In December, our thirteen year old border collie, Gene, was diagnosed with cancer. I had noticed an egg-sized lump on the back of her left thigh a while earlier, and decided to ask the vet to look at it. It was almost like a typical fatty lump seen in older dogs, and she already has some fatty lumps. But this one did feel a bit more “rooted” and it had grown faster than I’m used to seeing in benign fatty tumors. A biopsy identified it as a mast cell tumor, which is common in dogs. So, it was removed after Christmas.
February 19, 2017
December 26, 2016
This pup was an emergency procurement. We’d only had sheep for a matter of months, and had started with a llama to protect them. Plan B was going to be to get a dog if the llama didn’t prove effective. Plan B was invoked quicker than anticipated, as we had coyote kills, right as the llama stood in the pasture with the sheep. We needed better protection, stat!
December 20, 2016
Still the biggest focus of my farming efforts is growing this silly pup into a good guardian dog. Bronte, sadly, passed already (I’ll save that topic for another post), so this “li’l” pup is needing to grow up fast and fill big shoes. But, growing she is; as you can see, she’s nearly as big as Moses already, and he’s a 100 lb dog. She is now eight months old. I’ve officially named her Brinsa. Though, often I find myself calling her “Woojee Toodle,” and my husband refers to her as “Dum Dum”; so I imagine one of those two dumb names will stick.
September 5, 2016
Our new pup is a Maremma. She was born on a 2,000 acre ranch. And I don’t mean “the breeder who produced her owns a 2,000 acre ranch.” I mean, this pup was born and reared in an environment where she and the group of dogs into which she was born ranged over 2,000 acres. Naturally, the dams of the litters stick close to home when whelping and rearing young pups. The breeder described that at sixteen weeks, the pups still weren’t ranging far from the safety of the homestead. But, they were indeed ranging, and acclimating to the lifestyle of learning to protect a large span of territory from predators. She hails from Eastern WA, where wolf packs are now a force to be reckoned with, and most ranchers are needing to run large groups of LPDs to protect their livelihoods.
August 21, 2016
A few weeks ago, we got some bad news. It started with Bronte showing some lameness on her front leg around the first of July. I wasn’t initially alarmed, since the dogs do injure themselves sometimes with all the running they do on uneven ground. There was a little bit of swelling in her knee, but not much, and she was still getting around just fine and was cheerful. I gave her some NSAIDs I had left over from her spay, and it seemed to improve.
Once the meds were gone, it got worse, however. The swelling increased, as did her lameness, and her demeanor started to change, as if she was in more discomfort. I worried that perhaps it was a bigger injury, like a tendon that needed surgical intervention. I called to make an appointment to have it x-rayed. My description to the vet that it was a strange, “hard” swelling made her instantly say “bone cancer” on the phone, even without seeing it.
November 9, 2015
I spotted this in a magazine a while back. What in the world? You may know, I carry a fair amount of disdain for commercially made dog kibble; preferring to feed my dogs real, actual food. So, this ad cracked me up and caught my interest enough to visit Purina’s website to try to get at, what on earth are they thinking??
February 15, 2015
Bronte is six. Where does time go? When I brought her home, it was in a hurry, to deal with immediate coyote-killing-sheep problems. She was a half-grown pup, who grew into her job, and maturity, very slowly. At the time, there was no time to think about spaying, I needed her out with the sheep yesterday. And, I think part of me thought I may have wanted to breed her someday. But part of me always thinks that, and thus far, has always been wrong. Even her breeder stopped breeding LGDs. The litters are huge, the pups grow fast and eat a lot, it’s tough to find suitable working homes for them, and sometimes you get them back later and have to re-home them.
Later, we got Moses, so I had a backup guardian dog. Moses was already neutered when he came. I started to think about spaying Bronte, but there still didn’t seem to be any urgency. Knock on wood, we just don’t have issues with loose or stray dogs here, so there was little concern she’d be accidentally bred. I considered whether maybe I’d never spay her. I waffled. This would be no ordinary spay, on many accounts.