The animals of Sunny Farm
"Oh, please stop whining and pacing your kennel, Penguin," said Tau, the beautiful red-brown
Staffordshire bitch from the adjoining kennel. "My puppies wake up every time you pass this side
of your kennel."
"Have a heart, Tau. you know I am in season and I just want Regal, my lover so much that I have
to cry and let the people know that I want him to visit me. It will be my first babies and I am
so excited. I'm sorry, I'll try to stick to the far side."
"Oh no, Penguin, I am not going to listen to your love songs either." growled a fawn Boxer bitch,
gretta, in the kennel on Penguin's other side: "I'm also on heat, but I hate my lover, Frank.
Mating's alright, but another litter of puppies is not my idea of fun."
Penguin was a very attractive Greyhound bitch with a black body and all white on her neck, chest
and front legs. She groaned. Why can't they just leave her with him for a few days? She wanted so
badly to have puppies!
"Don't be so heartless, Tau, she doesn't know what it's all about. Just let your puppies suckle
enough and they will sleep through." said a black brindle Boxer bitch from further down the line.
"It's easy for you to speak, Martine. Your pups are already three weeks old and do not need so
much sleep as mine; and you can hardly hear Penguin's moans from your kennel." Grumbled Tau.
"Meow, prrt meow. Morning to you all," said Patches as she paced languidly along the line of
kennels where the bitches with puppies and the in-season bitches stayed.
A storm of barking greeted the visitor, but Patches did not take offence as she knew that escape
was impossible for the dogs and besides, there were numerous escape routes for her if one did
get out. Actually most of the bitches liked her.
"Why are you lot disagreeing again this morning? I think that putting all the pregnant and
in-season bitches plus bitches with puppies so close together is not a good idea, but humans are
so stupid. They are always talking about hormone imbalances and pmt and so on, not realizing that
this goes for animals as well."
"Pirrrt-pirrt. No excuses, oh no, no excuses!" Taunted Shilling from the four foot
high roof of the second row of kennels: "Women, bitches, tabbies and mares are all the same:
This sparked a hail of abuse from the bitches and the dogs in the second row of kennels also
joined in. Now the dogs were barking in outrage, whereas before the barking was mild, only
announcing the presence of a cat.
"Just you wait till I catch you sleeping, Shilling," said Patches who felt offended as she was a
tabby too: "I'll have half of your tail for breakfast one morning. Just get out here! You're not
welcome in female company!"
"Make me go!" He taunted and stayed exactly where he was, making himself more comfortable on the
warm corrugated iron roof. He kept his one eye on Patches. She was quick and her claws razor sharp,
as she spent even more time than the vein sasha, sharpening her claws on the back of the couch,
using the wood and fabric as a scratching board.
Though the day was hot the infra red lights were permanently on where there were bitches with
very small puppies and the mothers would have drained their water bowls at least twice, were it
not for the automatic water supply system which kept their bowls filled with clear, clean
bore hole water permanently.
"It is going to rain tonight, but I think there will be more thunder than rain." announced Lass, a
wise middle aged greyhound.
"Oh no, not thunder!" Groaned Mitch: "I wish I could sleep in the house. I'm so frightened of
thunder and those flashes hurt these old eyes of mine. Mia, will you try and get the back door
open for me, somehow?"
"Shame Mitch, I'll try my best." Said Mia.
"It's unfair that some dogs can run free and we have to sit in kennels." Grumbled Tau.
"Don't you ever stop complaining, Tau? At least when your puppies are sold you will be taken back
to your master's home in the city, but the rest of us have to stay here in the kennels permanently."
Patches was now sitting in the kitchen, switching her tail to and fro which meant she was angry or
irritated. Cat sat on the kitchen cupboard watching her.
"What is wrong now?" Asked Cat.
"The bitches in the maternal kennel block are arguing and grumbling all the time. Then Sasha
insulted Whiskers and one of her admirers had the cheek to slap him around, so Shilling and I
taught the devil a small lesson: we pawed him about a little and then he saw Mia and fled! To
crown it all, Cass kicked Magic so hard that he fell and rolled. In short, everybody's in a foul
mood, just because it is so hot and humid." Said Patches trying not to let on that she
saw that Cat was inviting a mishap again with that long tail of hers.
As usual Cat's tail was hanging down the front of the cupboard, but the cutlery draw was open,
and her tail was hanging down into it. The cook was about to close the draw and history was
about to repeat itself.
"meow! meow!" Cat screamed as the draw shut on her tail.
"sorry! Sorry!" Said the appalled cook, but Cat had
already fled to the bedroom and Lindie, the Bullterrier, who had just walked in pulled a face.
"We had better stay away from her till morning now. She'll be in a foul mood." Said Lindie.
"I heard you telling cat about all the arguments. In the Bullterrier kennels Sassy and Cindy also
almost had a scrap now."
A severe, dry electric storm broke around twelve that night. Mia asked to be let out just as the
storm approached and together she and Blackie pushed the backdoor open wide enough for Mitch to
squeeze through. Maxie, their master, who was practically blind did not see Mitch slip in and curl
up in the corner of the bedroom where Mia usually lay if she was not on the bed.
Lindie lay on the front lawn on her elbows, tucking her nose in under her chest so that her eyes
were turned down to the ground and thus the lightning flashes did not bother her. she often lay
like this when it was raining or very cold. Lying thus she looked like an oddly shaped rugby ball.
Tau pulled her puppies close against her body and curved her body round them to keep them warm.
The infrared lamp was on and they were lying on a thick pile of newspaper. The storm was getting
very close and a cold wind blasted through the door and through the cracks between the roof
and walls. She was in the sixth puppy kennel and the other five were full of bitches with litters
and a pregnant bitch who was expected to have puppies soon.
Thunder crashed nonstop now. Suddenly a deafening clap startled all the dogs, and they panicked,
as the lightning struck the nearby power line, fusing all the electric lights. As tau's was the
last kennel in the line, the too strong electrical current from the lightning could flow no
further than her light.
With the strong current came immense heat melting the steel wire with which the lamp was tied in
place, the wire breaking into small white-hot pieces which scattered all over the floor, one piece
landing on the newspaper between Tau's front legs.
There was a spark, causing Tau to jerk up. Then, within a matter of seconds, the bed of newspaper
"Help me! Help, please help me!" She screamed while she tried to push the burning paper away from
her. It was under her and under her puppies and the flames were getting larger, the smoke choking
In the very corner of her nest there was no news paper and she started moving her pups one by one
into that corner, using her mouth and front paws, while kicking the burning mass of paper into the
farthest corner with her hind legs.
One puppy on the edge of the fire screamed and she picked it up in her mouth. She felt her
whiskers frizzle away, but she wasn't phased.
When he was safely out of the way she used her feet and nose to push the rest of the news paper into
Once she was certain all the newspaper was far away from her puppies she went to them and started
licking them frantically.
It was a miracle.
Only the one which she had rescued from the very edge of the fire had a slightly burnt paw which
she licked gently, trying not to hurt him.
As the fire was burning to ashes in the far corner, Tau
gathered her puppies tightly against her body while she licked them, even cleaner than she had
done when they were newly born.
"No! No!" Barked Martine, as the smoke penetrated through the cracks in the wall. "Fire! The fire
is going to kill my babies!" She jostled her pups into the farthest corner of her puppy kennel and
sat upright in front of them to protect them.
All the dogs were barking wildly now, creating a terrible din. The rain was pouring down in
bucketfuls and the thunder still crashed relentlessly.
Lindie ran to the kennels and saw what had happened.
"I'll go and call the people." She said and turned to run.
"No, leave it. The fire is out and Tau can do with peace and quiet while she sorts out her puppies."
She had witnessed the whole drama as there was a wide crack in the wall between
her kennel and Tau's. She was trembling at the thought of what could have happened.
In the morning the house dogs and cats discovered the ashes and were told what
had happened during the storm.
"Well, I must admit I don't like Staffies very much," said Blackie, "but in your case, Tau, I
think I must reconsider my feelings where it comes to you."
All the dogs started barking furiously as all five cats and all the outside dogs gathered at Tau's
kennel gate to see the ashes. As it could only be glimpsed from one angle Cat and Sasha was
fighting over a place to stand and look.
"Stupid long haired cats!" Remarked Patches to Shilling.
They had the presence of mind to climb up the gate and now had the best view as they could see
everything inside the kennel, their vantage point allowing them to see much more than the others
could see from the gate.
Althea came trotting up to the gate and gave one almighty woof to scatter the animals so that she
too could have a look. Everyone was
weary of her as she was a huge, heavy
"I heard you fighting over small things yesterday." she said in her slow calm way. "If Tau had
burnt to death you all would have felt guilty now, as you quarreled with her yesterday. Maybe we
should not fight so much amongst ourselves."
"Wisdom! Wisdom! Who's talking now?" Barked Bousie in the ensuing silence. "You are always vile to me, now you are the one preaching to all the good animals!"
"And who was the one that said that we should not call the people?" Asked Blackie angrily.
"I did," said Bousie. "Lindie came to the window and said that there had been an accident but that
it was all sorted out; didn't she, Mia?"
"Yes, and if Lindie says it is okay, then it is." Mia agreed.
The people of Sunny Farm worked out for themselves what had happened and Tau was rewarded with a
bowl of fresh mince, then a huge bone.
News of the night's events spread. People came from neighbouring farms to see what had happened
and Tau was told a hundred times what a good mother she was.
In the opposite end kennel stood a rather forlorn looking Dalmatian, Ross.
Seeing all the fuss being made of Tau he wondered out loud:
"I wish someone would make a small fire in my kennel tonight. Maybe I'll also get mince and a bone!"
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