Working Journal of a Great Pyrenees
I got a second Pyr...a 6 year adult from Joe. His name is Patou...but we call him Arnold because the guy he is guarding for refuses to call a dog any thing that "sound like you are spitting". Patou is doing great. He is walking the fence line and guarding the goats. When I am out side he comes over to my side of the fence and insists on being petted non stop.
It took Patou 3 days to adjust. He runs the fence line at 2:00 am, 4:00 am, and 9:00am, then retires by the creek while the live stock drink. He comes up to the house during the afternoon hours when I get home, then disappears to run the fence again when night falls. If your wondering how I know he is running at this time, he stops by the house and sounds off before running the fence line, barking every 100-200 feet, letting the world know he is on duty!!! The last few nights he has proved his value. He detoured some wild dogs from a free meal. I heard a loud commotion Friday night and then heard dogs barking. I heard them again sat and sun but that time they never even got in the fence. Monday night they did not come back and I have not seen the Chow mix, the one that usually leads the group, sunning herself in the field since. Who knows, maybe I will find her carcass on our next outing.
Well Patou once again amazed me... Personally its already amazing to me that a 6 year
old dog, who has never seen a goat, could be taken from the kennel that he called home,
and released into pasture to work.
Well today he proved himself once again.
I was outside in my own fence which backs into the pasture. Usually Patou is lounging up against the fence on my side of the patter(There were 2 pastures but they are attached by a narrow walk way of fencing. Sort of like a house shoe shape.) Any how Patou was no where to be seen....I scanned the other side and I saw this faint white shape in the distance lying down near the fence...his hear came up and he scanned the field. As soon as Patou saw me he leaped up, ran to the fence nearest to me and began baking frantically. His tail was curled and he was prancing about like he was on hot coals. I waved at him to let him know it was me, he turned and ran back where he had been laying then turned and looked at me again...I felt like I was in an old Lassie Movie...I wasn't about to ask him what was wrong...I was afraid he would tell me!!! I tried my best to see what the problem was...I couldn't so I started to go back in...he kept barking, a deep but frantic bark. I decided to investigate.
When I got to where he was I realized the problem One of the goats had its head stuck in the fencing. I waded through the brambles...Patou was dancing around sooooo very pleased with himself....and got to where I could push the critter's head back in.
Off he ran, but Patou just stared at like...Oh, and you think your finished...
He walked a little ways down the fence line and there I saw what kept him from following the freed goat. Five little brown does were hiding in the bramble just a few feet away but since they were the color of the dead brambles, I had not seen them. I shooed them back into the fence. Patou went this time kicking up his heals happy as a clam that his goats were back in the fence. He rounded them once and led them down to the lower pasture where he could keep his eye on them.
Will Patou never Cease to amaze me.. :)
Poor old Patou has had to separated from - his heard for the past week. A chore that neither him nor I liked. He, confined to the team and me, having to lug water and food down every day in the cold. Neither on of us was happy with the situation...but it was a must. There were 2 goats expecting kids and I could not be out there watching him. And Thomas, the man who's goats he watches, could not be out there either. Patou had never seen baby goats before....in fact until a few months ago (5-6) he had never seen goats. Now his goats were his prize and he lives to strut around the pasture every day "counting" them and leading them back and forth for water or grain. A young BC runs with him also..and accompanies him on his walk abouts. Any how...the first goat dropped her kids last week.
I found one of the goats that Monday. It was dead, frozen, and very small. Its legs had been chewed on by the BC ( thats how I found it he was out there using it for a chew toy) Never found a second one if there was a second one. It didn't surprise Thomas that the first one had been found dead he said that particular nanny never had any babies that would live. Well a week rolled on and poor Patou wanted out so badly to check on his goats. I let him nun yesterday (sat) and he could not have been more happy. He went back into the team that night. Well this morning we got our surprise. The nanny had dropped her kids. She had 3 of them. 1 was found dead, the other two were still covered in after birth, blood and goo. The nanny had apparently abandoned them. Thomas put the kids in one of the empty team stalls to get them out of the weather and also in hopes that maybe she would take an interest in them if he could get her in there with them.
I let Patou out since I could watch him now...and at first he acted like they were not even there.... He gave them the once over then took off to check on his herd. He was gone for about ten min. when one of the babies began to bleat. I have never seen him so determined to get somewhere in such a short amount of time... Patou shot out of the brush, it was like he had rocket fuel for blood, and leaped over some branches ran up the hill. He practically covered 4 acres in a single bound... He ran up to me with the most concerned look on his face, trotted into the stall, sniffed over the baby goats, cleaned them, led them around, let them try to nurse off of him, and looked back at me like "Aren't you gonna do something about this???" He took off again....shot across the field....it became obvious what he was doing. He was going back to the herd which was on the other hill. He would nun up to the mother goat the start back toward the barn...he would go back to her, then turn away.... Patou was trying to get her to follow him. I think any other day the whole herd would have done just that (the love to follow him)...in fact...Patou got one old nanny goats to come back with him to the stall. I believe the old goat would have nursed the babies had she had any milk. Patou was generally disgusted with his goats..and me because all I could do was stand there twiddling my thumbs. These were not my goats...and I had offered to bottle feed them, but Thomas wanted to wait and see if perhaps the mother would take them. I picked one of the babies up and Patou who had walked out of the team was back in a flash. He stood up on his back feet, put a paw on my arm and gently put his mouth around the back of the goat's back and tried to take it from me.... He never put down any pressure, he just guided the baby goat back to the ground.... I complied and put the goat down and he sniffed them over again...then just took up guard, standing over them in the barn....
Thomas gave up waiting for the mother goat...the babies were getting weaker and weaker and the cold was getting to them. Patou cleaned them the rest of the way and kept vigil over them. He walked with them when they walked. When they got out of the team stall he promptly gave me my orders to put them back in... ;) Thomas took me up on my offer to bottle feed them so l loaded the wee-ones up and headed off up the hill. Patou did not quite know what to make of this. He did not try to stop me but he danced around and around, whining, and "talking". When I went out of the pasture he followed me up on the inside of the fence, to the house. Now the babies are resting comfortably under a heat lamp in my living room. This will be a first for me. I will take them back out tomorrow so Patou can visit them...he finally returned to the heard but has them as close to the house as possible...he knows where his new charges are and its like he's trying to be in both places at them same time.....
The baby Goats are doing great. My female Golden takes care of them in the "whelping" box that I have set up for them. Nana, my Pyr puppy comes in and guards them. She jumps into the pool and sits with them for hours. She also loves to bring them toys!!!.... Its a real hoot. When the babies get out of the pool all the dogs come running to "tattle" on them. Nana stays behind barking trying to get them back in the pool. The babies have already learned the words "get back in there".... When I fuss at them they go running back to the pool and jump in and lay down like they were doing nothing wrong... I took them out to see Patou the other day...when it was warm...and he was sooo happy to see them. He bounced around and sniffed and licked... then he seemed satisfied and finally lead his goats back to the far pasture. He hasn't been back since except to eat.
I saw a wonderful and very touching sight I am planning to capture it in a drawling in fact just because it was so perfect....one of those Kodak moments...and no I did not have my Camera...
I was out working on the kennel when l looked up to see Patou sitting on the valley edge near the bottom. Now granted it is not a "real" valley, its actuary a dip in the base of the small mountain that rises up behind my house. The entire thing is only about 5 acres wide. So on this grass knoll he was sitting... so patiently... the perfect picture of what a Pyr should be.....all around him, jumping happily darting around playing, even picking on him occasionally were the 4 new baby goats that have been born in the past 4 weeks. Their mothers had left them behind with Patou, to go across the creek and graze. Patou sat and sat ...he was there hours later when I went out to feed the dogs. By then the babies were asleep and when I filled his bowl he still did not budge he had "work" to do.
Patou got me out of my computer chair (and I promise that is a challenge...) and out into the hot SWELTERING heat. He was pacing the fence. Okay...so I stand there...sweat dripping off my nose...cool air conditioner back inside...he didn't bark at me but simply gave me *the* *look*. He heaved a sigh, looked back over his shoulder...but would not utter a bark....he wanted to, I could see it in his eyes..but silence.
I heard it...very faintly....I don't think that sound travels very well in the humid air...but it was unmistakable. A baby goat. Now I have pretty well memorized all the bleats of each goat....this one was different..very small...the only thing it could have been was a *new* baby.
So I took off, out the house down to the pasture....Patou followed me down the fence line, rushed up the hill to make a quick perimeter check...still he was silent. I followed the tiny noise to the old worn out shed that he hides his toys in. Inside was a mother goat and 2 new kids. Now you must understand these goats. Most have never had human contact (the only time they want it is if you have foods and they still refuse to eat from your hand), they are terrified of dogs, and this particular goat has NEVER in all her years been able to have babies survive, because of the feral dogs. However, this year, she chose not to give birth in the high brush away from all, not to hide beneath the smoke house, but to drop her babies directly where Patou sleeps. In the center of all his treasures, in the place where it stank dog the most.
I guess she is bent on these babies surviving.
Patou ushered me up to the place....and the mother bolted at first darting out the side. I checked on the wee ones..there were two so far, small so maybe there will be a third. Patou watched mom, then went to make a round circling the small team but never making eye contact with the nanny. Never barking but keeping low, and moving softly. She watched him afraid but as soon as I left the team she went back in. Patou and her watched each other from the hole in the shed and then he ushered me out of the pasture, apparently satisfied that I now knew about the kids. He went back to his place on the hill watching over her.
We had a dozy of a storm this week. Wind, rain and lightning like I have never seen before. it reminded me of a tornado. The winds whipped and whistled, bent trees, took down limbs, and jiggled our power lines so that the house lights blinked on and off like a disco dance floor. The most incredible part was the lightning. Bight white flashes that danced across the sky continuously. It was incredible and terrifying. I had unplugged everything in the house but still electricity popped out of the wall sockets, something that I have never seen happen before, only heard about.
The wind and rain drove all the animals into the barn. I watched the goats heard their new wee ones into the stalls. I was out on the porch laying down towels to soak up the water that was being blown into the windows. The dogs were very still in their crates. I think for once they were really unnerved by the storm. Heck, I was unnerved by the storm.
I heard Patou barking. Even when the sky rattled with an explosion of thunder I could hear him. He was moving the cows into the brush. The sky lit up with lightning. Bright and white, cold and loud. No sooner had one bolt flashed another was lit. Patou threw up his head, barked his warning and headed up the hill. He checked on the goats, maybe even counted them...who knows... Then took off like a yearling, barking and rumbling across the pasture. Lightning flashed and he changed his course, heading right toward where the bolt had been...barking and growling. He stopped on the hill puffed up, his tail curled over his back and his head arched high and proud. He stomped his feet daring that lighting to return. Another bolt flashed this time on the other side...Patou took off barking at it...the rain was so heavy by now I could barely see him. I went back inside and peered out the window just in time to see him race behind the smoke house. He reappeared on the other bend of the pasture. From one end to the next he would rush, stop, puff up and bark, stomp his feet. The wind was awful by now and the rain absolutely blinding. Still I could see his shadowy figure racing around and around where ever the lightning dare invade his piece of sky.
Patou finally took up a spot on the highest hill, facing the wind, and planted his feet hard. He never relaxed but stood with his chest puffed out, like his very body could block the force of nature. He barked, and barked. The rain had soaked him completely through, the lighting that drove every living thing inside did not frighten him and when the wind became so hard that it bent the trees he merely laid down and braced himself, still facing the storm.
It was a sight I will never forget. No wonder predators try to avoid these dogs. They refuse to admit that they can't win....
Patou survived the storm intact. I took a photo of him the next morning...it speaks for itself as well as gives a new meaning to the phrase "bad hair day."
I wrote a while back...a week maybe?...about the black goat who had her babies in the beat up old shed where Patou stored his stuff...
Now...this is a shed that the goats have not set foot in a very long time. They have for the longest dropped their kids in the high brush near the creek...
Well a second goat chose to have her baby there yesterday....
And Patou? Well he has given up his only shelter to sit outside while the mom goats nurse their young in the shed.
These are goats that cannot stand to have their vision blocked. They are always sitting on ready just waiting for any type of "danger'...a leaf, a warm breeze, a cat walking by...yet they allow themselves to be in the shed with most of their view blocked obviously "trapped" and they do it without a worry...
Maybe its because their body guard lies in front of the shed door.. ;)
Patou has gotten his geese pretty well trained now. Late morning he awakens (goes to sleep when the sun first peeks up over the mountain) and runs the front fence line. The front fence line is the part that runs down back behind my house. It then turns left, toward the mountain, and back behind my landlords house. Patou heads down to the gate and then to the smoke house where he wakes up the goats. The goats then head out to pasture on the other side of the creek. Then Patou runs back up the hill barking at the men who work at the lumber yard across the road. It is his daily ritual.
Now, since the geese have arrived, they follow him down the hill to wake
up the goats. Then as he runs back up the hill barking they run ahead of him with their
wings out, flapping, almost flying, and honking loudly.
Recently I have seen him laying on the hill and when my landlord comes home he no longer jumps up and runs barking. Instead it is the geese who take off down the hill wings spread, honking and hissing. The times Patou does go, which is usually in the late evening, the geese stay behind.
Recently another horse was added to the pasture. It is a big black Morgan. Beautiful animal. If I ever have a horse I would like one like that. When the first 2 horses came into the pasture Patou *tried* to be nice, but they chased him. Once, the hateful old mare even stepped on him while he was sleeping. Now Patou watches them with a careful eye. The Morgan is also picked on by the other horses. They chase him and kick him, and are generally nasty to the old gelding. Patou seemed to sympathize with the poor thing and brought him up to where he sleeps in the morning hours. The horse would nap under the branches of the same tree, Patou would be sleeping about 3 yards away, and the other horses would leave them both alone.
Its really amazing to watch him. Its like watching some one work out a complex mathematical equation. You know everything that you read about dogs, and how dogs are *supposed* to react, but Patou (as well as most pyrs) seems to break all the rules. He is an incredible creature. When I watch him I know he is thinking, thinking ahead, planning, debating, characteristics that you would only associate with humans, but he *is* doing them. I given up trying to understand I and just grateful for what *is*.
Early this morning when I was out doing my rounds with the dogs, feeding, grooming, and watering them, I became an audience to a most unusual serenade.
Morning below the Mountains are usually about the same. There is a fine mist that hangs over everything. The mountains are blended into a pastel sky, and the colors are not quite anything beyond the shade of Grey. Everything is quiet. There are no smells and there are no sounds of cars, no sounds of birds, it is at this odd time between morning and night that time does not exist and everything living possesses a surreal effect that truly belongs in a work by Salvador Dali. It is mornings like these that I love the most.
That was why his song caught me so off guard. It rose up through the mist like the wind. For a moment, I did not know what it was, I had heard it before, but the mist, the colors, the odorless world that is morning time here at my home had me wound up its magic. I was a prisoner to the moment and the mournful serenade ran up my spine filled up the air and brought the stirring of goats, dogs and cows to a complete stand still.
Patou was sitting up on his hill and slowly his head would come up, and his mouth would part, about what came from him did not belong to a dog. It was a a prime-evil howl that I would have never thought that any Pyrenees could ever possess. I have heard dogs howl, I have heard Pyrenees howl, I have even heard Patou howl, but this, strange cold, peaceful, music he was making belonged to something else....maybe even something that does not belong among the living. He sang for only a few minutes. All around him the cow, goats, geese, and horse watched him, fixated on this one brief and very strange moment just like I was. Then distantly I could hear another howl. Very deep, very far off, it was not like Patou's at all. Then when the distant cry subsided Patou would raise his head and sing again.
Patou committed an act the other day that has almost convinced me that he possesses the ability to not only reason, but think, contemplate, and make crucial decisions. My land lord Thomas, enjoys a very common past time that is shared by a lot of "mountain" folk. Shooting a gun. I have yet to figure out myself why doing this is so much fun. He doesn't shoot at any thing particularly, he just shoots, in no general direction, but at the same time seems to aim at things I cannot see. This day, he was shooting for a reason, at least I think he had a reason. I believe he was getting his horse used to gun fire, though I could be wrong, but why else would he walk his mount out into the pasture and shoot a gun off near its head. Now the goats are terrified of three things, wild dogs, thunder, and gun shots. So, when Thomas began shooting the goats began panicking. Patou took control, he immediately assessed the situation and examined the "threat". Now, he knew he was not supposed to hurt Thomas or block him from the pasture so attacking him was out of the question.
Patou rounded down the fence line and pushed all the Live stock up on the hill. Every cow, goat and horse was crammed up together in less than an acre of space. Patou, who was getting very upset about Thomas shooting his gun, raced around and around the area, full speed, keeping his stock together and away from the firing. Now, Patou could have done a dozen different things. He could have been aggressive toward Thomas, instead he chose to leave Thomas where he was and move his live stock out of "range." Second, he could have just left his live stock and gone and hidden until the firing was over. He could have tried to remove the danger. He could have escaped from the fence and run away. Instead he looked at who was shooting, chose to allow him to remain, move the stock out of "danger" and keep them together. It was not only what he did but the way he organized it. He placed the smallest of animals in the center, the cows were second then the horses in the outer most circle. It was truly amazing, reminded me of a wagon circle that might have been made by pioneers when being attacked by Indians.
I got a call from my Landlord's s/o, she informed me that there were dogs in the pasture, on the far side and they had been there for some time but Patou was not doing anything about it. I was embarrassed and some what upset. So I went to the window to see what was going on. Sure enough, on the other side of the pasture there was a pack of about 6 dogs weighing about 50-60lbs each. Now, the pasture is shaped like a horseshoe. The house, my landlord sits in the U of the horseshoe shape. The legs come out and reach to the road and to the back of my house. There is a fairly narrow passage way, the actual dip in the U, that connects the 2 halves. Patou was sitting on the hill on my side of the U, opposite to the side with the dogs. He had every goat, cow, and horse with him. He was perched up on a hill, lying down and watching the dogs, but he did not bark, nor approach the fence. I went down to the pasture and took him out of my side and put him over to the other. Of course when the strays saw me they ran. Patou was somewhat disturbed that I had moved him but sniffed the area that the dogs had been hanging around, marked over their spots and went back around to my side of the pasture. Now.... The only reason I can think of as to why he did not react is because the dogs were not really a threat. His livestock were with him and the dogs were staying a far enough distance away. Another thought is maybe he felt he could not leave his live stock, because if he had pursued the dogs the goats would have been completely out of his sight range for a good while. Still I wonder why he did not bark? Surely he saw the dogs. Could he have felt he was out numbered and it was better to remain with the live stock and not have a confrontation unless he absolutely had too??
I was not really disappointed with what he chose to do but I was just a bit surprised that he did not even bark at the intruders. I speculate though, his reason for this, was because he did not want to draw attraction to himself and the live stock. He had the most likely passage (the shortest and most visible too) that the dogs would take blocked off. It was very unlikely they would have gone back around the house to cut across when they were going in and out the bottom of the gate on the other side. The reason why I put him over on the other side was to encourage him to mark his territory, maybe persuade the dogs to stay away. He had it under control, I realize that now, and I was not really helping the matter, but It made me feel better getting him to sniff the area and mark over what they had marked. I did put another dog in the pasture with him, Jessie, a rescue. (she may be adopted soon so she will have to be replaced) She has given me a renewed appreciation for a structurally correct dog because she does not have the stamina of Patou. Her front tends to begin to break down after a long days work.
Patou, now that Jessie is there, will leave her with the stock and go and patrol the other side of the fence more often than before. I saw them do a really neat thing. Patou alerted to the feral dogs that were getting a little to close to the far perimeter of the fence on the furthest side. He and Jessie both trotted over rather calmly, and began running(read fast trot) the perimeter. I don't know if dogs "talk" in an actual language like people, but there was obviously some sort of communication between Jessie and Patou. Patou sounded off a few large barks and began moving around the live stock. Jessie watched him and he would occasionally stop by her as if to say " are you watching me? Pay attention." He slowly began to push the live stock away from the fence that the dogs had been hanging around. Of course when the dogs saw Patou and Jessie they took off like lightening so there was NO confrontation. Patou then led Jessie a few times around the livestock which was growing in an ever tighter bunch. (horses, cows AND goats) He then left Jessie in the rear of the group and took up the front. He was not really in the lead but walked beside the front part of the group. Together they led the live stock to the other side of the pasture. Jessie watched the rear and Patou took up the side closest to the fence line. Patou even went back and "collected" a calf Jessie had let lag behind. She is slowly learning his routine and does his every "command". During the early morning Patou "sends" her out to run the fence line without him then together they will re-track what she did. I think, though I guess this might be placing human characteristics on dogs, that he is actually training her and quite frankly it is mind boggling.
I was standing out in the back yard watching Patou re-arrange the
placement of his rubber bear and his rubber green and red balls, when the most horrible of
noises began rolling out of the hill behind the house. It took me a moment to figure out
what that awful noise was. Even the dogs were unsure because they all stopped their rough
housing and stood at attention. It was the ever wonderful sound of a young boy or girl who
has just discovered the desire to become a trombone player in a band. Well, Patou, who has
now found his second talent ( being a music critic) sat down right where he stood and
began to howl, he never bothered to drop the giant rubber ball that filled his mouth. So
around the ball his muffled howl rose, fluttering his cheeks and distorting his usual
melodic voice into a warped Warrrarrrarrrarrrarrr sound and imitating the sour notes of
the trombone all too well.
The sister geese came running to see what was the matter with him, fluttering around him in confusion. The goats began to bleat and the other dogs rushed to the fence to bark at him in the pasture. Patou, however, did not care, and went on in a duet with the unknown trombone.
Patou settled nicely into his small lot. Small by the way that it is only
100x150 feet. Accompanying him are the evil sister geese and Roxanne his goat. I expected
Patou to show some remorse maybe even be a bit depressed, at the idea of being transferred
from 15 acres onto less than half an acre. However once released into his lot he
immediately patrolled the perimeter, marked his territory, settled in the goat and then
scratched up a nice soft spot on the ground and took up post. It was as if he didn't even
noticed that his property had shrunk.
Already he is displaying protectiveness, guarding his small piece of earth like it were a grand and vast valley filled with gold (or maybe T-bones). He runs the fence line each morning and leaps up to investigate any would be predators( read neighborhood dogs and neighbors). A new found evil that he has discovered are chicken hawks. There is a commercial chicken house near by and the chicken hawks seemed to circle it like a buffet table. Patou, when he spots them, will leap up, his head pointed to the sky his bark resonating across the rolling hills. He will follow them around the edge of his plot keeping the geese beneath the trees or under himself. He will be guarding full time again by spring. This January the front yard will be fenced and I will begin purchasing baby geese and goats to keep him company. Nana will begin guarding also, I plan to have him train her.. : )
Speaking of Nana, she has also began to show a high protection drive. Don't confuse this with the GSD type drive, I mean simply fence line protection. She runs the fence endlessly, barking and alerting to every falling leaf and or lady bug. She prances with her head high and her tail curled. Quite often she will stimulate Patou into a patrolling fit, where he must pace his fence line at least five times to make sure she is not really seeing something that he is not. It is those times, when my pyrs are consumed in their own instinct that I really come to appreciate and maybe even understand what the early shepherds saw and were in awe of.
I am still at a loss how this happened.
Patou is gone... I don't know if some one broke the fence down (a wooden section about 4 feet long and concreted in the ground) or if something upset him enough to break it down. This is a dog that refuses to leave a pasture with the gate open. I am scared and I have scoured the land for him but not a soul has seen him. Another reason why I think he has been taken. I can't leave the house for long periods of time because my mom is very ill with the flu....She is really sick and now with the dog gone missing...I am at my whit's end....Please send prayers.
Patou is FOUND!!!!
Safe and sound.
I still don't know what exactly happened but he sure was happy to get back in the fence
with the animals. I was out repairing the fence when I looked up and saw him, way far
away, cross the tiny drive way of a neighbor...At first I thought I was seeing things but
I jumped into the car and headed in he direction just in case. I found him he was heading
home. I am shocked that he would leave his animals but also that he went so far away. He
was very tired when I got to him and seemed happy to see me. He was happier still to see
the animals and kicked up his heels and sniffed and nudged the geese and goat. It must
have just happened when I got home because the geese and goat had not even had time to
walk out of the pasture...
Go figure...I sure am glad that he is home...safe and sound...thank you for all your happy thoughts!!!!
Today Patou really amazed me. He did not do anything truly grand but he showed me just
how caring he really is and how that care can be applied to even the smallest of
I was dumping out some old hay, covering some muddy spots, when I uncovered a nest of Wooly Bears. If you are not from the south, you are probably not familiar with a Wooly Bear, so I will explain what one is to you. They are fat red and black, fuzzy caterpillars. They tend to come out this time of year and curl up where ever they can find shelter or warmth. They are harmless and according to folk legend you can tell what the weather will be according to how much red Vs black there is on them. Any how, it seems that a few of theseWooly Bears made it into the pen with Patou and the geese. Well the geese began having a field day, snatching up the littleWooly Bears and gobbling them to their death. Patou, when he realized that what ever the geese were eating, were alive, intervened. Patou picked up one of the last little Wooly Bears, very carefully, and carried it away from the geese. He went back and took another and placed it near the first. he did this several times until all the surviving Wooly Bears were sitting in the center of the yard and he stood among them, very proud of himself, and very careful not to crush any as he barked a warning. The geese did not try to eat any more...and the Wooly Bears just kept on crawling probably unaware that they had become apart of Patou's flock....
Patou began a barking non-stop about a week ago. I mean he usually patrols at night,
even in his small area, but this was different. He had "beefed" up the patrol,
had the geese on alert, and was chasing over head jets and warning distant buzzards. I
could not figure out what had gotten into him. I was out feeding the Patou, Roxanne, and
the evil sister geese, when Patou began a very annoying "happy" dance. Now Patou
is going on eight and to see this dog leaping into the air and bounding a round like a 9
week old up was not only hysterical but *dangerous*. He about took me out with a few spins
he preformed a bit to close to my knees. Around the the yard he bounded, like he had pogo
stocks for legs. Up and down, twist and bark, dance and roll....He leaped over the goat,
patted her on the back with his paw, ran around her, nuzzled her ear, took off, bounding
and leaping again. This went on for about a week each time I went out to feed him. When I
left he went on instant overdrive protection mode...barking and patrolling non stop. I was
walking along the fence 2 days ago, getting supplies from the wood pile for the kennel run
I am building, when he got very insistent about the goat. Nudging her belly, sniffing her
rear, etc. So I went in to look her over and make sure nothing was wrong. Patou was
absolutely beside himself that I was checking her out and had to watch my every move, tail
wagging the entire time. I reach down to her udder, which felt somewhat swollen. I gave a
test squeeze and too my suprise...there was milk.
Apparently Roxanne is pregnant!!!! or at least that's the way it looks. Well, now we have to figure out who the daddy is...and since Patou is the only male in the pen.... ;) Patou is pleading a neuter defense but seems to be excited about the idea of babies all the same.
(She must have got "got" by a buck before we moved...we hope)
Well Roxanne gave birth to a little boy today...and what a show it was!
Patou has been beside himself all day...and when I finally caught on I realized I had not seen Roxanne and I found her in the dog house with her little one (just dropped). On a sad note, the baby appears to have popping hocks and it looks (if he lives) he will be deformed. I was worried that the baby might become chilled tonight and moved he and mom into the garage, inside a hay filled x-pen. All went fine until Patou realized I was ***taking*** the goat out of *his* pasture. Oh he got so mad at me and body bumped me so hard I about fell. I finally got around him and he got between me and the goat and I leaned into her
preventing me from pulling her with the lead. Finally he just slipped out the gate...and followed me into the garage, very, very upset that I was moving the goat. I put him in a crate next to her, and he settled down, happy to be beside the new momma.
I think if Patou had been forced to stay behind he would have busted out of the fence. He was clearly livid with me at the idea of taking his goat...and his body language showed it. This was the first time I have ever gotten to see him witness a birth...as before all the births happened out of my view. He did not eat the placenta...nor try and lick on the baby goat. Rather he watched it from its first moments from a few feet back. The geese, however, tried to get a bit to close, and Patou "stomped" on them (gently) and drove them back. He was very excited about the new baby and had my mother and I rolling in stitches when he was leaping around the pasture like a young buck... I have decided to name the baby boy Tiny Tim because it seems he will be
crippled. I have some ideas on how to maybe brace his legs...so I will see what I can work up.
I acquired 2 more goats from a home that was not so good. I
was sure that I could provide a better place for them. One was an Angora the other a
pigmy. Now the Angora was not really all that healthy looking. He was actually smaller
than the female pigmy and had a sparse broken coat. On the second day that the goats were
here the female pigmy surprisingly dropped a kid. I had no idea she was pregnant and
neither did she apparently. She simply laid down had the baby in a ten minute time span
and got up and ran away wanting nothing to do with it. The baby was several week premature
and we were unsure if it would make it. I had never seen a baby goat that small, even a
pigmy goat. The little girl is doing well, eating and playing now. It was a rough first
few days but week and a half later all is well. Patou was very proud of himself and
his new goats. He would strut around the lot barking and then returning to his small herd
and looking them over. The new goat made him even more protective and not a single sane
dog has dared cross his line of sight. All his up beat guarding desensitized me I suppose
and I did not really "hear" him when his frantic cries for help began. It was a call for help. I think back to it now and I should
have known the sound he was making was sheer panic. It was not a predator he could fight off it was not the furious wind and rain that he could stand before and guard his beloved herd. He had no idea what was happening and he knew that it was nothing he could fix.
The power had been out for about 2 hours when he began barking. I figured it was the high winds and hard rain that was getting him stirred up but he continued for another hour becoming more and more agitated. I went out to let the dogs out and at the same time I went to check on Patou. he was racing to and fro in the live stock yard slamming his body against the fence and keening in a horrible heart retching voice. I immediately put up all the dogs and went out to retrieve him because I feared he would break down the fencing in his maddened state. He would have nothing of me. He refused to stop running, barking, stomping tearing up the ground in great muddy chunks. he would thrust his body forward like a wild horse arch his neck and
throw back his head and cry out in what I can only describe as grief and fear. I caught him in my flash light turning circles confused as to which way to challenge the unseen predator. His heavy coat was soaked throughout outlining his body harshly along with clods of mud. I could see his eyes, wide, staring, and given the illusion of being sunken with his dark pigment and wet fur. In his moment of motionless he stared back at the darkness where his goats were huddled and I could seem him begin to tremble. It was then he looked at me and the tears in streaming down his face caught my the rays of the flashlight like rare
jewels. I know they were not real tears, but rain that had cut down across his brow and were following the smooth out line around his eyes to slide down his cheeks. And with the risk of sounding crazy I will admit that the tears may not have been real but the words that he spoke with his eyes were. He was afraid and he needed my help.
With one graceful turn he pulled back into the dark and I followed him. He stopped beside the dog house and stood there waiting for me to do something. I swept my light down and there lying with his head tucked to his chest was the angora. I reached down to touch him and he let out a pitiful cry but would not move. I took Patou by the collar and this time he let me lead him out of the lot and put him in a crate. I went back for the goat. I lifted him by the heavy ruff and he cried
out again but did not fight me. He was far to light and his skin pulled from his muscle like old parchment. I got him into the garage and put towels and blankets on him and began trying to get him warm. He went stiff and began to seizure. The horrible sound that erupted from his throat sent every dog howling and barking. Only Patou remained still and watched me silently.
The power came on minutes later, a prayer surely answered. I rushed the goat into the bath room and drew up a tub of warm water and submersed him into it and in an attempt to get him warm. His gums were pale his eyes dilated, shock had set in and he was dying. Seizures began again, one after the other and I could not seem to bring up his temperature. His breathing which had been shallow deepened and I moved him into the living room with a heater and heat lamp trying to bring up his
temperature. His body revealed signs of jaundice and the dehydration of his skin and symptoms of some sort of toxic shock reminded me of the many cats that I have lost to kidney failure. Under the heat lamp I could see that he was covered in sucking lice which I am sure probably help quicken his fate. Despite hours of moving his limbs and rubbing his body, positioning heat lamp, putting fluids under his skin, he died.
I took the body back out to the garage with then intentions of setting him to rest as soon as the weather broke. When Patou saw his lifeless form his tremors ceased and his tension seemed to melt from his body. With a soft moan he turned in his crate and laid down with his face turned away and into the corner.
I don't really think the goats dying was my fault...but I have to admit part of me feels that if I had only listened to Patou I might have had more time and the goat might have had a better chance. I suppose this time it was not a working dog failure rather human error.
The other day at the show grounds Joe stopped and asked me how Patou was doing since
the move. I told him fine and then he went on to ask me about the goats that he had left
behind. Well I searched my memory and I told him that I thought they were having some
problems since he left...I remembered Pattie telling me something to the fact a few weeks
ago when I saw her at the store...she mentioned missing Patou a lot and had even hinted
that she wished I would bring him back
and leave him with them because the wild dogs were causing some problems....
Well out of curiosity I went by the old "homestead" today and to my utter shock there were no goats left.
Patou has 10 new additions to his bird collection...Pink, blue, green, and orange
chickens....and no I am NOT
Seems that the local farm store ordered too many "Easter" chicks and had to unload a few...I bought ten for 50 cents each...
I have not quite released them yet, because they are still small and fair game for the cats....but Patou does have one chicken all ready, named Freeway, cause that's where I found him.. :)....holding up traffic on Highway 60.
The chicken recuperated, thanks to Patou's loving care...and now follows the dog ever where...
The evil sister geese are insanely jealous and pick on him (Freeway) all the time...
Well its been a while since I have had a Patou story worth writing about...so here it goes.
I got the bright idea today, that the colored "Easter" chickens would be happier out side. So I fashioned them a pen, equipped with water bowls and a little house. Because the birds are still fairly small, I put some grass woven curtains around the bottom edge. Everything was all set. Once or twice a chicken would get out, I would retrieve it, after chasing it around and around the pen mind you, and put it back in. After a few adjustments, some wire, a mat, and some bending of the pen,
the chickens were secure.
Patou on the other hand...had his own ideas about how to keep chickens. I went
inside to have something to drink, I had been hacking away at black berry bushes and
trying to get the goats to help.... I sat down, closed my eyes and listened to the
hubbub of the TV, some show about two women, I wasn't paying attention to it, just
listening to the voices and back ground noise of the show...it suddenly occurred to me
that not many birds were an important part of a hotel scene and that's when my brain
registered that the chirping was not just the cry of any type of bird but baby chickens...
I went to the sliding glass door and nearly dropped my drink. My baby chickens were
racing all over the yard. Patou was desperately trying to keep them in his fence...
The pen I had made for them was torn in several pieces...the chickens had been liberated.... So out the door I rushed...chasing blue, pink, green, orange chickens from one end of the yard to the next...They flew into the fencing, into the junk pile, they were in the bushes, the swimming pool, food bowls...I felt like I was apart of some sort of bad joke... As soon as I
would catch one another would escape...Patou tried his best to keep them in his fence but they refused to stay...The geese were snatching them up and tossing them in the air...freeway (the big chicken) chased them so badly I finally had to give him a swift kick to keep him from pecking them to death...Patou simply looked at me as if were my fault the stupid things would not behave.
I went back inside and grabbed a laundry basket and began pinning the birds down one by one and finally recaught them all and put them under the basket. They now sit out side the fence where Patou cannot reach them....just incase he has the itching for a second revolution...
Well I have finally seen it all. Road Pizza, High way, Road kill, speed bump,
what ever that dang
chicken's name is, has fallen in love with Patou.
Its a pathetic sight. He cuddling his nuzzling....Poor Patou, I don't even think
what is happening.
I had some visitors over to look at a possible pyr adoptee. While they were there a chicken hawk began circling over head. The geese began squawking and Patou leaped to his feet. Poor chicken was tossed aside, he had been sleeping on Patou. I could not help but laugh. The people that were there nearly passed out in fear. Patou shot across the yard, in what seemed like only a few steps, chasing the bird out of his territory. Big thundering barks rolled from his lungs...The bird veered off looking for easier prey. Patou did his little victory dance, (scratching the dirt and snorting)...then went back to lay in the hole he had dug in the yard (with the chicken of course).
In the evening I used to take Patou out of his pen to let Sabastien run in his place. Then I would go in, occasionally, to either take food in and out, water buckets, etc. I would almost always keep my eye on him (Sabastien), but things would require me to run into the house for a quick second. Well last night my worst nightmare would have come true. I was talking on the phone, when I hear Patou Barking. It was not a frantic bark, just a "keep out" bark, that he would normally sound off to the neighbors or the neighborhood dogs. I went ahead and decided to let the dogs out to go to the bathroom and followed them through the kennel room to open the door. When I did, what I saw, absolutely sent my heart on overdrive. A young boy had moved my trash can up against my fence, and was climbing over it, into the pen, where Sabastien, more than likely would have been. Instead Patou was there, the very essence of Pyr-dome. He had moved his live stock back behind him, and was standing between it and the boy (who had one leg over my fence) and was simply barking at him. If it had been Sabastien, that leg would have been hamburger.
I promptly asked the boy what the h*ll he was doing and he smartly replied he was getting his ball. A ball, that he would have had to throw ON PURPOSE over my fence...lets face it, the kid lived no where near me. I tell him to get away from the fence and I went into to get his ball. All I could think of was "what if"...what if...
Patou held his ground but no longer barked. He stayed between the boy and me but left a clear path to where the ball was laying. I do believe if I hadn't come out he would have let that kid have his ball. I got the ball and to the kid's disappointment, I did not throw it over to him. Instead I went out of the lot and toward the kennel gate. During this time the kid started to invite him self into the kennel area...Patou, with the Goldens mimicking him, charged the fence scaring the pants off him and he stumbled back leaving the gate closed. It would seem that this kid, about 9-12 would have more common sense. I went to the main gate with his ball and walked him home and promptly told his father what a lucky and very foolish kid he had. What amazes me most is the shear idiocy of this man and his kid...talking to them was like trying to talk to a old rotten log...
I went home and Patou finally came "off guard" and went to lay down in the middle of the field. Privately I thanked him for being the dog that he is.
One of the Pigmy goats began the day with great agitation. Patou paced the perimeter of the small lot, quietly, but watching the world intently. The goat was in labor and he knew it. He had been sticking close to her for several days. I nearly forgot about the possibility of babies until this afternoon, in the hottest part of the day, Patou began barking. I went out to see why on earth he would leave the security of his shade trees, to find the mother had dropped her young ones. While I often regret having to confine him to such a small area, the benefits of such confinement were revealed today. I could get pictures easily and the goat had no where to hide. I ran in and got my camera, came out to find Patou licking and cleaning the young ones. The mother had a few more contractions but neither afterbirth or new babies appeared. While Patou knows me well, he still watched me carefully and often moved between me and the little ones. Several times, Freeway, the Rooster, tried pecking the babies and Patou would intervene. While hot and thirsty, he only looked away a few moments to grab a quick drink.
When the babies began to stand, he would follow them close behind. He let them try and nurse off him without hesitation. When the mother took interest in one, leaving the other he would pull it up close to him with a gentle nudge, and begin cleaning it also. When both babies were standing, he went to the center of the lot and began barking his biggest meanest bark, then slowly circled mom and her young ones, pushing the other curious animals, even his beloved geese, back. After he seemed
satisfied I went in to get mother and young. He wasn't too happy with me and tried several times to push me away. Finally he let me pass and watched as I carried the babies out and led the mother into a kennel run where they would be safe from the chicken and other goats.
Patou is quite the proud "father" today....
Milk bones any one????
It has really been wonderful to be able to write about Patou again. Him being back at work has made both of us very happy. Every day there is something new with him. I find myself constantly laughing. However, the other night I was viscously reminded that there is not only beauty in watching him work, but a horrible danger as well.
The sound brought people to their door steps in the dead of
night. Those who were asleep, woke up. Lights came on across our small road and
over on the hill beside us. The terrible commotion brought me to my window in the midst of
a phone call and I had to hang up and listen.
The sound of dogs baying, growling, snarling, barking, and teeth flashing echoed in the blackness like some sort of demonic storm. I could not see anything, no one could, but we all listened to the furious screams and roars of battle. I wanted to do something but I couldn't I was honestly to scared to even try and get out there and see what was happening.
Part of me knew.
The nights before the neighbors dog, a large brown Chesapeake bay retriever had started running the goats from the outside of the fence. Patou of course would race down the hill and intervene but it was obvious that it was only a matter of time before there was a confrontation. And a few days ago, that night came to be. I could hear them so clearly. All the animals were silent,
probably frozen with fear. Once a car came around the corner illuminating the pasture for a split second. The shadows cast were too long, all I could see was two dark dancing figures. I am sure the fight only lasted for a few moments...but those were some of the longest moments I have ever lived. The fence rattled with the impact of bodies, I could hear the grass hush and bristle as the goats suddenly darted one way to avoid the frenzy.
Then suddenly it was over.
I could hear the muffled comments of the neighbors across the road but they were not really to concerned about their own dog. In a few minutes they retreated back inside and the lights went out. I watched Patou as he came up the fence line closest too the house. I went out side to meet him and check him over but by the time I got there he had already merged back into the darkness. He refused to come when I called so I simply waited until morning.
Upon examination he was not hurt. A few large clumps of hair and scarred earth marked the battle field but there was no sign of the other dog. He probably went off to nurse his war wounds...maybe next time he will heed the Pyrenees warning.
(The above account resulted in the following comment from a email list participant)
"I'd die a thousand deaths listening to something like that knowing one of them was my dog."
Adrienne's response follows:
"There were times that I have run to "aid" Patou when I heard him barking or charging something in the night. The only thing I accomplished in doing this was upsetting him. He doesn't like me in his pasture when he is on guard...it apparently is enough for him to watch his animals and he doesn't want to have to worry about some stupid stumbling human who might fall in a hole and break an ankle. Patou loves what he does and he wants nothing more then to be with his animals....no matter how dangerous this may seem, I cannot take that away from him.".
Joseph B. Gentzel.
Copyright © 1996 by Pyrenean Journal. All rights reserved.
Revised: 30 August 1997 16:12:23 -0500.
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