I've had quite a few dogs in my life. I grew up with dogs in our house and over the years, Mark and I have had our fair share - Haida, Kelso, Paisley, Devon, Phoebe, Ness, Winston, Archie and Kate. These days, we choose working dogs - those canines who have been bred to have a job and help out on a farm. Border Collies take care of the herding. Great Pyrenees guard the sheep from the predators. I can't imagine even being able to sheep farm without a good dog or two or four or five. Dogs cover ground at amazing speed - they know their job - whether herding or guarding. As a sheep farmer, you come to rely on your dogs like family. And they are our family for sure. Our dogs rarely ever let us down, once they are out of the pup stage and know their role here at the farm.
Sadly, two weeks ago, we lost Winston, our 4 year old Great Pyrenees Livestock Guard Dog to bone cancer. We knew there was not much to be done about his short life. No matter how much it pained me to think about life on the farm without Winston, I knew I had to think about replacing him. Knowing that it wouldn't take the coyotes long to figure out that Winston was ailing and gone, I started a search for another Great Pyrenees pup. We love the breed, the gentleness, the deep bark and their instinct to protect our sheep. Because we have frequent visitors here at our farm, we wanted to know that we could trust the dog. Luckily, I found a litter of pups at a sheep farm about a half hour from us and we were first on the list for a new pup.
Off we went to visit Huckowicz Farm Suffolks in late August. The Great Pyrenees pups were in a barn with their sheep and alpacas. We met their Mom and Dad - Buddy and Abby - and chose not one but two pups. I couldn't bear the the thought of one little pup out in the field with the sheep in the wide open spaces since I didn't know how long Winston would be with us.
Meet Beau and Sadie - the two new Livestock Guard Dog (LGD) Great Pyrenees pups. They are totally lovable balls of white fluffy fur.
Beau and Sadie met Winston and lived with him for a couple weeks. Our vet Amy said she is sure he passed on his wisdom to them. Here's hoping they do their job as they grow into it. It has been a bit easier losing Winston with the distraction of puppies. Not that they will totally replace him. They will have their own personality that we will learn to love too.
Sadie is smart as a whip and I'm sure will be the trouble maker and instigator. Her brown patches will fade as she grows.
I see a bit of Winston's personality in Beau - he is slower to move and not quite as rambunctious. His gray markings will probably remain as he grows older.
It will take several months for the puppies to grow into their job. Right now we are trying to keep them safe and out of trouble. They are getting used to our family, the other dogs, and the sheep.
Thank you everyone for the incredibly kind comments you left upon Winston's passing. We all read each and every one and appreciate your thoughts and sympathy. You guys are wonderful.