Monday, September 29, 2008

Dear doggies

We have lived on our farm for four years now. In that time nine dogs have lived here. They've come to us from people who can't keep their dog any more, strays that have shown up, and some just born here.

Farm life is a happy life for a dog, I think, but it's not a soft life. Our dogs don't sleep on our beds; they're not even allowed in the house, unless there's a terrible storm.

They're expected to work... protecting the animals and farm. Most of them really like to do this. Some have thought the chickens might be quite delicious, but we've managed to limit this somehow.

They run endlessly, play in ponds, get dirty and don't get in trouble, and pretty much live a doggie dream life.

Of course we've had dogs get stepped on by cows and kicked by horses, but the really dangerous thing for dogs here turns out to be cars.

Our house is close to the road, and for reasons I still can not understand, cars are very threatening to the canine mind. Trucks hauling trailers are the ultimate enemy.

We have had three dogs get hit by cars. Two have died. We've also lost dogs in mysterious ways... they've just disappeared. And we've given dogs away.

Molly, Fleck, Fred, Zeke, Belle, Sheila, Pepper, a stray we never named, and Luke. Nine dogs, and we're down to one.

Luke is our only dog now. Dear limping, sad Luke. He really is a good dog, but he's never gotten over being separated from his brother and best friend when he was a year old and brought to live with us. Luke was hit by a car this summer. He has recovered but will always limp.

Recently Luke seems to be cheering up. His solo status actually appears to be a positive for him... he gets all the human attention and doesn't have to argue with anyone over status (although he'd been top dog since right after he arrived).

He's not doing his job very well. We're down to six chickens (from 40 in the summer). Rather a calamitous loss. I believe the coyotes refer to our house as "The Breakfast Club".

1 comment:

Deb A. said...

He is the wrong kind of dog to be given a job as guardian! Check out LGDs to take on the coyotes, or minimally, English shepherds working as a team to protect those chickens. You may be able to get either of those types from a rescue. Ask Abigail for my e-mail if you need more info. Deb, Wisconsin, Jerry's mother