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For Conaign to come from Canberra to Hobart was an enormous undertaking, but a friend of his breeder's was coming to Tassie on business and agreed to escort him. This way the dog travels for free.
The younger three foster children were away on holiday, so only the older ones came to the airport to meet the new addition. None of us had ever seen an Irish setter puppy, only the adults and I think we all expected a miniature adult dog.
When we got to the airport we headed to the arrivals shed and watched the baggage being unloaded. First came the suitcases and other luggage on the long flat truck which was driven into the arrivals shed and the alighting passengers scrummaged for their own. Then came the next baggage truck with livestock crates. We thought for sure our puppy would be in this lot; there were about four large pet crates but they all contained greyhounds. Apparently there was a champion race that weekend. We were beginning to think that maybe Conaign wasn't coming, but then another baggage cart came with just one enormous crate, and cowering at the back was a beautiful sad little puppy who had wee'd all over himself.
He wouldn't come out of the crate, so Edward. our eldest. fourteen at that time, crawled into the crate, picked him up and brought him out. We put on his lovely new blue collar and attached his lead and looked with surprise at this skinny, long legged, totally unfeathered adorable puppy. Geoffrey said, " You didn't expect him to be born with feathers did you? He will grow them with time." I think we had expected him to be born with them! But everyone was too busy cuddling him to take much notice. Then a strange man came and said, "I see he is in good hands." Stephen, the second boy, twelve then, was the only one who remembered to say thank you for bringing us our puppy, although Geoffrey and I managed to thank him as well.
We loaded children and puppy into the Star Wagon and Conaign promptly sat on Rowena's lap and licked her face. Then he slept all the way to Huntingfield, about a forty minute drive. When we arrived Tara was on the front lawn...everyone had forgotten that the puppy was for her benefit! The four cats were sitting in the four front windows, one to each window. When we let Conaign out of the van, they all came out and each one of them circled Coney once and then decided he wasn't of interest to them and retreated back to their windows. In the meantime, we were fussing Tara to make sure she didn't feel left out by the new arrival, who was busy exploring his new world.
The children had bought new squeaky toys and soft toys and had Tara's toys on the lawn as well. Conaign ran from one to the other; as soon as he dropped one, Tara picked it up and ran off with it , then came back to watch what he would do next. We finally decided that Conaign had more excitement than he could do with for the first day and took him inside to show him his bed, which was the children's old cot mattress. He and Tara both got on it, made themselves comfortable and were soon fast asleep. From that moment on, they were velcroe'd together.
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