This month’s Mother Earth News has an article about livestock guardian dogs and it has me thinking about our pal Joey, who died in January. I miss his big slobbering goofy self. He was a great friend and protector for our goats. He was dedicated to their safety and he never failed them.
We’ve talked about it several times, but we’ve never replaced Joey. I know we’re taking a risk and on the nights I hear the coyotes yipping and howling nearby, I especially worry about that. But we wanted to let some time pass and we’ve been reluctant to go through puppy training again. Maybe we’ll get another guardian dog someday. But for now at least, we’re going without.
According to the article terriers are good for keeping a farm free of possums, groundhogs and foxes. I hadn’t realized that. I’d like a farm free of possums, groundhogs and foxes, so maybe we ought to consider a terrier too.
Of course we’re not without a farm dog. Our lab Ginny, graying though she is, has over the years proven her merit against possums, groundhogs, raccoons and even coyotes (although she prefers chasing squirrels and rabbits, despite having never managed to catch one). Ginny has probably lost a step over the last few years though and she increasingly seems to prefer napping in the house to patrolling the farm. But she still gets her game on when an unwelcome animal is around.
Joey left us too soon. I’m sorry he’s not still waiting for me at the barn each morning.
Until he has a successor, if ever, we and Ginny will keep holding down the fort.