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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Guard Dogs

Big Girl

Big Girl

Let me introduce you to our guard dog, Big Girl! Big Girl has a great story and continues to give us more laughs and surprises every day. Here is Big Girl's story...
Big Girl had been seen throughout our neighborhood for about a year. She would travel about a 5 mile radius. She was like a ghost, people in the neighborhood would see her quickly in the backyard and then she would be gone. We actually saw her once or twice at our house before she became our forever dog.

Big Girl visited my mom's house which is about 300 yards from our house in the early summer of 2013. My father had just passed away and my mom was in this "save something" mode. She began to feed Big Girl from her from the porch. It didn't take long for Big Girl to realize from where her daily meals would come. Within a few weeks, Big Girl was coming in the house at night for a short time. Mama was worried she was going to get hit in the road so she got Big Girl to stay in her back yard. This was a good idea in the beginning but turned bad. What mama didn't realize was Big Girl was a Great Pyrinees. She loves to dig. Not a great idea in a nice backyard with a pool. Oh and she loves to bark....all night! Mama couldn't take it anymore. She let her out.

Big Girl continued to come "home" to be fed each night but would explore all night. Mama would find her on the front porch each evening. Big Girl then started following mama's car to our family business. Mama just knew she was going to get hit in the road. We live on a major highway that is traveled by large trucks regularly. It was only a matter of time. So we convinced mama to call the pound.

Mama thought she knew who Big Girl belonged to but wasn't sure. After asking around, we found out she lived only about a mile from us in a pen. The guy had goats and he wanted to use her to protect them. He was gone on a regular basis and she would escape from her small pen. The neighbor's dogs would harass her and taught her to kill chickens. Mama found out her real name was Meagan.
The pound came. Because mama had been feeding her, she was now like an owner. And since she knew who she belonged to, he would have to surrender her to the pound or be fined. It was all kinds of issues.

While all of this was going on, we had been thinking about getting a donkey as our guard animal for the farm. We had planned our alpaca fields for a donkey. We had started our research to find one to buy. Can't remember what changed our mind- my mom or how sweet and loving Big Girl was.
We had not taken delivery of our five pregnant females yet and told mama we would give her a try in the pasture. About two weeks later, the alpacas were delivered and the true test began. Big Girl passed the first test. What was next?

It was a rough first few months. She liked to escape at the sight of an open gate or even a crack. She would get out on a regular basis and we couldn't find out where. We finally saw her escape New Year's Eve. We figured out she hated fireworks. She would climb halfway up the cattle gates and slink out. Nothing a little cattle fencing couldn't fix. She pushed past me one time in the middle of a terrible cold spell of less than 10 degree temperatures. Our other rescue, George, followed her. No big deal but George is a Boston Terrier. We found her but couldn't find him. The next morning, we did find George at our church.

It has been over a year since Big Girl made our house her forever home. She knows her job. She has a love hate relationship with the alpacas. I have seen her bark at them when my sister's dog came for a visit. Her bark must have told them something as the herd went to the barn and stayed until she came in. She loves our other dogs but will put herself between the dogs and the herd.
When the crias were born this past Spring, her bark would change when the crias were being delivered. We instantly knew that crias were being born. Her instincts are great. She is silly but knows her job. You will see her napping in the middle of the day, upside down against the main gate. She loves visitors to the farm. When field trips come, she steals the show from the alpacas.

She still has her hiccups- barks all night, likes to hide her food bowl in the middle of the pasture, and loves to dig holes in the barn and near the fence line. Her barking doesn’t bother us. The pasture is about 100 yards from the house and our closet neighbor is far enough away that she doesn’t bother them. She knows when my mom visits. She goes crazy for the attention. She knows my mom will give her a treat. Her escaping has stopped. I think she has learned, she is ours now.

She has turned out to be a good a great dog. Well worth the chance.