I recently received a post on Facebook about an elephant on a special reserve who had made life friends with, of all things, a small white dog! Most of the elephants bonded with another elephant either as girlfriends or mates, so this was an unusual yet very strong bond. This video clip made me reminisce.
About 16 years ago, a small black and white fox terrier showed up at our home. I met him for the first time when I had parked my car in our 4 bay shed - he was quivering behind one of the other cars. I said hello to him, but he was very jittery and timid. I decided to leave him alone. This went on for about a week. Little by little, he became a bit more brave and I became very curious. He was very thin, looking under-nourished, and acting as though he had been mistreated.
After about a week of this behaviour, it became obvious that he did not want to go away, so we placed little bits of food and water out for him by our parking shed. After we left, he would venture out, and eat it frantically. Time passed, and one day I came home from work to find this little black and white dog actually sitting there, waiting for me. I got out of the car, and quietly put my hand out with palm exposed, to let him know I meant no harm. I spoke quietly, and asked how he was doing. He stood and looked at me, as though he was sizing me up--I waited. I invited him to come with me into our backyard, and to my surprise, he followed me. I was astonished! We had obviouly won his confidence.
As time went by, we eventually adopted him, and he became a wondrous part of our family. We named him 'Rex - The Wonder Dog', and he was! There are so many stories about him I could tell, most of them detailing how really wondrous he was, but this story is about Rex and Georgie!
Georgie was our Australian Terrier, a beautiful wiggly body of black and brown fur. She had been sad lately, as her yard-mate, Kurt, our rottweiler had recently passed away. Well, when this little fox terrier came through the shed door into our backyard, and Georgie saw him, there was a bit of sizing up and territory claiming stuff going on - nothing loud or violent, (as our Georgie was a gentle creature)--but she sized him up all the same, just as he had me.
Life went on and Rex stayed with us. As the days and eventually months passed, Rex and Georgie had the most glorious love affair. I feel lucky to this day to have been a part of it. (The whole episode of them needs to written into a much larger story, but I will edit it for this blog.) I would watch them sitting on the driveway in the sun in the late afternoon, and Rex would have his left front paw wrapped around Georgie's shoulders as they watched the end of the day together. He often would lean in and it would look as though he was whispering something quietly into her ear, or just give her a lick on her cheek, smoothing her whiskers. She would just smile back a him. Honestly- I am not exaggerating. They were inseparable. As time went on, Georgie gave birth to 4 of the cutest puppies. Rex was so excited he called out to me in frantic yelps, and as I came running, we saw the last puppy arrive. He was so proud!
Well, a few years passed, and as happens in life at times, we experienced some sad times. My husband John had just died from cancer, and on our return from Melbourne, we found Georgie and Rex waiting for us. It was a sad, but happy homecoming. The next morning, while the girls were still asleep, I noticed that Georgie was acting funny, and I knew I had to get her to the vet as soon as I could. I came inside the house to tell the girls what I was going to do, then grabbed my car keys and headed out towards Georgie. Rex was fretting, and running around, and I called out to him. We both stood side by side and looked down at Georgie, who lay still on the ground. She was dead. We don't know what happenend, maybe a snake bite....but she was gone. Rex was inconsolable.
Later that morning the girls and I dug a grave for Georgie next to Kurt's grave, under the trees in the lower paddock, and buried her. We had a ceremony in respect for her, covered her grave with soil and rocks for protection, and covered that with flowers. Rex stood next to us the entire time. A very quiet dog. As we left her gravesite, we called to Rex to follow us home, as it was getting towards evening, but he just layed on her grave. We left him alone. We knew he would come home when he wanted to.
He never did. Georgie had been his home. Now she was gone. He was too. We never saw Rex again.