When I awoke this past morning, the sun was shining clear across the room.
On looking out the window, I could tell that it was cold. A dusting of snow had fallen sometime during the night, and at that moment, the apparent gusts of wind were drifting it across the driveway, counter to the snow blower’s efforts of the day before.
I had nothing in mind that I wanted to do other than to get my carcass out to the barn to play with Bonnie and Bell, our two Santa-brought Great Pyrenees puppies. When I first saw them at six days old, they lay comfortably in the palm of a hand. When Santa brought them, at eight weeks old, they matched the weight of Mike and Molly, our mice-catching pair of barn cats.
Not so now, because they have completely outgrown the collars that we had first placed on their necks in order to teach them to lead. Though the collars have five holes for expansion purposes, these were used up, one at a time, every five or six days. Believe it or not, they are now the size of full-grown spaniels.
On checking the calendar, it is now time that we take them to the vet to get their second combination of immunity shots. This, so we are told, will protect them against distemper, rabies, and a number of other weird discoveries around which my mind refuses to comprehend and my tongue balks at pronouncing. Booster shots will follow a year after their first ones were administered.
When I go out to play with them, they are first let out of their temporary improvised kennel to run around and see the other animals, then tiring of this; they romp and chase each other around the open stable.
When they get tired of wrestling with each other, I now find it necessary to plunk my butt firmly on top of a bale of hay, and by keeping my heavy winter gloves on, as protection against tiny sharp toenails, I am able to challenge their rough and tumble mock attacks that are accented by playful growls, woof, woofs and occasional two or three loud barks.
As they get older, they will have their sharp little nails trimmed, be taught that jumping up on people should no longer be in their thoughts, and be further taught to know that “no means no” at whatever mischief their combined brains may have trumped up.
WestWind Farms is leaning strongly in the direction of total organic gardening and humane raising, feeding, housing and caring for animals that are grown for food. And falling quietly in place with this is the “live and let live” scenario. Fewer hunters are allowed on the farm, and we hope that when fully grown, the Great Pyrenees’ wandering habit by night, coupled with the llama’s alert guarding habits by day, will end the need for hunting once and for all.
The hope is to cut any losses to the larger predators without harming the predator species. Confrontation between these large dogs by night, and the quick territory protecting actions of the far-sighted llamas by day, will encourage the trespassing predators to seek less challenging hunting grounds elsewhere. Time will tell.
Take care, ‘cause we care.