Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This weekend we lost Duck-duck the goose to a fox attack. They were in the sheep yard while we were fencing around the new chooks area, so they were out while it was getting dusky. We're guessing the fox came up the neighboring paddock in which the grass is taller than the birds and waited till he was near enough to grab as we didn't hear it - not an easy task with 11kg of mature gander in breeding season.

This brought up the subject I've been avoiding... that of a livestock guardian dog. We'd been thinking of one for a year and a bit as other means don't suit. Electric netting would only protect birds, risk shocking children and be difficult over such a spread out area. Alpacas would protect lambs but not birds, couldn't come into the mid-yard and the one we boarded charged our dogs as readily as foxes. Donkeys were much the same as well as being loud and potentially deadly to the dogs.

Awhile ago one of my fellow animal nuts tells me about a Maremma coming to rescue from a bad situation I should consider. It'd been the typical story - bought as a fluffy pup and the owners quickly discovered that Maremma are large dogs with strong guardian instincts and big voices. I declined. I just couldn't. Hearing about her happy ending reminded me sometimes things goes right despite all the odds though. I met her to thank her for the reminder and the dog was a sweetheart - utterly lovely, gentle, very child oriented and totally unflapped by anything while out and about and still looking for a home.

I had subtle and 'not-so-subtle' nudges from her rescuer, foster home and Nic. I wrestled with the idea and hurt every time I got an e-mail, text, phone-call or Nic asked me about it. I was told everything I already know- that no dog will ever replace Veri, it's not intended to, it's okay to move on, we HAD needed one before loosing her and that need hadn't changed, if it was anything but a dog I'd have already gotten it without a second thought - which did nothing to change how things felt. I told myself how much I'd liked her, if it had happened before I wouldn't have hesitated. I wished I could just pull myself together. And I still felt miserable.

Enter Duck-ducks loss. Nic again said he thought I needed to consider the LGD. I said I understood but I'm crying constantly at the thought. Her loss is so different than when I've lost dogs before. He took the hard point and asked how many birds am I prepared to loose? How will I feel if I loose five or ten or twenty? Will dealing with their loss on top of Veri's outweigh confronting my loss of Verity?

I did call the rescue person who had also nudged me about the girl I'd been notified about. She's been adopted literally hours before. But there's another one she knows of who needs a home. Same story - her daughter brought home the puppy, now it's tied up all day and muzzled to attempt to prevent her from acting like a Maremma, neighbors have complained to the council, her poor owner is tapped dealing with her son who has disabilities that require a lot of her time, trying a husher (e-collar). She says she thinks that maybe it was meant to be. Maybe the first girl I'd met was just a messenger of sorts - she had a role to play but not my dog, maybe just to lead me to where I need to be.

1 comment:

Sif said...

Yes, I would tend to think the same. The first Maremma sounds like she was a key to open that closed place, and this one might be the one to fill the need for a guard dog for your other animals.

Such big emotions to deal with, it's hard.