All my misgivings about starting another dog faded when I laid eyes on this one.
She travelled home well, sitting in the centre of the back seat of the truck resting her front on the centre console. Eventually she laid in the back and slept. She never made a peep the whole way.
When we got home I took her straight away to the orphan lambs. When I placed her on the ground she gave a little tail wag at the sight and sound of the lambs running to greet us. She moved right into them, head up, sniffing and licking, even a soft nip or two. She was at ease with this, she knew what these wooly babies were and it was obvious she had been with sheep before.
For the next half hour she explored where she was; moving into the building, finding the water pail, back outside, having a little chase through the lambs. She tried out the milk pail, then investigated the place all over again, coming over to check me out a time or two as she did so. Although her parents were described as being semi-wild, she has been handled, and took very little time to become comfortable and relaxed with me.
She has a lovely attitude and feels very stable minded. She’s very confident around the lambs so I’m curious to know how she will respond to adult sheep. My thought was to keep her with the orphan lambs for some time, but I don’t think this pup will be able to stay with lambs too long without a lot of supervision. She’s already pretty boisterous with them and I’ve interrupted her a time or two for chewing on lambs. I think right now this is just her being a puppy who is now without a littermate and so the lambs are a substitute. In the past I have raised two pups at a time and this is one of the reasons I like doing so. This is my first singleton pup in a while. What I’ll watch for is a subtle change in her demeanour, when the puppy attitude begins to shift into something else. Meanwhile I’m kindly and fairly interrupting the chase and chew antics.
With BJ’s help, I’ve already sorted a handful of adult sheep and set them in the barn paddock. They don’t hang out with her and the bottle lambs yet but soon I’ll start penning them together at night. When the time comes I’ll remove the orphan lambs and let her stay with just the adults. Right now I just want her to feel comfortable and settled with where she is.
When I come and go from the paddock, she takes notice, but then resumes activities elsewhere or follows the lambs somewhere. Perfect. In this situation the dogs work away from me and the yard year round, so it will be a much smoother transition to pasture work if we get this part right. If I don’t over coddle her and cause her to seek my attention over the sheep it will be smooth sailing.
In the evening on her first night here Zeus made his rounds to check the orphan lambs as I suspected he was doing. I am checking on the pup frequently so was in the paddock when he came by. His eyes popped when he realized one of the small woolies was not like the other. I let him in the gate to meet Wren. She trotted over with puppy innocence and greeted him like there was no way he could be anything but pleasant to her. Which he was.
Just before nightfall I put the lambs and the pup in the building and closed the front swing gate. The overhead door is open so the pup can watch what's going on out front but can’t leave the building. Zeus set himself on the hill beside the building. I bet he stayed there awhile and made a few more rounds throughout the night to check on her.