Against all odds it has happened again, and once more we are humbled beyond words…
You may remember Mom’s post back in January, about the heartrending decision that Nicki made when she had to re-home her Great Pyrenees, Dozer, before her move to Alaska. Through a miracle of coincidence, she remembered our farm from when we bought some animals from her, and saw the blog where Mom mentioned our frustrating search for a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). So out of the blue we got a phone call offering us our dream dog, and what a dog he has been.
It was love at first sight for us, and we’ve fallen more in love every day we’ve owned him. So much so, that we would bemoan regularly the fact that he is neutered. Hearing me complain (again), I was encouraged by a friend to look into breeding these dogs for the people on the Olympic Peninsula even if they couldn’t be Dozer’s. So after some thought, I went straight to the source. If I couldn’t make Dozer-babies, I wanted to get his genes in there somewhere… So I emailed the breeder that Dozer had come from. Nicki’s sister, Rokki.
I told her how much I loved this dog, how much better he’s made our lives, and how desperately I wanted to share that with the people in my area.
I don’t know if it was fate, luck, divine guidance, or what… Rokki had just moved into town and didn’t have enough room (or any animals to guard) for Dozer’s dad, Samson. She had also just lost Dozer’s mom (Samson’s mate, Sitka), and Samson was taking that hard… With no job to do and his friend/soul-mate gone, he became lonely and depressed. And like every good owner, Rokki’s heart was breaking for him.
That is when she got my email… I would imagine it felt like salvation and a punch in the gut at the same time.
I have had to make those decisions, and it’s never easy. We love them so much… The final question though, is if we love them enough to face the rest of our lives without them.
I couldn’t make that sacrifice for my dog 3 years ago, and she passed away in pain without me by her side. That is a debt I can never repay, and a burden that weighs on my heart.
Rokki was stronger than me, and amongst tears, hugs and well-wishes, Samson was left in our care.
He is stunning… Where Dozer has black splotches all over that make him look like an adorable goofball, Samson is positively regal. He is taller, broader of head and shoulder, pure white, and with an aura around him like that of a benevolent god.
He is also the consummate professional. I don’t know if he realized instantly that this property was now his, but he surveyed it as though it was… Within minutes of being on the farm, he systematically got acquainted with every animal, and toured the perimeter of each barn and fenceline. After a quick jaunt down the driveway (which we promptly assured him was NOT his territory), he appeared satisfied with his domain. The barns are his, the animals are his, and while we humans can be rather impertinent, we redeem ourselves by satisfying itches and keeping his belly full.
Above all, he has that incredible, wonderful, occasionally frustrating Pyrenees trait of knowing his job instinctively, and not needing our help with it at all. At all. He obviously likes us very much, is unfailingly patient with the miniature human that gives far too many face-hugs, and has the desire to please. But our commands are viewed more as requests made by an equal, to be performed at his leisure around the responsibilities that he views as most important.
Which, if you don’t understand the motivations of the Pyrenees LGD can be extremely frustrating. But the fact that we quickly realized with Dozer is that we humans are considered a pleasant distraction by these dogs…
He knows that his job is to be ever alert for any danger that could threaten his animals, and anything that usurps his attention is carefully evaluated. And sometimes, what we want him to do is simply not as important as what he feels he needs to do, which is placing himself between his animals and anything that would dare to harm them.
So in realizing that and being people who live for our farm, nothing pleases us more than that single-minded focus. He will curl up by our feet like an oversized area rug as soon as he feels that all is right with the world.
And that is just fine with us.
(Just a note from Janolyn. I want to thank Nicki and Rokki for giving us the honor of caring for their wonderful dogs. Dozer and Samson are loved and happy fulfilling the duty that is their heritage.)