Not all things Blue are created equal

08 April 2024

We have many things blue on this farm: tractors, 200L drums, more tractors and most importantly, a dog named Blu. Bought as a young pup no taller than the top of my red band, he was advertised as a huntaway that could 'help out' on the farm. As the months drifted by, it was quite clear that Huntaway made up the minority of his gene pool, and something much larger with less intelligence was predominating. Now fully grown at five, he resembles a small horse, although this is where the similarity ends. A small horse would probably be more useful on the dairy farm than my dog Blu.

It's not all Blus's fault. He is the way he is. When he was just a young pup, he went to stay with the grandparents while we were away for a weekend. About a day after I picked him up, it was clear he wasn't himself. My vet senses were tingling, so I whipped him back to the vet clinic where I was working at the time, and we took a closer look. It appeared that Blu's blood was no longer in his veins where it should be but was slowly leaking out and filling his lungs. The cause of rapid internal bleeding – most commonly rat bait ingestion, which takes 24 hours for symptoms to show!

It made perfect sense as I did not have any rat bait on the farm, but the grandparents certainly had a few traps set on their property the day before!

Long story short, it was late at night, so we headed home for a blood transfusion on the kitchen floor and kept our fingers crossed. Blu fully recovered physically, although I am not convinced that he has ever been the same mentally. Was it my poor dog training skills, or was there a period where he lacked a bit of oxygen to the brain with all that bleeding? We will never know, but as the Young Farmer of the Year, I am certainly claiming the latter. How do I know he's not very intelligent? He regularly drinks the milk meant for the calves – despite being lactose intolerant, he uses his water bowl as a toilet, and he seems to periodically forget what he is doing mid-job, leaving me to chase the calves off the feeder on my own.

While most things Blue on the farm are reliable and easy to use, this thing called Blu is far from it.

So why do I put up with him? He's too dam cute to replace.

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