For about a year Chad and I have thrown around the idea of getting a new dog so that our older pup Roxy, a Labrador, could train them to….you know….not kill chickens. It may come as a surprise, but 9 out of 10 dogs that have come to our property have tried to kill our chickens.
Alright….I realize that may not come as a total shock. And to be fair, they don’t usually have that ” I am gonna kill that thing” look in their eye either. It’s more of a “oh heck yes… A NEW TOY!!!” kinda look. Thankfully my chickens have only lost a few tail feathers during these encounters.
That being said, I feel pretty lucky that we only had to correct Roxy twice when she looked “interested” in the chickens her first day near them. Praise the Lord, because I promise you that dog has given me several gray hairs. She was a wild puppy, and truly only quit acting like a puppy in the last year or two. The girl is 10! So naturally if she could teach a new and wild puppy to be calm around the poultry that would be one less hassle.
In our discussions of what kind of dog we would get, we always seemed to come back to one of the livestock guardian dog breeds, the Great Pyrenees. They were supposed to be great with kids, livestock and really just gentle giants. Unless you posed a threat to the livestock they were guarding. Which I wouldn’t recommend. A dog of that magnitude and personality needs two things. First being lots of room to roam and guard. Check. Secondly, they need a massive, visible fence. No awesome fences ’round here. No big deal. In our not too distant future, there are plans of fencing in the entire property in preparation for livestock and said livestock guardian dog awesomeness.
Still, adding another puppy was at least a year or two down the road in our minds. Both Chad and I had dogs growing up that lived to 14 and 15 years old. So we thought we had plenty of time ahead for Roxy to help guide a new pup. But this fall it became apparent very quickly that hip dysplasia and arthritis were making her life miserable. To the point we didn’t know how much longer we would have with her.
Oh the tears and sadness.
And to top it off, she got away from Chad when he and the girls were taking her for a walk. Autumn cried non-stop for 10-15 minutes until she reappeared. Darn dog. That little 10 minute episode kinda foreshadowed how tough it would be on the girls if she needed to be put to sleep soon. I know lots of people get puppies after they loose a pet. I call it a band-aide puppy. I could totally be stealing someone else’s slogan here, but for now …I’m claiming it. Instead of waiting on the inevitable to happen and then trying to find a new dog to fill a void, I liked the idea of going to get a puppy while we were still happy and there was no sorrow. This way we would already have a furry friend to love on in our sadness. Obviously there are those losses that come with no warning and I would definitely want a “band-aide puppy” in that situation. But since we could see what was coming, I wanted to be prepared with something to cuddle in advance.
It was decided that we would get a puppy for the kids for Christmas. We realized we had to wait on the Great Pyrenees because we just didn’t have the infrastructure needed for what is basically a polar bear. So off to the the pound websites we went; searching for the right mutt to save. To be honest I didn’t really like the idea of “buying” a full bred dog when there are so many animals put down every year at shelters anyway. We searched for several days trying to find the right one. We saw several Australian Shepherd mixes that I really wanted, but Chad, being the rational one, said they would be really hyper and try to “run” our chickens everywhere. I had to give him that.
The search continued until Black Friday. I woke up, pulled up Petfinder and there she was. A beautiful, black Great Pyrenees/ Australian Shepherd mix. The cuteness was ridiculous. I showed her picture to Chad, knowing that she had two strikes against her.
Great Pyrenees….strike one.
Australian Shepherd….strike two.
Before I knew it we were driving to Chattanooga to meet the sweet thing. The kids thought we were antique shopping for their surprise Christmas present. So when we pulled into the farm that was fostering the puppy, we told them we were antiquing like American Pickers do. The girls were all over the puppy in seconds. When asked if they wanted an antique or a puppy…well…I think you know their answer. We discovered there were actually two 7 week old sister pups waiting to be adopted. And the gluttons for punishment that we are………….
If you are being honest with yourself….. is there anyway you could say “NO” to these gorgeous faces???? And separate them????
I didn’t think so.
Meet Josephina (Josie) and Daisy. Our livestock guardian dogs….or something like that. I know you are all thinking….those are going to be MASSIVE dogs. To answer your question I looked up the stats for each breed and a female Australian Shepherd on the small side is 30lbs. On the other hand a Great Pyrenees female on the high side is 90lbs. So we are hoping for 70lbs. Only time will tell. Until then I am enjoying snuggling these fluffy “black” polar bears. Seriously, their fluff is irresistible.
By the way….who hopes their dog will only weigh 70lbs??? Jeezers…sounds funny just typing it! Obviously fencing our property has been bumped up on the priority list….way……WAY…..up. I guess my retaining wall and rose bed with river rock will have to wait. I kinda think those fur balls are worth it though.
Okay…maybe not really….but I will get over it.
On a lighter note, we have brought Roxy in out of the cold and that seems to have helped her arthritis quite a bit. So she may have more time on her clock than we thought. Now if only she loved the new additions as much as we do.