This year, 2015, is going to be pretty exciting for us for a number of reasons. I’ll say more about that soon, but right now, I want to focus on our new co-farmers, Delilah and Bob.
Bob, is a beautiful, 6 month old Maremma pup. We felt we would need a livestock dog this year so just before Christmas 2014 we acquired Bob. Bob had been living with some students in a residence. Why they bought him I have no idea, but we bought him off of them. We chose the Maremma as they were the friendliest livestock dog according to what I read, like small animals, and stayed close to the flock, they didn’t wander as much as the Great Pyrenees.
A puppy challenging, but leaving him out side in the barn, in winter, with the sheep is heartbreaking despite having 12″ of straw and an insulated, heated cubby to sleep in. I spent many hours outside making sure he had a warm cozy place to hide in -20 weather. He did, I tested it:)
Getting through puppy stage and not having him maul the sheep is also trying. Livestock dogs don’t reach maturity until around 2, and then only just. They are large dogs, 100 or so pounds, hence they mature slowly.
Maremmas and other livestock dogs are SMART! Almost too smart sometimes. They are always watching and taking notice of what is going on. You can see their brains processing information.
A had read and been told a few times that having two livestock dogs is much better than one. After a couple of months of Bob living outside on his own, with sheep, and generally turning poor 8 year old Beauty into his playground (poor Beauty was very patient with him, but little sharp teeth were wearing on her) a decision was made. If a mature dog came up that was trained, friendly, and liked other animals we would see if we could buy it. If it was a Maremma/ G.Pyrenees X even better.
Well, not 12 hours after saying that to my neighbour, I found an dog needing a home – Delilah. Delilah’s people sold their sheep and tried to keep her as a house dog because she was just so sweet. But, Delilah wasn’t adjusting well to indoor life and really missed being outdoors and having a job. They were looking for a working farm to rehome her. So I went to see her ASAP. We seemed to bond at first sight. She was playful, friendly, and super excited to see me, not sure why. The previous owner and I loader her into the truck and home she came.
It was amazing watching all three dogs meet and begin to play. Luckily both Bob and Beauty love other dogs. At first Delilah was hesitant, but within the hour she was running, playing, and smiling. She seemed so happy! She has found her last home:)
She and Bob now live in the barn and have boned rather well. Delilah tires Bob out and vice versa. They can both settle down, watch sheep, and chew on chew toys.
Bob was neutered yesterday and Delilah will be going in next. This was a decision we made form the get go. We raise sheep, not dogs. There are enough livestock dogs out there that we don’t need to add to the mix.
Next year we get my lifelong dream dog – a border collie!