In the previous article we shared the 'pecking order' pattern of events shortly after Boxer was, very peacefully, put to sleep, this included some of our pet sheep coming across to pay their respects and we covered how the closest animals, like at a human funeral, attended the body of him first and then how the ones on the periphery were only allowed to pay their respects when the others dictated, silently, that it was okay to do so, or once they had changed their posture or angle.
Two hours later the Digger arrived, and all lifted their heads but they weren't particularly bothered by it, however the noise did make them about turn and move a few yards. All the animals were grazing about 15-30 metres away, but with their bodies facing the activity and with the occasional raise of a head.
However, once the burial site had been dug, we had to carry Boxer down from slightly further up the field. Thank fully the driver of the machine knew Judi and knew that she would want to walk alongside her trusty steed with her hand on his neck as a final thank you ' or I'll be with you till the very end', so he kindly slowed down to her pace of walk and then laid him, very gently, on the ground so that he could then be placed considerately and in a lying comfortably position in his final resting place. It always seems to be, from this and previous experiences anyway, at this stage that the other animals, gather closer to be part of the goings on, with the ones who were closest moving closer and the periphery ones in the background.
The final touches complete with hay, rugs, his very own time capsule and of course some selfish tears, a few moments of total silence without any bird song, just the sound of the wind and the breathing horses and the chugging of the digger as it was about to rest the first bucket full of soil over the body, it went with a thud . . . that thud you never forget, like the thud of a stone landing on a massive lidded bucket, only 5 or 6 seconds left and Boxer would never be seen again . . the two horses came closer and stood quietly, almost as if you could see 'memory captions going past their very eyes' a sad moment, ten years of captions gone in a matter of seconds and Lauder Lass looked on from behind them with a drooped head.
Happy memories of fun, scratches, care and attention with Didget doo always at the side keeping her watchful eye on all . ..
. . . . Judi placed her two hands on the two horses who were the closest to Boxer and with dogs at foot they stood tearful but motionless until the Digger had shown signs of moving back to park. By this time, the other horses and pet sheep were closer but it was the little Shetland, the one who used Boxer as a shield from the others, who wanted to go up and smell and lick the ground where he lay, or perhaps it was just to check that the job had been done correctly, following suit was Charlie Barnie then the one sheep who thinks he is a horse, and after that the rest of the horses took their turn, Lauder Lass incldued. An hour or so later they ventured slightly further away from the burial site but could be seen returning to the place where Boxer first lay every so often.
The next few days were filled with adjustments, insecurities and a clear sense of 'we miss you Boxer' filled Charlie Barnie and Ralphi's eyes and general demeanour. Judi initially was the leader out to the field for the first few days and we all continue to partly fill the roles of Boxer and Didget doo although no one gives as good a scratch as Boxer says Charlie Barnie or indeed as good a toadie face as our Didget doo ever did.
Bless you both.
Ten days in, and the hierarchy as been re-formed and a kind of status quo has been resumed.
There is not a deep enough meaning for the word 'adjust' in any dictionary that we know of.
A moving experience and one we feel privileged to have been part of.