Voices From the Farm: Off to Get Our New Dog (Without a Clue to the Perils Ahead)

1993

Early March: Lambing began, and went hot and heavy for over 3 weeks, with the mature ewes in the barn, and the retained ewe lambs in the granary. Very demanding! On top of that bone crusher, came the 3rd Annual Leg of Lamb Dinner. Since I was baking all the beans, as well as concocting meat sauces, making extra gravy, and helping serve, I slacked off on the ticket selling this year and quit at 65. The more tickets I sell the more beans I have to bake!

Late March: With the lamb dinner over, it was time to pursue getting the new livestock guardian dog! Our friends, the Klauke’s, who had purchased our ewe lambs a few years earlier, had acquired a breeding pair of Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, and were raising guard dog puppies.The Anatolians were native to Turkey, and were used to guard huge flocks of sheep and goats from wolves on the Anatolian Plain. They were so valuable that the native herders made them collars with metal spikes to protect them from the wolves. Not too many years after we got our dog, Turkey declared the dogs a national treasure, and refused to export any more of them.

I arranged to visit and look over the pups. They still had 5 from the last litter, they were nearly 5 months old, and had been raised with sheep, which was good! If they had not been raised with sheep, it would be wise to introduce them to the sheep flock at a much earlier age.

Patches

Patches

On a Saturday morning, Sean, his friend Dave, and Dave’s sister, Sara, and I set out to pick out a puppy. Before leaving, we had put our two dogs, Dex and Patches, in the house, where Jerry was watching TV, and cautioned him not to let the dogs out. If we brought home a puppy, we didn’t want it traumatized by their racing out and barking. Dave and Sara went with Sean in his truck, and I drove myself in my car, the plan was for them to haul the puppy home.

When we arrived at the Klauke’s the pups all came running out to greet us. The one in the lead instantly took our eye, she was a beautiful big pup, with a fawn to grey body, and a striking black head. .She projected confidence, and personality! Sean and I came to the same conclusion, “This is the one!”

While I wrote out a check and visited with the Klauke’s for a minute, the young people loaded the puppy into the truck and left for home. I followed shortly, and reached home just after Sean, his friends, and new dog had gotten out of his truck. The group was gathered in front of the truck, and Jerry, looking out the living room window, did not see a puppy, so he let the dogs out. They came charging out barking up a storm!

I got out of my car in time to see the new dog disappearing around the front of the barn at top speed! Sean was already leaving to take his friends home, and they were part way down the drive. I hurriedly took Dex and Patches back to the house, and returned to look for the new pup.

Sean and his truck

Sean and his truck

I had expected to find her in the barnyard, as the line fence would keep her from leaving our property, and our fence across the top of the yard would keep her from getting out that way. But she was nowhere in sight, and I then realized she had gone to a huge snowdrift which lay along the line fence at one point, climbed up the drift and leaped over the line fence into the adjoining corn field, and was out of sight!

I managed to climb the fence and headed for the top of the field. I was having hard going, as the corn stalk stubble was still on the field, along with snow in the rows. I was gasping for breath by the time I reached the top of the rise, and could hopefully see where she was, but there was still no sign of her. I had another 1/2 mile of hard going before I reached Hwy 10. I was fervently hoping Sean had looked back as he drove out the drive and had seen her make her escape over the fence, and had come back to look for her.

It was with great relief that I reached the end of the field and saw Sean’s pickup parked. As I reached the highway, I saw Sean searching along the road banks to the left for tracks, then he turned toward me and still looking on the bank for tracks, shouted that he saw her tracks going to the right once she had reached the road.

Just then I saw our neighbor, Milt Burroughs, coming out of his driveway which was just a little further on, and I yelled at Sean to catch him and see if he might have seen the dog. Sean did, and Milt said, “Yes, he had seen the dog!” She had come right up to him, and he had put her in a shed, and was hoping no one came looking for her, as she was such a nice dog! This was the neighbor from whom we had gotten Brindy more than l7 years earlier. He also had owned Brindy’s mother, a huge friendly St. Bernard, obviously he loved big dogs!

Sheba

Sheba

What a homecoming! Anyway, we got our dog back, and into the truck, and safely home. As it turned out, on the way from Klauke’s, the pup had gotten car sick in the truck, and thrown up on Sara’s lap, and by the time they got to our house and the barking dogs came barreling out, she’d had enough and took flight. This time the other dogs were still in the house, and we took her out of the truck and put her in the barn with the sheep, where she settled down and seemed perfectly at home. I was in the barn most of the time, as there were always chores to be done, bottle lambs to feed, etc. When I left the barn, I closed and locked the big North door, so she would not be going anywhere else that day!

Early April: It was a very slow spring, with snow banks still hanging on and temperature’s below normal. At that point, with the barn and granary overflowing with ewes and lambs, and the lots still too wet to turn them out, I was ready for spring! The thought that kept running through my mind was, “Come on Grass!”

“Sheba” was the name we gave our new dog. We were pleased to see how well she had bonded with our sheep. While I was busy with chores she was usually stretched out snoozing amidst a pile of sleeping lambs. I took her outside with me, but did not leave her outside alone yet.

1993 to be continued… more adventures with Sheba!

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4 comments to Voices From the Farm: Off to Get Our New Dog (Without a Clue to the Perils Ahead)

  • Isn’t it amazing how well dogs with a job do it? Wish we could train our kids to do as well. Sheba was a beautiful dog- how wonderful that she fit in so well- inspite of her welcoming. You have had adventures, thank you for sharing with us.

    • Lea McEvilley

      Yes, you are absolutely right! If we could just train people to do their jobs as well as dogs, the world would be a better place!

      I have been trying since last Thursday to get an order for a prescription for (2) anti-biotic pills sent from our Franciscan Health Care Clinic to our Sterling Drug Pharmacy in Caledonia. I need these because I have a dental appointment this Thursday, and since I have had a hip replacement, I am supposed to take these for, I believe, two days before the visit to the dentist… even if it’s only for preventative maintenance.

      Now this doesn’t seem like an insurmountable task to me, but I just wish I was getting paid for all the time I have spent driving to the drug store on Saturday to pick up my pills, only to find they were not there. More phone calls, and follow up phone calls to both the Clinic and Pharmacy.

      By today, I was sure they would be there, and I did have the truck to go get them, which I would not usually have, but Sean is home with the flu, so I could go get them…

      Nope! the Rx order had not been received by the Pharmacy. More phone calls… if I can’t pick the pills up today, Seam will probably go back to work tomorrow,taking the truck. So, he will have to pick up the Rx at noon, and bring it home so I can take it 2 days in advance, etc.

      Of course in order for him to be able to pick it up I will have to scan my Humana card and email it to the pharmacy. And he’ll probably take his power of attorney with him, so he can act for me, other wise he will have to pay for it up front with cash, and I will have to reimburse him, and Humana will get off Scot Free!

      Can you tell that I am POed.? Well, thanks for letting me vent! and here’s another strange story.about the flu. Sean’s friend Dennis had left several messages on our answering machine, so I finally asked Seam if he had ever talked to Dennis.

      He had, and remarked that when he called him, Dennis was home with the flu. Shortly after that, Sean said he thought he was coming down with the flu… he was!

      We have decided it is the “phone flu,” as he did not see Dennis, only talked to him on the phone. So beware of the dreaded “phone flu!” It is definitely going around.

      Thanks for the comment, and get ready for more excitement in the Saga of Sheba the Wander Dog! (Pun intended!) All’s well that ends well!

      PS. I’m going to advise the Clinic to get a new flock of carrier pigeons, as the old ones are not getting the messages through on time!

  • Howling Wolf

    Looks like a good dog. To learn more about LGD strategy and training do’s & don’ts, join one of our FB groups Livestock Guard Dog Project, or Learning About LGD’s

    • Lea McEvilley

      Hi,

      Thanks for your comments! Sheba was not only a good dog, she was a great dog! There are not many dogs that will venture out into a pack of coyotes, for good reason!

      But Sheba was the exception, she went right out after them. When she was just a little over one year old, I saw her chase a whole pack of coyotes out through our front pasture, into the neighbor’s field, and on out of sight.

      She was gone quite awhile, and I was worried, but finally she came down the driveway panting, but before she reached me, she suddenly diverted to the one place she could get under the line fence and went barreling up the hill.

      I looked and saw one lone coyote disappearing over the hill. Again, Sheba was gone for quite awhile, it was quite dark when she came home. I checked her over to see if she had any wounds, but she seemed fine. The next morning I looked out at her dozing on the sunroom patio, and saw dried blood on her shoulder.

      I thought it was her blood, and that I must have missed the wound the previous night. I quickly checked her, and it was not her blood. So she had dispatched that coyote, and who knows how many more?

      Lea