Guardian Dogs Gone Missing

Our little slice of the world prepared for winter season not a moment too soon. It snowed overnight, for the entire morning and the next day too. Our Fall landscape is now a snow white one.

The first major snowfall always causes me to feel like cozying up indoors but alas, there are animals to look after and that happens outdoors.

Yesterday AM as I headed out to feed guard dogs the wind was blowing and it was snowing. The ewes were not up yet, they were still bedded down in a shallow valley, backs to the wind. Four dogs emerged from their midst and I fed them breakfast. A second group of sheep were tucked around a bend, in the shelter of trees. I expected to find the other two guard dogs with them but they did not appear. On occasion Whiskey or Diesel will be away from the flock, but rarely both of them at the same time. Even so, I didn’t worry overmuch. They’d miss breakfast but they’d get fed at supper. Before leaving the pasture I did a sweep of it, wondering if they were sitting with a carcass. I found nothing.

The two weren’t around at supper either. Perplexed Allen and I did another sweep of the pasture. A coyote was moving off to the North, were they out that way? It was close to dark so we couldn’t search for long. As we left we saw Glory sprinting to the North West. We thought we heard barking, and the voice of more than one dog. Alright then, they were off after predators. We’d see them in the morning.

When they were still absent this morning I began to worry. Never have both been gone from the flock for three meals, not even for two. We took care of chores and Allen headed out on horseback to search. He went North and then West along a perimeter fence line. As he approached a large slough the horse alerted and tried to stop. Allen heard a yip. Sure enough, Whiskey and Diesel were bedded down in the tall slough grass. Allen said they looked confused and were initially afraid to approach or come out. But once reacquainted they gladly followed Allen and the horse and upon nearing the paddock where the flock is, they acted eager to get back in to rejoin.

They are in good condition; Diesel has a small penny sized wound on his face but nothing else. It is hard to imagine they got lost, living and traveling this area as they do. Did they become unwilling to return in the wind and snow? Did they encounter a predator they couldn’t handle? Have a fight of their own? Follow the scent of a female? Did the cows run them off? Did they get shot at?

It’s all a bit perplexing and maybe we’ll receive a clue about their adventure in the days to come. But for now I’m sure glad they’re back and I think they are too.

Comments

  1. Sometimes coyotes will lure dogs off so that they can pack up and kill them. Perhaps your boys were following a coyote, who realized he/she had gotten more than they bargained for, and by then the boys were lost. Good thing you found them!!

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  2. I have heard of coyotes doing that, although have never witnessed it. Odd thing was the dogs were only about half a mile from the flock and the yard too. That's not far at all in terms of how dogs travel. But they were upset enough not to make their way back.

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  3. Interesting. I'm glad they are back but I am curious about their adventure.

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