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Wednesday, April 10 2013

It's been one helluva week already and it's only Wednesday. My schedule has been turned upside down because I'm in a crime scene investigation class that runs from 8 am to 4 pm. The problem is that to get there on time, I have to get up at 5 am. AND I quit drinking frappuccinos again. (But I'm weaning myself on to coffee, so it isn't as bad.)

Other Half is home, and I happily shoved ALL the care and feeding of the farm onto his shoulders. Just getting to class on time and home through rush-hour traffic is more than my feeble little, Starbucks-deprived, homicidal mind can handle.

Monday was bad. There is not enough caffeine in Texas for me to handle rush-hour traffic both coming and going.

Tuesday was better, but my entire routine was thrown off. (insert the theme music from "Jaws" here) People often ask how folks can leave their kids or dogs in cars to bake in the summer, or some other absent-minded tragedy, and I'll admit that on the surface, it's easy to judge, but here is the one common denominator in every case - their routine was upset in some way.

And that's what happened yesterday:  (more Jaws music)

I got out of class. I called Other Half. He had just left the house. He gave me this word of warning,

"Don't forget that the sheep are in the yard."

I assured him that I would remember. After all, they were in the yard on Monday, and I remembered then. (More Jaws music)

So I drove into the driveway and saw the sheep in the side yard.

"Yep! Sheep are in the yard. Don't forget that."

Stopped on the road and got the mail. Opened the gate. Briar and Ice bounced up to greet me. Ice is fine with the sheep. (i.e. too old to put forth that much effort) I pulled through and closed gate. Drove into yard, careful not to roll over Briar's toes as she escorted me in.  Got out of car. Pet Briar. Pet Ice. Gathered gear and brought it into house. Let Lily out. Dumped gear in house. Read mail. Went outside and let Dillon and Oli out. Went to water garden.

Checked hail damaged tomatoes. Turn on water hose. Note that Lily is not present. Lily is ALWAYS beside me. Briar was here. Briar was my Gardening Buddy. Hmmm....

Ohshit!Ohshit!OHSHIT! (Yes, I said it!)

Raced through breezeway to get to side of house while screaming Oli's name. (might as well have been screaming into a hurricane)  I rounded the corner to find Oli swinging Ma around by the tail. Oli is 45 pounds on a good day. Ma is probably 150 pounds. I was hysterical. I was screaming. I was cussing. I ran to them as Ma's tail CAME OFF! Oli darted out and began madly circling the sheep. The sheep and goats gathered around me and Briar as we tried to stop Oli. She was a Tasmanian Devil wildly racing around the flock, searching for a way through me and Briar. Oli was in full predator mode and I couldn't stop her. Briar couldn't catch her. Dillon, Ice, and Lily stood at the edges of the storm, completely aghast.

It seemed to go on forever, this endless frantic circling, as she waited for her opportunity. Finally she burst past me and grabbed Chuck. I was on her immediately, and she spat out Chuck who ran over Briar in her haste to get away. I dragged Oli away, still screaming like a crazy person. Oli was not in the least bit concerned. She hadn't had this much fun since 2010 when she maimed Roanie and Jamaica (who later died).

I was so angry - at myself.  Other Half asked me why I didn't just shoot Oli. Trust me, I was so mad that I wanted to, but this was 100% human error. Oli is a Predator Deluxe. She does not belong on a farm. Eventually someone will screw up and the sheep pay dearly for our mistakes. When Other Half screwed up last December we lucked out because clearly Briar was present before Oli started her attack and was able to change her mind.  But as we saw, once the missile that is Oli gets launched, there is little either of us could do to stop her before someone is seriously hurt.

So how bad was it?

Well, I don't know yet. Ma lost about 9 inches of tail. (sawed off, just like that!) Chuck had some marks, but I couldn't find punctures because she is wooly and I was on Oli pretty fast. Chuck had a lot of blood on her, but a lot of that may have been from Ma. A yearling lamb is limping but I can't catch her. (guess she isn't hurt too badly) So I got Ma and Chuck doctored up and I'll continue to shoot Ma up with penicillin to prevent infection.  Right now she seems fine, as if it were a really nasty dock job, but I worry about infection and tetanus.

This is what she should look like:


Other Half is home to watch her, and is a much better 'barn-yard veterinarian' than me, so she's in good hands. We'll just have to wait and see. (and don't forget Ma in your prayers!)

As for Oli, it is just painfully obvious that juggling a predator like Oli with farm animals is just a disaster waiting to happen, so Other Half has decided to place her. (in a home without livestock or children)

After last night, each time she is loose in the yard for a potty break, she is actively hunting the sheep, searching the yard, examining the fence, trying to figure out a way under, over, or through the barrier. I watch this, and it scares me. She's smart. She's fast. She's waiting. I'm not really angry at the dog. She is simply a dog - a wolf who appears civilized most of the time. But make no mistake, like the velociraptors of 'Jurassic Park' she is always testing the fence, waiting for her chance, waiting for us to make a mistake.

And Briar -

- watching Briar was almost heartbreaking. She was so upset. She tried to calm the sheep but they would have none of it. They decided that Briar was A DOG and they'd really had enough of dogs for the night, so I put the sheep in their pen and left Briar in the yard, where she has twice tried to attack Oli. (well no duh!) Briar holds a grudge.

And me?  I'm mad too, but mostly at myself. Other Half came home bearing an Emergency Kit. His plan was to put it in a jar with a note that read:  "In case of emergency, break glass."




Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  8 Comments  |  Email
Sending lots of healing wishes from Wa state to Ma! I had to break my Starbuck's Mocha addiction by switching to iced Americanos- they're not too bad really, and are a bit cheaper too.
Posted by CG on 04/10/2013 - 11:30 PM
I have a 2 quart coffee cup. It holds one full pot of coffee. Should I try to find you one?
Posted by Eric on 04/11/2013 - 12:21 AM
You need to take care of Katy, I mean Oli, before she does this to the grandchildren. And by the way, Christmas at MY house!
Posted by g'ma on 04/11/2013 - 09:27 PM
We had the neighbours dogs in again [German shep and a pitbull cross type] Fortunatly my lawn ornaments had enough nouce to run to the Maremma LGD who unfortunatly have to stay in top acre. Maverick was just about launching himself. Even 15+ yrs Bella was giving it a go. The 2 sheep are 15 and the 3 goats so fat they roll but when it comes to saftey they are pretty quick
Posted by Liz (VIC Aust] on 04/11/2013 - 10:13 PM
Poor sheep! :( When you think about it, Malinois came originally from the same place and function as Tervurens and should have a strong herding (not attacking) instinct. They've been bred especially for police and military functions so no longer have that instinct. It's difficult to breed and train to get just what you want from a dog. My herding Terv (unfortunately) won't kill a rat that she sees running across the yard but some Tervs would. OTOH, I can trust her with the cat. I imagine most Mals would catch and kill a rat if you encouraged them to. (?) Your Lily is certainly the best of the best -- both herding sheep and killing mice/rats!
Posted by Terri's Pal on 04/12/2013 - 02:34 PM
I'm wondering tonight how your sheepies are doing? Ok...? I feel so bad for them. (and you)
Posted by Linda Nightsky Farm on 04/12/2013 - 11:03 PM
Is it weird that I just keep thinking of poor devastated Briar, and the sheep she loves so much turning their back on her when they need each other most? Don't get me wrong, reading what happened to Ma and Chuck was awful, and I'm so happy to hear they're okay. But sad Briar hurts my heart!
Posted by Christine on 04/14/2013 - 09:57 PM
Yeah, the sheep were upset. Briar was upset. I had to remove her for a while because she kept trying to check out their injuries and it just upset them more. Removing her upset her. Now they are okay though. She is back to her "more sheep than dog" status.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 04/16/2013 - 07:09 AM

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