Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Best Dog Ever

Last week, we lost our good guardian dog, Neve...the Best Dog Ever.

Neve was a Maremma. We got him as a retiree, in November 2010 for our small sheep flock, when he was about eight years old. He turned around our thinking about guardian dogs as we got to know him and fell in love with him. He won our hearts and made us laugh and also made us feel secure knowing our sheep were so well protected. He had silly things that he did, like he had to have his own pile of alfalfa when you fed the sheep. He would munch a few bites of hay every night at feeding time, having his "salad" which we all joked about.

In his former job, Neve was a great lambing dog. The people who worked with him remarked that he had different barks for different scenarios, when he was younger. When we had a few lambs in our own small flock, you could tell which ewe would lamb next, as Neve would stick to that ewe like glue. He stayed near her, helped her clean her lamb(s) but never harmed them or tried to steal them, as some LGDs will do.

As a guardian, he was wonderful. No predator dared to pass near when he was on the job. Even the flying kind did not dare mess with him. It was so interesting to watch Neve as he ran off the birds of prey, the ravens, hawks, and vultures; yet he let the ducks, turkeys and geese walk around him as if they weren't even there. He differentiated between the different types of birds, having instincts as deep or deeper than our border collies, but just of a different type.

Neve was the type of LGD who always, loyally, stayed with his flock. No matter where the sheep were, that is where you would find Neve, even as he got older and more elderly, and lost his hearing. He strived at all times, to stay with his sheep. We will miss him greatly and there is no replacing him, although we are looking for another LGD to open a new chapter. There are too many large predators around the area, to try to have sheep without a guardian dog. It seems strange, for now, to drive in to where the sheep live, and not hear his deep bark and to see a big white dog come bounding up to the fence to greet me. The best dog ever, won't ever be forgotten.

1 comment:

johnston-sharon said...

So well written. Those of us who have livestock guard dogs know what you are going through. They have those special instincts and are amazing dogs. He will always be a special spot in your heart. Looking forward to hearing about your next LGD.