The story starts with a visit to Burns Lake, I think I went up to retrieve a Ford Pick Up I had left on the farm, and drive it back to the coast. It is a 1.500 km. drive, no problem if everything works. I got about 30 mils and the radiator boiled. I called my friend …., and he came and helped me back to his farm. I was there for a day or so, could not get the PU going, and decided to take the bus back to Vancouver, a long ride. My friends had many kinds of animals, apart from cows and horses, they had mink and fox, and other fur animals they were breeding.
I fell in love with some tiny rabbit babies running around in the snow. …..’s wife said they would never make it, they were born too early. I kept one, in my pocket, on the bus, all the way to Vernon, a two-day trip. I had a bottle with milk, and feed it when she woke up, we became friends. The diaper was a napkin.
Back in Vernon, she grew up, and lived under the front steps. Black and white in color, friendly as can be. In the yard I had a couple of horses, a few geese, a dozen sheep and the St.Bernard; Sophie. She was in charge, nothing moved in the yard without her approval and full oversight. The area was fairly large, and the animals could be gone for days, but the rabbit newer left, always lived under the steps. Sophie was always lose, and lived in a doghouse near by.
I worked for The Okanagan Indian band, and at this time we had 3.500 sheep working in the newly planted forestry areas, and all kinds of dogs, for various purposes. The shepherds had border collies and their own dogs from New Zealand. The guard dogs came from Poland,US, and even from the mountains in Turkey. At one vet check, we had 45 dogs to vaccinate.
When we had to give, sell or put dogs away, it was always difficult for a dog lover like me. I kept a small border collie pup, that would otherways been put to sleep. I called her; Lita; little one, in Norwegian, and she was small. When I brought her home, she was much smaller that the rabbit, with no name, but black and white, same as Lita.
They became friends instantly, Lita slept with the rabbit, played with the rabbit all day, shared everything, food, water and shelter. I had ambitions of training her as a sheep dog, but she was so attached to the rabbit, that I let her do her own thing growing up.
The friendship of the rabbit and the border collie was unique, never seen anything like it really. They would play, dig holes, run around, play with rocks and sticks, anything and everything was play and game. And, at the end of the day, they curled up together and slept like the best of friends. Every night.
One of my native friends had the brother of Lita, same nice little border collie, more dark in colour, but one could see they were from the same litter. He asked me to look after his dog for a few days when he was away, and I left them together, figuring it would be fine. At first it was, and they started playing, on their own and with the rabbit.
When I came home in the afternoon, I could sence that something was wrong. They came to meet me, as usual, but only the two dogs, not the rabbit. Then they brought the rabbit to show me; it was just some skin and bones left. She was as large as the dogs, now just a deflated body. I got angry, I got mad, I yelled and screamed, but nothing helped, they had still fun playing with the remains of the poor rabbit.
I did not understand, and poor Sophie was just as shocked as me. The other animals were scarce, the geese making lots of noise. I let them be, disappointed and sad. The next day when I got back from work I was greeted by the dogs, as usual, but this time they had a headless goose to show me. That was another shock. The geese normally ruled over the dogs, they ruled the yard. Every animal was scared of the geese. They even chased me, to keep me in place.
My native friend got back from his trip and picked up his dog, I never could accept what had happened. I could not believe it. The best of friends, and then a visitor, and they became merciless killers, hard to believe.
The border collie did not sleep under the porch after that, and she never ever touched any of the birds or animals in the yard, she was more like a guard and mother for them, but showed no remorse for the crime committed when her brother visited. She loved herding the small goslings, chickens and hens with small chicks, lambs and anything else that would be herded, and she never ever touched any of them ?