Sunday, October 17, 2010
We drove a long and amazing road... and came to a mystical place with Giant Guardians and fluffy sheep. While we grabbed half wild pups from under the outbuilding...we learned many facts on the amazing Livestock Guardian Dog, the Great Pyrenees. While we told him we had our own LGD at home, I admitted that mine had good qualities in keeping the coyotes out of the yard...but she was also a Greeter at the gate (the Lassie dog in her), without being very menacing. We love our Tess and thats that!
We had several pups in a horse trailer to choose from and while deciding, the mother of the pups came around the corner of the barn. She was carrying something of a fresh kill to her pups. It was a prairie dog......one thing we did notice was while there was dog food for the pups there were all sorts of LARGE bones, the kind with hooves still attached. These Mommas take care of their own it looked. We were pretty shocked at how like a Mother lion these dogs were, but after watching for sometime, it was understood that these dogs were Stock Guard dogs who were nearly totally self sufficient. Pretty tough dogs. Now understand these dogs don't kill the livestock, this was all from the dead animal pile that these types of places have....he ran around 1500 head of cattle also.
I understood from the rancher's viewpoint, that the key to keeping them protectors was to not interact very much with them (his opinion and I appreciate that)....Well......that's just not going to happen, but I kept it to myself and just simply smiled at my daughter. To each his own, but I did note how well those sheep stayed close to the 7 dogs out in the field he showed us. He was quite proud of his Guard dogs...and it was quite understandable. The largest male dog looked like a lion out in the field...ENORMOUS!!
While we were grabbing puppies, we put them in a horse trailer so I could actually make my decision. I picked up the second largest pup first, and he demonstrated very soft eyes.....I like that.
I picked up the LARGEST pup and thought, I want "big" though..and put him down to see him walk. He had a slow sort of skulking look and not those big soft eyes. Then back again to the second largest....and while he looked with those big gentle eyes...he wagged his tail. Done deal and home "Atticus" came!
He slept the entire way. When we got home, I milked the goats while he sat by and watched and had his first dish of warm fresh goats milk. He ate his puppy chow with gusto and I put him in a pen with adjoining fence that he can go in and out to visit with the goats for now. He sniffed the goats and seemed very at ease with them. It was the goats who gave him the official snort and every single one of them stood and stared without blinking in his direction. He was unaffected and snuggled in a corner right at home. I think we chose Good!