Archive for the ‘Great Pyrenees Livestock Guard Dogs’ Category

Sadie and the Coyotes

I once spotted Sadie, our first Great Pyrenees, about a quarter mile off in the half light of early morning in the cow pasture running down several coyotes. The coyotes disappeared into the brush, and Sade pounded in after them, now very close on their tails. Silence, and then an insane prolonged coyote din.

Soon after Sadie returned, as often she did with blood on her muzzle, tail wagging, eager to rest her head on my leg.

Until then, I had thought the blood on her muzzle was just a dead cow or deer that she had got into. I then realized that she probably did battle many nights.

We could often hear her out on her distant rounds all night long. She ran a perimeter of protection of about a mile in diameter. We never worried about our goat herd when she lived, as we had not even seen a coyote within a mile of the house after she grew up.

Before Sadie, we were overrun, and coyotes would approach within 200 feet of our house and attack goats, chickens, and cats.

And it wasn’t only coyotes we were concerned about. Wolves frequent our valley. Lions come down the canyons. Stray cow dogs chase our stock.

Although Sadie was a ruthless wolf with her night enemies, she alternated between sleepy slug and playful pup during the day. She often engaged any of us in a game of tag. It was then that I finally realized that she was extremely formidable as a night protector, because in our game playing, the seemingly lumbering form adopted the speed of a cheetah!
We often watched her with the cows. The cows clearly knew that she was completely OK. Mind you, these are fairly dog hating wild range cows that run off wolves when they descend in packs into the herd. More often that not, the mothers would not even look up while she sniffed their babies. Any other dog would have been pounded into the dirt.

I remember one time we woke up to see Sadie laying out among the cows about a mile away. She would not move. Usually she came home as soon as the sun came up. I jumped in the pickup to see what was up.

Sadie was laying along side a newborn calf—a ‘drop and run’ birth. Sometimes heifers (first calf moms) or older cows will just quit their newborns. This calf was barely licked off, and the mom vamoosed. We happened to have a mom nearby that just lost her baby, so we grafted Sadie’s foundling to her.

Sadie was our first Pyr. Though she died on the road after an engagement with a pickup truck, we knew that she would not be the last. We had never had one who so cared for our safety as she.

She stayed with our kids when they went out on horseback, on foot, or floating down the creek.

Always watching.

Even today, the older ones rode by on their bikes up where I was working, unloading some hay, about a half mile from the house. Both Sophie and Jackie had left their litters to be with the kids.

Always protecting.

Posted on April 16th, 2010 by admin  |  5 Comments »