Puppy on Patrol

I’ve been keeping Sam, the German Shepherd pup, kenneled whenever I’m not with him because of his tendency to keep himself amused by chewing, digging, and carrying off my stuff. A big, playful pup like him without anything to do could turn into a sheep or chicken killer and that couldn’t be tolerated. In pup’s defense, a hen laid eggs inside his dog house in the kennel and incubated them. This entire past week, he has stayed outside in the rain while hen and the one chick that hatched have sheltered inside his house. He walks peacefully around the sheep, giving them a curious sniff occasionally. Still, a lamb could be bouncing around in play, pup could join in and treat the lamb as he would another puppy (or Odie) and grab playfully at the ears or neck. The lamb probably wouldn’t survive the play attempt.

Because it was pouring rain again tonight, I took pity on pup and let him sleep on the porch (which still has the screening torn out thanks to pup). I’ve been having a problem with a predator killing my chickens. The horse barn has been cleaned out of the 20 or 30 chickens that lived there, and I noticed this morning that a mother hen and two of her chicks were missing from the sheep barn. Pup had been raising hell last night, and I woke up and yelled at him. Oops.

Early this morning when pup raised hell on the porch, I awoke, and opened the door to let pup out (he didn’t jump out the window this time!) He took off for the sheep barn. A hen from the sheep barn was squawking hysterically on the gate right outside the porch door. Pup raced along the fence barking and a gray shape raced out of the sheep barn to the fence, was over it in a flash, and disappeared beyond the flashlight’s dim light. A hen was sitting dazedly on the ground at the fence, apparently dropped as the chicken snatcher made its getaway. Her concerned rooster, also wandering around blindly in the dark, found her in the flashlight’s beam and led her off into the darkness where I hope they found a safe place to roost. Out in the woods beyond the pasture fence came the angry chittering of a raccoon. Well, now at least my suspicions of the identity of the chicken thief are confirmed.

Perhaps I can now get back to sleep. I believe that I will place more trust in pup, adolescent though he is, to guard the place from slinkers in the night. I will have to! I have chicks pastured in protective pens, but I think that a determined raccoon will quickly be able to rip through the chicken wire. It should be able to confound the raccoon long enough, I hope, that Sam will be able to charge to the rescue. If he can wake me up in time, that is. Maybe I’ll hold off on having SwampMan rescreen the porch (which was actually on his to do list last weekend but was canceled due to bad weather).

Being awakened in the early a.m. on Memorial Day does have some benefits. Okay, one benefit. I watched The Fighting Seabees! Haven’t seen it for years.

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