Sunday, July 1, 2007

Zeus on guard

On Memorial Day weekend, my wonderful livestock guard dog Ed (shown on the right in a 2005 photograph) left his sheep, I presume to run off a coyote. Three days later he was hit by a car and killed nearly eight miles from the flock. I was bereft -- it was hard to go and check on the ewes and lambs and not have Ed greet me and give me the status report. But there was also the scary fact that my sheep were without one of their two lines of defense against predators. The electrified net fencing would work for a while, but eventually coyotes would probably find a way to defeat it unless I found a dog to replace Edward.

I put out the word through a number of Internet communities, and got a response from Kelli Fogg at Shuttleworth Farm in Westfield, Vt., that they had a dog to spare. Zeus (shown to the left in a photo taken June 30, 2007) came to me about two weeks after Ed's untimely demise, and has picked up where Ed left off without missing a beat. Zeus is much more flock-bound than Ed was -- which I am hopeful means that he will not feel the need to persue his enemies so far that he can't find his way back to safety. I'm grateful to Todd and Kelli for responding to my need with the right dog at the right time. I was also overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and offers of help ranging from free puppies to extended loans of dogs that other shepherds offered me in my hour of need.

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