When we headed out to the main flock this morning the first thing we did was scan for Lily. Allen spied her before I did, and when he shouted over the tractor to announce she was back, relief surged and all was suddenly right in my world once more. When Lily approached I knelt down, gave her a hug, and sat with her for a moment, feeling utterly lucky and absolutely grateful she was here again.
If Lily was home chances were good Diesel was also back with his group of wethers and cull ewes. We checked there right after chores with the main flock were complete and he was there.
We are on 1600 acres of land, which you think would be big enough to keep a dog content but coyotes, and temptations we cannot compete with, draw them out. Staying in one area and watching sheep eat hay is obviously not enough right now.
I toyed with the idea of pulling Lily off duty and putting her up in a kennel, and see if Diesel would stay if Lily didn’t invite him along, and next, have the two take turns staying in the kennel. What we opted to do instead was place a drag object on both of them. We dislike the drag objects very much, but have a responsibility to try to keep dogs home. I’m certain that if I poured through the archives of my journals and blog posts I would discover mention of putting drag objects on some guardian dog or another at this time every year.
The drag barely slowed Lily down. This evening I followed her tracks all the way across a quarter section of land before returning and finding her with Diesel. Nonetheless, both dogs are home and I will rest well tonight.