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Home on the Range

"Job Security" 
Oct. 29, 2012 9:38 pm 
Updated: Nov. 5, 2012 6:55 pm

I went to work with Cletus this morning. He's one of my Livestock Guardian "Security" Dogs  (LGD). He prefers to carry no badge, no weapons other than his skills. We followed the sheep out to the Milk Pasture where EmmaLou was grazing. One end of it, we have fenced off for Mister and the rest of it is open. The sheep can walk under the horse fence if they want, but I prefer they go the other way and save the grass inside for the horses to eat.

Bruno didn’t seem to feel well and stayed behind. He was acting kinda funny yesterday too, but its hard to tell if anything is really wrong with him or not. We let him stay where he was happy and went on without him. You can't really argue with an LGD. They are pretty solid minded. I knew he had a good reason to stay, because that's just how he rolls. Who am I to argue? There was one ewe and Annie, who stayed behind so maybe he didn't want them there alone. Anyway, off we went.

It was fun to watch Cletus do his thing.  He led them first, then let them pass him up and he followed until they found a happy place. They started to go in with the horses again but Cletus headed them off and led them down the other direction instead, closer to where Em was. Once they sort of settled on a general location, Cletus checked out the area. He was gone out of my  sight for about 20 minutes. I had watched him go through a fence to the east but didn’t see him again. I thought maybe he’d left and forgotten about us, so I called and he came up from behind me, from the southwest. He had circled all the way around us, checking his self set perimeter and unbeknownst to me was watching us the whole time. I petted him for a couple of minutes then he decided he'd had enough and walked away very businesslike. He headed off a ways and set himself in a good spot to observe everything from. He had the milk cow, the sheep, the weaner calves in the next pasture and myself in his sight. The 300 weaner calves belong to the boss, but Cletapotamus is especially fond of calves so he checks on them everyday.

As the sheep moved around Cletus would often repostion. He finally walked past me as if he was headed back to the corrals. The sheep remained in the tall weeds, not paying attention. I was little dismayed that he was going to walk off and just leave them. He got to the big tree near the alley and sure enough, you could see them over the top of the thistle from there.

He sat down above them and sniffed the air for any danger that might be lurking nearby.

 He seemed pretty satisfied nothing was out of place

His workplace is  large and airy. The design scheme is top notch.

He has have a nice 'window viewand if you look very closely, you will see the little band of sheep waaaay out there. I was surprised we could see them better from his chosen vantage point than we could up close.

After awhile he got thirsty and headed for water. On his way, a crow flew by. He jumped in the air twice trying to capture it. The Maremmas don't like the crows to land in the fruit trees in their pasture for some reason. They will also go after owls, hawks and other raptors, but don't ever bother the migratory geese, swans, cranes or other birds that pass through. I find that interesting, how they discern a harmless bird from a potential predator. There is much about these dogs I don't understand, they are so highly intelligent and deliberate. 

I headed back to the house, finding Bruno still laid out in the feed trough, so I brought him with me to monitor him and make sure it's nothing serious. So far, all he does is sleep. He woke up after awhile and dragged his little 100 lb body onto the couch and slept with his head in my lap. I put out a 'distress signal' to the LGD boards to see if anyone had any ideas what might be wrong with him. There were several well thought out responses, so I will monitor him to see if one of them might be the cause of his behavior.

A while later I saw Cletus looking thru the front window. Exasperated that he'd left my sheep out in the far pasture unguarded, I went around the house to open the gate. He happily trotted in, checked out Bruno who had actually preceded me out the door. I think Cletus was concerned about Bruno missing. Assured, Cletus headed to gate of the little dog proof pasture where...

He had led the sheep! Oh me of little faith.

Poor Bru. I hope he feels better tomorrow or we'll be heading to town...but he's worth it.
Oct. 30, 2012 8:49 am
Yep, definitely worth it. Hope he's better soon!
Oct. 30, 2012 9:21 am
What wonderful dogs they are!! One day, I would like to have a Caucasian Ovcharka... they are LGDs too!
Oct. 30, 2012 9:48 am
Petey: Of course Cletus wouldn't leave the sheep unprotected. What were you thinking? ;) Hope Bruno is feeling better soon.
Oct. 30, 2012 11:09 am
thanks Heidi, he actually seems almost his old self this morning. Merlion-It surprised me how many breeds of LGD exist. All the years I have owned dogs I knew nothing about this genre of dog. I would have bought sheep before, just to have one LOL
Oct. 30, 2012 11:10 am
bikerfamily-I always wind up looking foolish when I question these guys. They are so amazing!
Oct. 30, 2012 11:20 am
So good to click on here and see your posts again.
Oct. 30, 2012 11:25 am
Sure glad your back,look forward to reading your blogs,very interesting,Hope Bruno is feeling better soon.Love those dogs.
Oct. 30, 2012 11:25 am
I hope Bruno is feeling better and back in action soon. It must be worrisome to both you and Cletus.
Oct. 30, 2012 12:59 pm
Sending tons of love to Bruno!! I'm glad to see your comment that he seems to be feeling better today. Sounds like he'll be back to sharing the livestock guardian duties with Cletus any time now :)
Oct. 30, 2012 1:09 pm
Looks like a little bit of heaven where you are!! I live in Southwestern Ontario, Canada..do you mind me asking what state this is?,,keep well.
Oct. 30, 2012 1:11 pm
Just noticed your profile, I'm new to this!!
Oct. 30, 2012 1:30 pm
Another day in the life at the ranch with the critters! Glad to see you blogging!
Oct. 30, 2012 3:32 pm
Welcome Karyn, i'm sure you will enjoys petey's blogs as much as all of us here do.
Oct. 30, 2012 3:51 pm
petey, Cletus and Bruno are astounding animals. I say this almost every time, but it's always true: I am in awe of them. How blessed you are to have those loyal creatures in your life. I send my sincere wishes for Bruno's quick return to normal.
Oct. 30, 2012 5:41 pm
I love the picture of Cletus with his nose sniffing the air. My Border Collies do this while looking out my back door over my property. They make sure no rabbits or other critters eat our crops. They truly are a wonder. Cant imagine life without my furry workers.
Oct. 30, 2012 6:27 pm
Hi Karyn, we are in SE Oregon, which is pretty much just cow country. Love it here! Thanks all, its good to be back. It's due to the generosity of Linda(LMT) that I am able to post here again :)
Oct. 31, 2012 8:08 am
Poor Bruno! Please keep us posted. What did some of the commenters think it might be? Now I'm worried, but glad you mentioned he seems better. These dogs are so freakin' amazing! I'm so glad you've introduced us to them.
Oct. 31, 2012 9:18 am
He is fine now. Comments from LGD board all agreed, if he WAS fevered, could be tick borne disease needing a vet. They also agreed, it could be psychological, caused by the goats being sold and him grieving. Turns out, that, combined with my confining the dogs with the sheep and not having let them visit me for a few days was the problem. Strange but loyal dogs!
Oct. 31, 2012 3:41 pm
I just love those dogs! Glad he is better! Give them hugs for me! :)
J. Dub 
Nov. 1, 2012 9:06 am
I love those dogs and I've never even met them or you! Good reading, Petey. Love your blogs.
Nov. 2, 2012 11:18 am
thank you :)
Nov. 3, 2012 1:39 pm
Loved reading this. I believe this is my first blog entry that I've read by you but I look forward to reading many, many more. Glad to hear Bruno is doing better and wtg Cletus on many jobs well done.
Nov. 3, 2012 4:32 pm
Thanks Faith N :)
Nov. 4, 2012 12:33 pm
It is nice to see you back, Petey. A couple of people whose names I didn't recognize on the Buzz and who I don't think leave comments on your blog came on the Buzz and asked where you had gone. You have fans you don't even know about!
Nov. 5, 2012 12:40 pm
wow! God bless 'em!
Nov. 5, 2012 4:36 pm
As always - great blog. . . still waiting for the book!! hint-hint - - but i'll be patient.
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Kids are raised, we are ranchhands on a 250,000 acre working cattle ranch 110 miles from the nearest small town, so we raise a lot of our own food, vegetables, fruits, milk,eggs and meat. Love riding and working cattle, but find myself spending a lot more time in the kitchen, and the garden. forpeteysake.blogspot.com http://throughthedarkestvalleys.blogspot.com/
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A layered Jello dessert...the middle layer never set, so it did the 'ooze-wiggle'...and...well..I liquified a couple of chickens on 2 different occasions, turning them into a black gel. Moral of that story is, don't start cooking then go clean barns!...and there was the time that my kids were helping me make Thanksgiving dinner and SOMEbody (who resembled my youngest son) forgot to put the sugar in the pie!!!
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