Wriggled right in.
Too early, John shook my shoulder on a Saturday morning, two weeks ago, and used the pawn of little white fluffy packages to lure me out of my deep slumber. If I braved the Saturday afternoon LA traffic for long enough, two Great Pyrenees puppies were to be my prize. Didn’t take me long to clean up, pack up and park myself in the front seat, tea in hand, Todd in tow. Although whether I’d like to pick up puppies is a question for which I will always reply yes, my heart knew that these little ladies aren’t Todd, and I’d probably not feel the same way about them. These dogs will be large, outdoor and therefore extremely dirty guard dogs for the Dorper sheep. Working dogs, which Todd likes to think he is, as he spends his afternoons making every bunny at Apricot Lane Farms aware of his self-appointed title – The Official Rabbit Chaser. We give him a pat-pat for his very hard work.
With a little post-lost carsick, we turned up the dirt path towards the pups. John had decided on two females, both genders guard livestock successfully, but females tend to be a bit more mild-mannered, and the size of our ram’s “unit” is, quite honestly, enough testosterone for our entire fleet of barnyard animals. Then posed the darn near impossible task of picking out which two pups would be making the traffic-filled return trip with us. John picked out the first, almost immediately, and John’s known for having a sixth sense when it comes to good dogs. I’m aware of this trait, yet something possessed me to have an opinion on the second dog. Possessed would be the right word, because I truly don’t know what the heck made me think that was a good idea. We’ll see… so far she’s definitely a bit more of a handful, which could go either way in terms of guard-dog instincts.
We settled on food themed names: Sage and Basil, because nothing drums up happiness in my heart more than fresh herbs and… John likes to eat. So far, the girl’s are doing great. Our farm worker Flavio brought us a mama and baby goat to milk each morning for the pups, in order to build up their digestive systems with fresh raw milk. You should see these girls lap it up. Flavio grew up on a farm in Mexico that was sustainable out of necessity, since the nearest farm or store was not so near at all. I loved that he knew to bring the goat. We’ve named the mama Guppy, because she looks like one, and the baby Beavis, because he butts his head a lot.
Oh, and muddy guard dogs or not (don’t let these first-day pictures fool you), I already love these girls so much. We’ve had to begin limiting our interactions with them to our morning and evening feedings, enabling them to bond with the sheep rather than the humans, but dirty or not, these little creatures are so special.
Something about taking care of a living being – feeding, watering and looking after, causes them to crawl right up into your heart. It may be a different relationship than I have with our Todd, but special and true. God bless these little girls as they grow. I hope they have long and happy lives, filled with the purpose of protecting our flock.