Many of you know that I have been searching for a “Livestock Guardian”. Here is what I have found.
Though donkeys can be great guardians, putting their ears back and chasing any coyote that dare to come into their pasture, they are not the snuggly animal that can come in the house and help protect Gramma Donna from the monsters that come to visit when Grandpa Steve is away on business.
Geese and Guineas can sound an alarm, but can be quickly eaten by a hungry coyote, especially if no one is home to hear them.
Lamas are just as happy to spit at you as look at you, and emus like to peck at my glasses(ask me how I know!).
I have always owned a dog and since Steve’s “Little Lucky” died about 4 months ago; I started considering a canine. Our dogs have always been house pets and not so much “working dogs” so this has been an interesting discussion.
I thought about raising a puppy with the livestock. This is a technique often used by herdsmen. Steve said “No”. Besides, there are far too many people who use female dogs as puppy mills to produce high dollar pups that may end up unloved, or in shelters.
So I turned to the dog rescues. I called a rescue for Anatolian Shepard dogs and for Great Pyrenees. I was told that there are lots of people who are raising and selling these puppies. So many of these puppies end up in rescues; that now the rescues refuse to re-home them to farmers any more. They made me fill out a form promising that my dog would be an indoor dog; that would not spend more than an hour at a time outside.
More information from “Farm Dog” rescues. I was told that in general-herding dogs like Australian Shepherds, Heelers and Border Collies; do not make the best chicken dogs. (Though I personally know some that are!) Apparently, the herding instinct makes the dog chase the chickens. The frenzy that follows excites the dog and the chicken (accidently) becomes dinner. That can become a very bad habit!
That brings me back to one of my favorite breeds. Labradors. So I put out a request for a lab. I had tons of responses. I could have someone’s cast-away 6 month old puppy for only $500.00, or a purebred pup for $2,000. I started feeling a bit sarcastic.
My next step was to call a couple of farmers who rescue dogs from the euthanasia list. Who better than a farmer to know a good farm dog. I told them that I want a big neutered male-mixed breed dog that had a deep voice. I want him to be a lover, good with baby humans, chickens, goats and other dogs.
I think that I have found him. He is a lab mixed with Stafford shire Terrier. He has been in a foster home. He was a cute puppy, but got too big and was taken to the county at 4 months old. His foster mom rescued him from the euthanasia list. He lives with 3 human babies, chickens, goats and other dogs. He is just a little over a year old. He loves-loves-loves people. Why is she parting with him? She is a foster mom and needs the room to save another dog from the euthanasia list. He has a deep voice and is big enough to make coyotes think twice before jumping his foster mom’s fence. He is chipped, and up to date on shots. Sounds too good to be true? I get to meet him next Friday. This is not a decision that I am taking lightly, he deserves the perfect home with a mom that loves him and a job to do, just as I am looking for a certain dog to love and to work with.
Wish us both luck and watch for updates.