Poor old Rosie who spent her life tethered in a paddock up the road. I imagine her purpose in life was to keep the grass down for the absentee section owner. In this she demonstrably failed. When I took over her 'care' from my sick friend Gloria, Rosie rewarded me with frequent, savage butts, usually to the shins. She was old but she was tough, wary and cranky.
Over time our relationship improved. I learnt not to come between Rosie and the food I brought her daily - a plastic bag of rolled oats, weetbix, biscuits and, often, apples - plus branches of foliage from the natives in my garden. After eating she was happy to be brushed down, have her head scratched (between the horns) and her ears rubbed. Neighbours Leonie and Ken set up a long wire which gave Rosie greater access to the section. Peter trimmed her hooves when required (a major operation to wrestle Rosie to the ground!). She liked to sit in her strategic position above the road and watch the world pass by. Earlier this year she was savaged by a visiting dog but recovered to make it through to mid-summer.
Age eventually caught up with Rosie and in recent weeks she was struggling to walk. In the past few days she could scarcely get to her feet. I called the 'large animal' vet who came over the hill from Hallswell and confirmed my fears. And so on Monday (the same day that I was diagnosed with shingles!), Rosie had an injection and died quickly and utterly peacefully - no resistance, no distress. Janet Gough and I kept her company and Janet's son Ian dug a hole - so Rosie is buried right beside her shelter, in one of the spots where she liked to sit and keep watch. I cried all day.