I held the deer while Sean did the necessary.

I was very glad to have him there and we were both really impressed with the way he handled things. He was calm, steady and professional, so: well done Sean, and Thank You.

It all feels rather surreal now, but it isn't the first time an injured wild thing has died in my arms. You do what needs to be done for the welfare of the animal and worry about your feelings later.

Subdued, but also relieved that the poor thing was no longer in pain, we went home, collected L, dropped off Ted and went to collect Poppy. We rather feel we have witnessed both ends of the life cycle today, with the death of the deer and the addition of a new puppy. Such is life.

Anyway, Poppy is a sweetheart, and already bounding about the place chasing toys and chewing people's slippers. She didn't enjoy the car journey much and was sick twice, both times mostly on me, but she has now recovered and is eating, weeing, squeaking and charging around in general boisterous puppy fashion. I think she has taken rather a shine to M and is therefore a bit of a Daddy's Girl (which he loves). Ted isn't sure about her. He's growled a couple of times when she tried to sit on his bed, but I don't mind this- better that she respects his spaces. I expect them to be fine once they get used to one another. 
She's asleep on a blanket by my feet as I type this- she seems to have worked out already that instead of squeaking when I am working at the computer, it's much better to go to sleep under the table where I'm not far away if she needs me. Poppet.

Here she is (hard to photograph well at present because she is very rarely still)...

Demonstrating that she is currently not much bigger than a pumpkin

Look at that expression!

I'd say she was Deeply Honoured to be allowed a) on Ted's bed, and b) to share Ted's fire, even if it is from the back position of the blanket

Definitely a Daddy's Girl

I'm going to finish on a poem I read on Cait O'Connor's excellent blog a couple of days ago by a poet called Mary Oliver. It's called The Sweetness of Dogs" and as such seems very appropriate for today. I'm also going to dedicate it to the deer, who was, like the rest of us, a creature of the Universe under the gaze of the moon.

What do you say Percy? I am thinking

of sitting out on the sand to watch

the moon rise. Full moon.

So we go

And the moon rises, so beautiful it

makes me shudder, makes me think about

time and space, makes me take

measure of myself; one iota

pondering heaven. Thus we sit,

I thinking how grateful I am for the moon’s

perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich

it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,

leans against me and gazes up into

my face, as though I were

his perfect moon.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

CT x 


  1. Poppy is so lovely . I get such a chuckle of the pups stting in front of the fire :)

    1. She is a real sweetheart. Ted is very grumpy about her moving in. Hopefully he'll stop feeling sorry for himself and punishing us with woebegone eyes and dejected body language before long.

  2. CT that's a lovely poem, thanks for posting it. So sad about the deer but the animal died with you next to it and not alone and that's a comforting thought for me.
    Your photos of the mist, sheep and cattle are just beautiful.
    Oh Teddy is funny with his face to the fire, but I'm delighted to see he's let adorable Poppy onto the corner of his bed.
    Have a lovely weekend with Poppy.

    1. I thought the poem was beautiful too. Ted is not at all pleased to have Poppy here- I think he thought she was just visiting yesterday and can't believe she's still here today!

  3. Hi CT. Sorry to hear about the Deer. Now. Ian,t your new puppy gorgeous and Ted is being good.

    1. Poppy is a real sweetheart- I think she'll make a cracking dog.

  4. I was just about to switch off the computer and saw your post so had to pop by and meet Poppy! What a beautiful start to the day you had the views with the rolling mist were beautiful. I too took a picture of frost on nettles this morning. How sad to read about the poor deer and how good you both were to stop and help and make it's last moments less stressful.
    Oh Poppy is such a dear wee thing. I love that picture of her sitting on Ted's rug. Hope you have a peaceful night with her.
    Sarah x

    1. She wasn't too squeaky last night thank goodness, and has spent most of today asleep on the chair with L who is playing on his computer. She follows him round everywhere which will be hard tomorrow when he's at school! Ted is not amused.

  5. Poppy is very, very sweet indeed. What a lovely picture of her that last one is!
    Well done you with the deer too. The quicker a wounded animal is dispatched the better. I get so cross with people who leave their pets in pain to satisfy their own needs. SO cruel. I'll stop ranting now....sorry!

    1. I agree- animals have to come first. I was very upset that the people who hit her just drove off, but the guys that stopped got the car details so the policeman said he would pursue it. There's no excuse for leaving an injured animal to die in the road alone like that.

  6. Poppy is adorable. I imagine she's successfully taken over the house at the moment, but it must be fun watching her make herself at home.
    What an awful situation with the deer. (This is one reason why I'll never like cars) But it was a situation that had to be dealt with and it's good that you and the others stopped to help.
    I just love these photos of Ted by the fire. He looks so completely fascinated by it and I'm glad Poppy has been granted a little space on his blanket!

    1. She has rather taken over at present. It's very hard not to watch her all the time when she growls at toys and pounces on them and runs about with them in her mouth. T is finding it less amusing today.
      I agree about cars- dangerous things. M would rather sell his and cycle everywhere but it just isn't practical at the moment.

  7. Poppy is so cute - just love the photo of her sharing Ted's rug and fire :)

    Great landscape photos at the start of the post - my goodness it looks cold!

    So sad to hear about the deer but well done on stopping and helping and at least it didn't suffer for long.

    1. He wasn't very pleased about the fire share and has growled at her every time she's tried it since! Hopefully he'll settle in a day or two :-)

      It was jolly chilly out on the down, but after walking up the hills to look for the deer it suddenly felt much warmer!

  8. Dear Ted,

    I don't often write to dogs, being a superior feline person myself, but I have been very taken by your recent plight, by which I mean the arrival of a Spidery Thing called Poppy.

    I, too, have tolerated the arrival of a Spidery Thing in the last few months, by the name of Flora Bijou Mybug, and because of this I lend you my sympathy and support.

    My advice is this: sit on the Spidery Thing often, and pin it down on a regular basis and give it a good wash. Being closer to the ground than you, it is bound to get dirtier more often. Make sure you get to eat as much of their special Spidery Thing food as often as possible because it tastes a lot nicer than grown up food. Maintain your space by the fire. DO NOT under ANY circumstances be taken in by big gooey eyes and pitiful squeaks - relinquish the fire spot once and it will be gone forever.

    And most importantly, remember you were there first and are therefore THE BEST. Remain dignified at all times and eventually the Spidery Thing will come round to your way of doing things.

    Best regards, Tybalt.

    1. Dear Tybalt,

      I don't often write letters to cats either. I usually keep my communication with felines to: a) chasing them or b) running away from them when they puff up to three times their normal size and hiss at me alarmingly.

      However, I thank you for your concern, from one under-siege male to another.

      This small thing is driving me mad- she wants to play ALL THE TIME and despite my best growly efforts she doesn't seem to understand that I don't. She even got in MY BED last night and even when I bit her she didn't shift but had to be removed by mum. I am very much afraid that I will soon have to accept the fact that life will never be the same again.

      Some good things have come out of it though. 1) I have been given several new toys. When you add these to the ones she has been given which I have stolen it amounts to a not inconsiderable pile amassing in my bed. 2) I get fish for dogs cubes whenever she gets her food. 3) The family are going overboard with my cuddles for me. 4) And finally (the best of the lot) they have bought a prison cage for her which she goes in at night and sometimes during the day too. She makes a right old racket when she's in gaol, but at least when she's in there she can't kept leaping all over me.

      Hope all is well with your small thing now and that it has learnt you are in control- this gives me some hope for my own situation.

      Best regards


    2. Dear Ted,

      Indeed, now the Spidery Thing has grown she has become more agreeable. I am finding it increasingly difficult to fit her head in my mouth so have taken to kicking it instead during our fun and frolic roister doister sessions. She is also proving to be a useful hot water bottle replacement for the chilly times during the day when Mama and Papa are at work and do not see the necessity of leaving the heating on all day for the benefit of us cats. Apparently, because we are 'covered in fur' that is heating enough. Pah!

      And I am still eating a quantity of her kitten food when I can, because I find it is keeping me very regular which, at my age, is jolly good.

      Glad to hear the new toys and cuddles and fish cubes are in abundance. Fish cubes sound absolutely delightful. I must tell Mama about them. Are they for dogs only?

      So fear not, my canine chum; your discomfort will be short lived. It will not be long before you are thoroughly adored and worshipped by Poppy.

      Best regards,


    3. My dear Tybalt.

      You can indeed purchase fish for cats. If you ask your mum to google it it should appear. Cleo (my own cat) eats fresh fish daily and despite all the current hubbub about it being bad for cats she has blossomed since (and she's old and VERY grumpy so anything that makes her sweeter is a boon in my opinion).

      Have a good day,


  9. How horrible for that poor deer. I wouldn't have been able to watch so well done for being brave and staying with it til the end. Poppy looks sooo tiny! This time last year we got Bracken and I remember so clearly what a little munchkin he was! Especially when he would steal our slippers that were the same size as him practically!! I reckon Ted will warm to her and they'll get along famously :) Excited to see more photos of her soon! I hope you enjoyed the rest of your weekend and Poppy is continuing to settle in! Does she sleep away from you but with Ted?

    1. Hi Lou.

      Sadly road accidents with deer happen a lot round here so it isn't the first time I've had to sort something like that out.

      You are so right about slippers being bigger than puppies! It is hysterical watching poppy drag her toy duck around the place as she's about 2/3 it's size and she growls at it!

      She sleeps downstairs with Ted (our dogs aren't allowed upstairs). She's in a crate at night for safety and to give T a break! CT x

    2. Bracken isn't allowed upstairs either and sleeps in a crate too. He would cause mayhem upstairs! x

    3. It really doesn't bare thinking about does it? :-)


Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x