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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farmer’s Diary: Losing 3 dogs in 12 months

Former professional chef, Clodagh Hughes, runs a sheep enterprise on the Monaghan/Louth border near Inniskeen.

This week, I am going to start on a sad note; you may recall I talked about my old Muttley dog of 15 years and that he had been quite poorly recently.

Well, I had to make one of the hardest calls last Thursday and get him put to sleep.  It was only fair on both him and me.

I had always said as soon as his faculties went it would be time to do the deed. Even though he was so old and quite deaf and blind, he knew he shouldn’t be doing his toilet inside, but was losing his control over it.

I have often heard it remarked about ‘an animal’s dignity’ and preserving it as best we can as their owners, keepers, companions whatever title we give ourselves.

As a farmer, this is also how I treat and care for all my animals whatever the outcomes may be.

Because of this, I knew it was Muttley’s time to go, plus the fact that he was off his food almost 2 weeks and did nothing but sleep.

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I kept telling myself I was prepared but really, I wasn’t totally and I’m even welling up as I write this folks.

3 dogs in 12 months 

I shared posts on my social media sites about it. I was overwhelmed by the support from people I didn’t know personally but who share a love for animals, and the comments from friends were lovely.  That is 3 dogs we have lost in 12 months, that’s rough or is that ruff?

I appreciate there are those who do not understand how attached some of us get to our animals and how hard we find it to let them go. But, I know there are enough who do understand and that will do me.

It hasn’t stopped raining since I wrote last and I am SO fed up of muck and puddles. I could use some very bold words right about now.

Yes, I know, it comes with the territory and it’s that time of year but a girl can moan can’t she?!

Because of said wet stuff all week, I did not get dosing my ewes for fluke worm. That’s high on the agenda for this week.

I need to attend to my lambs by administering a mineral drench and tidy up some dirty butts due to all this muck. You do not want to see the state of Gorsey the horsey!

Straw and hay for winter

In some positive news, I have secured enough hay and straw for my winter feeding and housing period. This is very important to any farmer to know that they can feed and house their animals through any weather.

I have also started planning for lambing 2021 which involved sitting in the hayloft one evening with the pups asleep on my lap. This resulted in a mental layout of the shed for lambing. I will draw a wee plan up as this helps me get organised.

P.S. The pups remain fabulously cute and fun! They are easing my loss.

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