Does Puppy Need a Puppy?

“Puppy” is a very energetic dog indeed. He races around the perimeter, taking his guarding responsibilities very enthusiastically. He also takes his loving responsibilities very enthusiastically and, even though he knows it isn’t allowed, occasionally nearly bowls us off our feet!

SwampMan thinks that “Puppy” really needs a friend. Another dog about his age and sex and breed would be perfect, he thinks. I think…..not. Sounds like a bigass dogfight to me. Plus I know who would be taking care of friend, too. Then daughter called tonight and told me that there had been an Australian Shepherd mother and a Border Collie father (or maybe it’s the other way around) turned into the shelter, and the mom had whelped there. The mom and pups are being fostered until pups are old enough to be adopted. Daughter thinks that a Border Collie x Australian Shepherd would be just the thing for me in making my rounds and gathering up sheep. I think it would be just the thing for me too, except…..where am I going to find the time to train and socialize another dog? How am I going to make sure this lil’ puppy is fed and watered and piddled before going to work in the morning? How can I be sure Newpy (new puppy) will be safe throughout the day, unless I keep him in a kennel while I’m gone? (Well, I guess I answered THAT question, didn’t I?) Newpy is of a breed that enthusiastically “herds” vehicles and they often come to grief that way. Puppy is going to want to play with Newpy, and I just don’t think THAT is going to work out very well, since Puppy is about 100 lbs. of uber enthusiastic German Shepherd, and Newpy will be about 5 lbs. of wriggling puppy.

I was REALLY mad at Puppy Sunday. I went out Sunday morning to find a mortally wounded duck in his area. I yelled at him and put him in the kennel, along with his food. He KNOWS that All Poultry is Sacred, and Mom is the Queen of All Poultry. What the HELL was this? Did he get overexcited on Christmas? I gave him his dog food, and he refused to eat for 24 hours. He lay in the corner, curled up, apparently devastated at being yelled at and put in the kennel. He would not move or even look at me. He appeared completely guilt stricken. SwampMan, of course, took up for Puppy. “He was probably just defending his food. Besides, the duck came into HIS area, he didn’t go looking for the duck!” Well, several ducks (and chickens) live happily in Puppy’s area, so I wasn’t buying THAT excuse.

I relented and let Puppy out, only to be awakened at 2:30 a.m. by frenzied barking. He wouldn’t quit, so I ventured out into the freezing air to hear the chickens screaming in alarm, and the ducks that normally stay out back were on the back porch crowded closely around Odie, the old blind deaf arthritic dog who used to be a fantastic livestock guard dog but now is pretty much oblivious to everything except me. I opened the gate. Puppy lept past me and raced into the dark pasture. More frenzied barking at the perimeter indicated that whatever he was chasing had successfully made it over the fence, and he came back sniffing carefully over the pasture, alerting me to two mortally wounded ducks that had been dragged to the fence and the fresh skeleton of a slain rooster, mostly consumed. Apparently mortally wounded duck hadn’t been wounded by Puppy; she had made her way to his area for safety. One of the mortally wounded ducks in the pasture tried to drag herself painfully back to her nest with her wings because her legs weren’t working but couldn’t make it. The other duck died during the night, too.

This evening, I shut off the front yard and put old Odie on the front porch. I keep Puppy away from Odie because he tries to play too roughly with the old boy. Puppy is out enthusiastically patrolling the perimeter. I checked the back porch before turning in for the night, and there were no ducks. I went outside to just double check that Puppy had nothing to do with their disappearance, and found that the ducks were happily settled back where they usually sleep, completely undisturbed by Puppy’s relentless perimeter patrol and, indeed, seemingly reassured by it. If Puppy had indeed been responsible for a duck (or chicken) death, they would not be sleeping peacefully while he made his rounds.

I just heard chickens squawking again and went out to check, only to find that they were alarmed by the sounds of Breeze banging her feed pan hopefully out in the darkness. Puppy was there before me, checking the chicken alarm sounds, then racing off to check the perimeter again to make sure that nothing had sneaky made off with a chicken that he would be blamed for, then back to his bed before I finished petting Breeze’s nose while making soothing chicken noises at the chickens with the frayed nerves.

I think I should be able to sleep through the night tonight without worrying too much about the livestock. I hope. *sigh* I suppose I’ll be sleeping in the La-Z-Boy by the door for the next few nights anyway. Now I need to find my Snuggy, another blanket, and my book about raising all my food on 1/4 acre.


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    kae said,

    Puppy sounds like a gem! How old is he?

    The Australian Shepherd/Border Collie pup sounds wonderful. I love German Sheps, Australian Sheps (even though they aren’t an Aussie breed), and now Border Collies – Floyd, a tricolour supposed cross Border Collie/Cattledog is the smartest dog I have ever had! He’s taught me some new games and some tricks, too.

    My first dog was a lab/shep cross, he was a sweetie. hen I got two blue/red heeler/cattle dog crosses, Katie and Bundy, and they were great, so much personality. Now I’ve got Meg and Floyd, Floyd is smart, but his reflexes aren’t very good – but he’s a fence jumper/climber… Meg is fast as lightning with her reflexes, but as dumb as a box of rocks otherwise. Meg is a hoover, gobbles up all the food put in front of her, but all my other dogs have a relaxed attitude to food, just eating when they’re hungry and not particularly interested when they aren’t hungry.

    I worry if Floyd got out that someone would hurt him, he’s so friendly and loves people.

  2. 2

    swampie said,

    Puppy came “home” from the shelter on January 11, 2009, so he has been living with us about 2 years. He was @ 12 weeks old when we got him.

  3. 3

    kcduffy said,

    And they are BOTH beautiful animals, with tons of personality, and I love it when either of you posts about them.

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