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Thursday, July 21 2016

Dear Reader Christine asked about Lily. She wanted to know how my #1 Ranch Dog was doing now that Mesa was assuming more responsibility for chores around here.

Rest assured. Lily's status as the Supreme Ultimate Perfect Dog is secure. (pause while the rest of my pack of dogs gags)

I have long held to the notion that the dogs are different tools in my toolbox and while now I find myself reaching more and more for Mesa because she needs the practice (and she's better at a lot of stuff) Lily is still my go-to girl for many jobs.

While Mesa is good for large sweeping gathers or short stuff where bluster and bravado can bluff her way into success, Lily is required when fine-tuned driving is needed, or a job absolutely must be accomplished right now with no care to being soft on stock because they're rioting in the alfalfa barn like a protest crowd storming an electronics store.

Most of the time I don't want holes in my livestock and Lily is prone to do that if they don't behave immediately. Handling stock involves the carrot and the stick. Lily is the stick. In those same situations Mesa rushes in and makes them think they'll get bitten, but she doesn't do any damage. On the other hand, Lily slides in like a Navy Seal and gets stuff done, but there may be a few holes in the most stubborn offenders. It might not always be pretty but the job is done swiftly, and the stock listen better to Mesa the next time. The sheep can be pretty well-mannered, but the goats can behave like gypsies in the palace, completely disrespecting a dog that doesn't back up what she says.

A classic example of when you need Lily's Clint Eastwood approach happened a couple of days ago. Some of the does are in season and the bucks are particularly obnoxious. They are large, stinky, uppity creatures who tend to be bolder and pushier than normal due to testosterone poisoning. Around here, the girls come into their pens in the late afternoon and the boys are turned loose so they can browse and graze until sundown. This happens every evening and most nights the bucks are simply in the background while we're doing evening chores. They wander in whenever they wander in and we close the gate behind them at bedtime.
Thus I was completely unprepared to be assaulted by two horny goats when I was taking a bucket of scratch grain to the chicken yard.

They swooped in and I was surrounded by a Goat Lives Matter protest rally. They refused to let me pass. Irritated, I made the mistake of kicking one. He immediately responded with flared ears and renewed interest.

"Oh, you want a piece of me, Grain Bucket Carrier? Bring it on! Let's rumble!!!"

Ut oh. Big mistake. Do not give a hormone-addled buck the invitation to spare. I now had two bucks insisting on stealing my grain bucket and one was pretty aggressive about it. (Young and stupid. The older buck wasn't nearly as bold.) Now it took longer to type this on the keyboard than the encounter actually took place because just about the time I recognized there was a problem, a tiny black and white blurry missile launched herself in between me and the most aggressive buck. It was Mesa. She was everywhere and nowhere at once. Lily then soared in grabbed the older buck by the back leg and dragged him across the barnyard away from me, while the Livestock Guardian Dog watched in shocked amazement.

And that was it. Stopped before it even got started. And this is why if you have bucks, bulls, or rams, you need a good stockdog that can recognize the situation escalating and put a stop to it before it gets out of hand. Lily has the confidence for that. In fact, she lives for it. Mesa recognizes the situation but needs the confidence that comes with experience. It'll come. It's in her genes.

But to answer your question, Christine, Lily is doing just fine, still Top Ranch Hand, and Queen Of All She Surveys.


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 04:43 pm   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Sheri, I laugh out loud every time you describe goats as *gypsies in the palace*......LOL You need your bucks, but the minute mine started with the peeing/tongue flapping/spitting, they got *brain surgery*...... Still giggling....*gypsies in the palace*....hehehehe
Posted by Diane I. on 07/21/2016 - 05:36 PM

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