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Tuesday, December 25 2018

Merry Christmas Y’all!!! 

Posted by: Forensicfarmgirl AT 08:07 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, December 10 2018

My aging Livestock Guardian Dog, Briar, has reached the point in life where the weather is tough on her bones and she has discovered things the Border Collies already knew, primarily the couch and the wood-burning stove. Sometimes the call of the night is too much however, and when she hears the cry of coyotes, like a veteran rising from a wheelchair to salute, she wobbles up to answer the call. She walks the fence and woofs a warning while younger and meaner soldiers take the fight to the enemy. 

And then last night happened. 

The Anatolians have proven to be quite effective guard dogs when separated but are less than worthless when together because they run off. To thwart this, Judge is the Dayshift dog while Jury remains locked up and Jury is the Nightshift dog while Judge remains locked in a large chicken run to protect the coops at night. Unfortunately several days ago Jury injured his foot. He limped into the barn bleeding profusely and declared himself "injured on duty." He was then taken off the active duty roster, bandaged up, and given antibiotics and a spot beside the fire. Judge was assigned both shifts. Bramble, Briar's successor, remained at her post with the sheep. 

All was well until Day Two of Jury's confinement. The antibiotics were kicking in and his bandage acted much like a tennis shoe on his injured foot. Yesterday I let the house dogs out for a potty break and didn't notice Jury slip away. He did not come back. Apparently he found his brother and the Frat Boyz took a ski vacation. By nightfall neither had returned, thus the farm was left in the care of a Senior Citizen and a Rookie. As I gave the Border Collies a final bathroom break I heard the coyotes yowl in the distance. There was no answering Anatolian bark. Bramble was locked in the barn with the sheep and Briar was lying in a small grove of trees beside the pasture gate. I returned multiple times during the night to check for returning Anatolians. Nothing. Nada. 

This morning they had still not returned. I flung open the back door to find a frosty landscape and no Briar. Briar always comes to the back door to give me her work card. There was no Briar. Fearful that her back was out again, I searched the barnyard. No Briar. This led to a quiet panic. Was she down? Had she marched out by herself only to be killed by coyotes? Why did I leave her out alone? Why didn't I bring her inside? Lock her up? I quickly finished chores and began my search for Briar. It was a long and lonely walk. 

I took Bramble and Dillon, the Labrador. I hunted Briar. Dillon hunted rabbits. Bramble kept tabs on me. Dillon disappeared. He popped in from time to time but was otherwise useless as a companion in my search for Briar. Bramble and I  went to all Briar's favorite resting places in the pasture. Nothing. No Briar. I was beside myself with fear. Was she lying in the cold unable to get up? Had she gone down in a blaze of glory fighting coyotes? I dropped to my knees in prayer, "Dear Lord, please bring my dog safely back to me." There was no answer but a cool breeze whistling through the branches of a cedar tree. 

I went back to the house and woke up the Other Half to inform him that I was driving out in the mule to broaden my search for Briar. I last remembered her lying beside the gate. He rolled over in bed and informed me that before I went to bed, I brought Briar inside and left her asleep on the couch near the fire. Before he came to bed he put her in my office because she got too hot. Hope sprang into my heart like a flower blooming in the snow. I ripped open the office door to find a happy Briar sleeping on a sheepskin rug. She announced that she had to pee. 

I gave silent thanks for old dogs as I watched the Briar wobble out the door and into the cold. And I was reminded that Briar isn't the only one getting old. 

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 10:01 am   |  Permalink   |  10 Comments  |  Email

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