After much effort, we finally have a livestock guardian dog.
According to the rescue group, our Great Pyrenees is about a year old. She was found wandering by the side of a road, completely emaciated, back in August. She was being fostered at a small farm in North Carolina and nursed back to health. We were warned that she’s a “digger” before we agreed to take her, but that was the only caveat mentioned. Also, they were okay with us keeping her outside (she slept outside in a kennel on the farm in NC), unlike most of the dogs at the Virginia Rescue. And let’s be honest, she’s not going to do us much good protecting the sheep and chickens if she’s snoozing on our couch.
Will drove the 3+ hour each way trip this past weekend to pick her up. We decided to name her Scout (yes, just like To Kill a Mocking Bird). He already adores her. And I must say, she is a very sweet dog. She doesn’t know basic commands like Sit, but she was fine on leash, and follows pretty closely as we walk around the pasture.
Right now she’s nursing a bit of a limp and two pretty bad hot spots, which the foster mom thought may have been caused by her and her kennel mate nipping at one another. Otherwise, despite being a bit on the slim side, she seems ideal. Beautiful coat, some black marking on the tips of her ears, the telltale extra duclaw typical of the breed, and a fabulously deep bark. It’s more of a woof than a bark, really. And yes, in classic Pyr fashion, she’s a bit indiscriminate about vocalizing. Also, she is huge. When she stands on her hind legs, she can rest her front paws on the top of the four-post fence, like she was a neighbor leaning over for a bit of good gossip. Standing normally, her head is at my chest. It feels a bit like we have an albino lion wandering the backyard. Sounds like it, too.
So far so good. Watson and her somewhat get along, but we don’t really keep them together much. The first day, despite all his antagonism (Watty is an instigater), Scout only snapped back when he started to eat her food. Otherwise, we leave her to the pasture while Watson roams the rest of the property. Alston is fascinated by her, but isn’t such a fan of her sniffing. She doesn’t lick him, but she does explore and prod with her nose, prompting a chorus of “all done, up ma” from the toddler. But I must say, she is very gentle.
As for the sheep, well, this one is our fault. The suggestion was to keep the sheep contained in a pen and then introduce them to Scout, having them “hang out” until everyone got used to one another. The problem is, we don’t have a pen. In fact, we don’t even have the run in shed (more on that in another post), as Will has the walls off while he paints everything. Which means the sheep first met Scout when she ran up to them, prompting them to retreat into the woods and sneak out only to steal some grass for a snack. As their water trough is in the middle of the field, I’m a bit worried none of them have had a drink of water since her arrival on Saturday. At least the frost-covered pasture must be some source of hydration. I think. That being said, the shed should be finished this week, meaning next weekend is find-a-way-to-trap-the-sheep-inside-it-and-coax-the-dog-in-for-a-meet-and-greet time.