|Updated Dec. 2009
We had been talking for a couple of years of eventually
adopting a semi-working dog to protect the chickens and just hang out
around the property. Last year ,when some of our chickens got taken by a fox and a weasel, this became
a bigger priority. We had thought it would be nice if we got something
we MIGHT be able to turn into a herding dog, provided we could learn to
train it. So we focused on the idea of something along the lines of a
Border Collie or some cross thereof.
Well, family friends offered my father a BC and
an Australian Shepherd from their first litter of working dogs. When
Dad said he didn't want another dog, they offered one to us if there
were enough, as they had a list potentially longer than the likely
litter. In May of 2004, when some had
backed out, we got called over to check out the tiny pups and pick one
out from three that hadn't been fully claimed yet (there were five all
together, not everyone had picked theirs yet). Sadly for us they had
docked the tails to make them more like Australian Shepherds already,
we would NEVER have chosen this to be done. The other two were female
and red merle, the one male was pure black like the BC mother. We
choose him for several reasons...we like black dogs here, we figured
that Irony would be more accepting of another male coming into the pack
than yet another female (although she accepted Scolaighe well enough),
this was a chance to get another male while we have Bran as the pup
will be too small to kill him and
will be used to him by the time he's big enough, and males are, after
all, cheaper to get fixed. After all, at that age it's a little hard to
judge on personality.
We feel a bit weird about getting a puppy, being
hard-core dog adopters and spay/neuter advocates. But he was a gift and
we were told a buyer, not of the original list, was interested in him
if we didn't take him...but the breeders didn't really want to sell to
that person...who was being insistent, apparently. We figured we'd
still be giving him a sure good forever home, even if he wasn't in a
bad spot, he might end up in one if we didn't take him.
So we have now Gleann ("valley," see, we were
going to name him Beinn or "mountain" because we live on one but
decided two dogs with names starting with "b" and ending with "n"
might be confusing for them...so we went with where he came from...we
wanted something really simple for the folks, although most people seem
to want to read it as Glee-an. *sigh*).
At first we though Scolaighe showed prey interest
but it turned out she has "aunty" tendencies, wanting to play and fuss
over him. Irony was ill, so we were afraid this might stress her, but
she dealt with him here very well. Bran wanted to play, but again, that
also had to wait until Gleann was closer to his size.
We had a fun teething stage, which lasted a
very long time it seemed. He's shown some herding interest. He's
showing himself more willful than the "puppy testing" showed before.
But I think he's going to make a nice addition to the pack.
Due to his willfulness, we did take
him to a Basic Obedience class and as the youngest there he still did
Gleann continued to be a handful for awhile,
however. As he matured, he has become an excellent dog, very snuggling
inside, very adventurous outside. Scolaighe had a great deal to do with
that, undoubtedly, becoming his pack "aunty" and happily playing with
him. Often very
rough, but no dogs were hurt in the making of this photo. When she
became ill, she stopped playing with him like this. It seemed to make
him sad, but he adjusted and was very lovey and caring to her. Her
recent loss has been devestating to him.
We never have had the chance to train him like we
had hoped, either for herding or other tasks. At first with the horses
and chickens he was far too interested in chasing, but he calmed down
eventually with the chickens especially (he still tries with the
horses, the Minis, as well as Saoradh back in the day, mostly
ignore him, Saorsa chases back,
however) and has become very concerned and protective of his flock. Now
that he has goats, well, he's over excited still, but starting to calm
down. Of course, they strike back too and they have horns.
Contents and design, except
where noted otherwise below, copyright © 2004 -2011 Kym Lambert
and Aaron Miller
Spay/neuter button from Dog Hause's Don't Litter
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