The hard part about these trips is you are leaving so much behind at home and only through the kindness of good friends can it be done. Just before we left, our old livestock guardian dog, Oscar, seemed to be developing a mild cough, but I had a bad feeling about it, as he had been on and off a bit for the last year. He was 12, a ripe old age for a dog with a lifestyle that generally allows for a life expectancy of around 8 years.
Oscar had been going down fast while we were away, and despite good friends who are vet techs, giving prednisone and other care to try to help him make it until we got home, a couple of days ago it was time to say goodbye. I haven't wanted to write until today, as I was having trouble wrapping my head around it. We have not had good luck with livestock guardian dogs (LGD) on these UK trips, losing our other 8 year old last year around the same time.
Oscar was one of those dogs who could look terrifying when necessary, almost 100 pound of solid muscle, and...
Well, we are finally back on this time zone, and the experience in the UK and Ireland still seems a bit surreal. We learned so much and I have been busily trying to write down all the lessons. I have been working my dogs with new eyes, and with a greater understanding and appreciation for what each dog brings to the table, instead of lamenting what they are missing. There were many dogs I saw across the pond that did beautiful work. Although the dogs had flaws, they were brilliantly handled.
The humidity in Ontario has been unreal, and is still limiting the amount work we can do with the dogs. Dyna is being watched closely to see if the Joe x Dyna breeding comes to fruition although realistically we won't know for a few weeks.
New life on the horizon and I think about the intertwined lives of sheep, sheepdogs and guardians on a farm. The end of an era is coming, with old Border Collies and guard dogs who have grown up together reaching their elder years. It started while we were...
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