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Wednesday, January 13 2016

Lesson For The Day: In case of Zombie Apocalypse, cut the Labrador from the team and take the Anatolian to war with you.

Yesterday an early morning run to the vet delayed morning chores until after my return. To set the stage, Other Half was in town at a class, Dear Friend Clyde was in the same class, and Dear Friend Kim was at work. I had just returned to the house and gotten off the phone with my mother when my little adventure began, so I was, to put it bluntly, on my own. No one was even gonna be looking for my body for at least 4 hours.

And so it began:

Chores on a farm are much like tipping that first domino in the row. Once tipped, there is no going back, things must flow forward in the sequence.

Step One: Release the Livestock Guardian Dogs from the Night Pens. They then run around the yard and play with the Civilized Dogs (I use this term loosely. These are the Inside Dogs who do not pee in the house or randomly attack their cell mates.) The release of dogs heralds the start of Feeding Time, which any rancher worth his salt will tell you, must be run quickly and in the right sequence or there is hell to pay. The sheep and goats begin screaming their fool heads off. This tips off the cattle in the front pasture that Feeding has begun and they begin calling. Horses in the forest are then alerted and start to wander up.

Step Two: Get hay wagon loaded with alfalfa and begin dolling it out to small livestock so they will shut up.

We never got to Step Two.

Just as I was thinking about reaching for the tongue of the wagon, I was hit from behind, just about knee level, by a Labrador Retriever doing at least 60 mph which is well over the posted speed limit for the barn aisle. He sped off as I did a Triple Oxer Double Backflip Somersault With A Twist and landed on my back on the little metal wagon which quickly jettisoned up the saddle rack and dumped my body on the cold concrete with a thud. And a bounce. Like a Hit & Run Driver the Labrador had no Driver License, no insurance, and no intention of returning to the scene. (He probably had warrants too.)

I laid on the cold concrete trying to assess the damage. Since I hit my back pretty hard on the rail of the wagon and then hit the floor hard enough to knock the senses out of me, for a little while, I couldn't even move. I just laid there, mentally cussing the dog, and marveling at how randomly and quickly shit happens. As a crime scene investigator, I've seen too many dead people lying on the cold concrete. Trust me. None of them planned it. My mind flirted ahead to the confused crime scene investigator trying to figure out what happened if I died there. No one, NO ONE, would figure out that I was assaulted by a Labrador prior to my demise.

And so there I was, stuck on the cold floor, wondering if I was paralyzed or gonna die, when someone laid down beside me, stretching his warm body the full length of mine and licking my face. Judge, the seven month old Anatolian puppy had found me. His brother, Jury, stood over my head, and the two of them began nervously licking my face. This jump started me and I reached out to hug Judge closer. Arms and fingers work. Check. Toes wiggle. Check. Sharp pain in back but limbs work. Major progress. (Those Readers who have horses are very familiar with this check list.)

So although everything appeared to be working, the pain in my back kept me on the floor while puppies the size of Great Danes tried frantically to make it all right again. That's when I burst out in tears, not because of the pain, but because I was just so touched by my Disney Dogs. Judge pressed his body along mine and begged me to be normal again. The Border Collie girls zoomed worried circles at my head, wringing their hands, and trying to get past the Anatolians for a Nurse Check of their own. The Anatolians weren't having it. Jury kept blocking them away while Judge resumed his attempts to get me vertical by means of licking my face. That's when the biggest, hairiest white legs sauntered into view. Briar had arrived.

She looked down at me and said, "What have we here?"

The Anatolians were beside themselves, clearly relieved that someone above their rank and pay grade had arrived on the scene. Briar would know what to do. Her first order of business was to remove the Border Collies. The Borders danced back when she growled but not far enough and I had visions of her killing both of my little black & white dogs. This would really have confused authorities finding my body.

"Why is she dead and why are there two dead Border Collies beside her?"

So in my best "I'm still alive and I'm still in charge" voice I announced as such to the immense relief of everyone, including me. Using Judge and Jury as crutches, I hauled myself vertical and did another Health Check. Everything did appear to still be working. Just in case I died later from a head wound, I called Dear Friend Kim and Dear Friend Cathy to update them on my dogs and my gymnastic skills.

While I finished chores Judge walked beside me and Briar walked behind me. Jury puttered nearby but cast an eye over regularly. Their normal playtime was shot. I don't think it had ever occurred to them that The Ultimate Authority/The Commander In Chief might be helpless and need them.This blew their minds. Frankly it hadn't occurred to me either. I expect 'Lassie' things from the Border Collies, their behavior didn't surprise me too much. And the reality is that I shouldn't have been surprised by the Livestock Guardian Dogs. Hellllooooooo.... they're GUARDIAN dogs.  They saw a situation and stepped up to bat.

I gave this some thought as I tossed hay to the cattle. The Labrador was hunting rats in the cactus, oblivious to everything, while the Livestock Guardian Dogs followed me with worried eyes. Yep, I'm sold. I will always have these dogs. Even if I didn't have livestock I would have an Anatolian Shepherd. These dogs make me feel safe. They are big enough, and strong enough, and most importantly, they are bred to recognize a problem and solve it themselves. So what if they are strong-willed, gigantic horses with a mind of their own who eat you out of house and home? When you've fallen and you can't get up, that horse of a dog is pretty damned important to you. And so while the Border Collie may be able to retrieve your cell phone and call 911 or race to the neighbors and say  "Mommy's in the well," the Livestock Guardian Dog will climb in the well with you and he is strong enough to carry you out.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 06:26 am   |  Permalink   |  11 Comments  |  Email
so Labrador!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but I am glad you are OK,,,I love your writings
Posted by jOY ELLIOTT on 01/13/2016 - 07:54 AM
I had a similar epiphanie with my Rhodesian Ridgeback. They are more than worth their weight in gold.
Posted by Nicole on 01/13/2016 - 09:32 AM
I read your account to Gunny and he looked at me as if to say, "Well, duh! Tell those young whippersnappers they make us all proud." As for our Lab, he just wants to know if Dillon found any good rats.
Posted by TinaG on 01/13/2016 - 09:44 AM
This so rocks. No pun intended! It sounds like my place and why I so love my Pyrs. They have picked up off the ground more than once in all these years. Look for a run on your blog shared this with everyone! Oh hope you are fully recovered and ready for the next adventure.
Posted by Terry on 01/13/2016 - 11:02 AM
Is the back O.K.?
Posted by Andrea on 01/13/2016 - 11:49 AM
The back is okay. It's actually much better than I thought it would be given how stiff it was last night. (There's a lot to be said for "back fat" ladies! You have some padding!)
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 01/13/2016 - 03:44 PM
Ouch! Glad to hear you are mostly in one piece!
Posted by Patty on 01/13/2016 - 09:21 PM
Glad your ok! I recently found your blog through the "behind the shower curtian story" and instantly fell in love with it! I'm currently going back through all the stories I missed before I knew about it. I was having a bad day recently and found the story about the FOOSA, and had to laugh. A dog I had a long time ago was nicknamed the foosa, in fact she rarely went by her actual name. So thank you!
Posted by Dafoosa on 01/13/2016 - 11:32 PM
I was hit from behind by my dobe laying flat on my back behind the barn saying to myself I am dead and I can't get up but I did, nothing like a farm with animals telling you to speed it up we are hungry, and that means if you are broken do it anyway. lol
Posted by Monnie on 01/14/2016 - 05:52 PM
GREAT story! Well-told with just the right amount of irony/agony/comedy/ecstasy. I KNOW what you mean about being moved to tears by Anatolian's empathy! Some very deep ancestral memories come up. Having been the victim of multiple doggie drive-bys I can completely empathize with you! Thanks for sharing! Write a book!
Posted by M. Douglas Wray on 01/15/2016 - 01:30 PM
Thanks guys! It's been a hectic few days and your notes were a major 'pick-me-up!"
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 01/19/2016 - 11:18 AM

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