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Dogs at Mystical ventures

large-file-464-300px   We have four dogs at MV, three indoor dogs, and one outdoor guardian door for the goats. Hunter, our Welsh terrier, Joey, our English setter and Watson, our beagle, are the “softies” who like the wood stove or the air conditioner as the case might be, their warm beds and their cushy pillows. They are our pets and as the children emptied the house, it seemed we filled some of those empty spaces with more dogs and animals. They are also our companions and often sit at our feet during quiet moments or follow us around the house. We’ve always had dogs, almost our whole married life, even before the children, but not quite so many at once, though years ago we did have a couple litters of Scotties for a while. Hunter was actually one of our daughter’s dogs, but when she couldn’t keep him in one apartment, we sort of inherited him. Even though he is the smallest of the crew, Hunter is definitely the “alpha” dog who thinks he is in charge…..should have named him “little Caesar”. It’s funny to watch how they set up their little canine society within our own. I wonder if Jesus ever had a dog? I think he would have enjoyed one.
   Sophie is the newest arrival, but she is an outdoor dog, a Great White Pyrenees, a breed that is specifically bred to be guardian dogs. While she is still a puppy at nine months now, she is already a big size. She was raised with her parents and her siblings and cousins on another goat farm, where the breeder raises together goats and Great White Pyrenees. She rarely goes inside a building or on a leash, except an occasional trip to a vet if our goat vet cannot handle her needs (surgery, for example, like spaying). She is a sweet dog in disposition and goes down immediately if she is disciplined. Guardian dogs are different than herding dogs. They are not meant to chase the dogs or round them up, but rather to guard the perimeter of the goat pastures (three of them at this point). They are also somewhat nocturnal and walk the perimeter a good deal of the night, barking if they hear anything suspicious. Sophie has a very low, BIG-sounding bark, and in the dark, just about anything would be afraid of her.  That’s good. Goats cannot really defend themselves, especially if they have been dehorned as most dairy goats are. We do have occasional coyotes or sometimes even packs of them in the area, and an occasional woodchuck or skunk, which probably wouldn’t take on a goat unless cornered, but both could do some damage. We are still training Sophie to do her job though, especially with the new goat kids, who love to run and jump and play. We are constantly telling her, “no chase, Sophie”, “no bite, Sophie!” She is still a puppy herself and loves to run and play, too, but sometimes forgets the kids are not other puppies. She also can’t seem to figure out why goats think eating grass and hay is such a treat. She’s tried it and just doesn’t quite see the appeal.
 IMG 1236-300px  Dogs, too, need specific care, and it will vary whether they are indoor or outdoor dogs. They all need their “Frontline” or “Advantage” (fleas and tick deterrents) and “Heartgard” (preventative for heart worm that is passed along by mosquitoes in our area), and they all need to be feed, usually twice a day, but outdoor dogs still need shelter during inclement weather. Sophie does sleep with the goats for now, but in the winter, we close the goats in at night, and Sophie is going to want to roam at night, so we did get her a dog house next to the shed. Indoor dogs need exercise and if they cannot run free, they need a safe yard or run where they can get some exercise as well. Our indoor dogs have a run of their own and in the winter months when they sometimes cannot get to the run, they have the whole yard to get their exercise. The indoor dogs have met Sophie and vice-versa, but we don’t want them getting too familiar. They have very different rules. Someone once said that in the American culture, we have had such love affairs with our cars, that our cars have become an extension of who we are. I think in the animal kingdom of pets, dogs and sometimes even cats and goats and chickens have become extensions of who we are. We are attracted to certain animals and repelled by others. It seems that God has created us with those connections. We are tied to all living things. Praise God!

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In the Farm Animals Corner, every month, there may be some dog news, and there will be opportunity for some chatting if someone wishes to ask questions or simply share their love of dogs.

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