August 25, 2014

One Hour Dog Owner

I was planning to introduce you to this handsome boy today.


Ever since coyotes returned to our area, Dan and I have discussed getting another Livestock Guardian. I've checked craigslist from time to time for such a dog, made a few inquiries on occasion, and finally found this fellow - a 2 & 1/2 year old working Great Pyrenees needing to be rehomed. He worked with cattle, pigs, chickens, formerly goats, didn't mind cats, was known to go after coyotes, and was excellent with human children as well. He sounded absolutely perfect for us. They told me he needed good fences, because if he thought something was threatening his territory he'd jump the fence to go after it.

Saturday afternoon, I drove 45 minutes to go buy him. What a sweetheart! I fell in love immediately. I brought him home, gave him a drink of water, and left him in my goat showing pen next to the goats to get acquainted. I went inside to change clothes before taking him around to see the property and meet all our critters.

The goats all ran away but Waldo was interested.

When I got back outside he was gone. I couldn't believe it! I frantically started looking around and finally saw him down in the woods at the back of the buck browse. He'd easily cleared two fences to get there. He did not respond to my calls; why should he? He didn't know me, I was the lady who took him away from his home. I tried to follow but lost track of him.

I jumped in my car and drove the back roads looking for him. I didn't see him. I came home and called the city police, county sheriff's office, and talked to animal control to give a description and my number in case someone found him. I also emailed his former owner to give her a heads up because I have no doubt he's going to head for home.

I can't even explain how I feel about the whole thing: worried, foolish, uncertain, like beating my head against a wall. Is there a name for all of that? I'm hoping he'll show up at his former owner, but then what? Could be really be taught to stay here? Would we have to surround the entire property with electric fence? Should I try to give him back and see if they'll return my money? Maybe I should just wait and see what happens. One thing I can say is that we certainly don't seem to be doing very well when it comes to dogs.

24 comments:

  1. Ah, sorry to hear that Leigh.

    Is there no way you could get / consider taking on a young dog (puppy) who will be up to the task?

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  2. That's hard to have that happen. He can learn to settle down at your place but you might have to either pen him securely or keep him tied til he does.

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  3. We had one too once and fences were no barrier for him. He could jump 6ft+ with 15ft of chain trailing behind him. He used to break out in the middle of the night, patrolling the neighbourhood and swimming in everyone's pools when he got hot (so basically he was jumping several fences in his patrol) He eventually got a zap from an electric set up and learnt and then got older and lost motivation also. He was a great dog and very powerful. I reckon you're right, he'll head for home. Maybe he could come for visits to your place gradually getting longer and longer till he just eventually stays and understands it's his home and he switches duty. They are incredibly job focused.

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  4. Dani, I wouldn't rule it out. Our first Pyr was a pup but had been raised as a pet. Everything was a toy including the chickens.

    The pups best for the job come from working parents who live on a farm. Of course then they have to be trained, but that not all guardian breed dogs end up being good guardians. Some of them have a better instinct for it than others. Plus it takes about 2 years or so before they can settle down enough to do the job. All this is why a dog needing rehoming seemed ideal.

    Harry, that's about it. Former owners recommended electric fence, however there are some spots I wouldn't put that, like along the property line next to the rental house. Too often folks with children move in. And that's assuming we get him back!

    Tanya, whew, that's some dog. I heard from the former owners who were glad for the heads up and, of course, will be watching for him. They got rid of him because of allergies, so I don't know if visits would work for them. Assuming he finds his way back to them.

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  5. I am so sorry for you. That is one of the most frustrating things--looking for a dog and not knowing where he could be.

    Good luck!

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  6. I'm so sorry... what a disappointing experience. I hope he shows up soon, and you find a way to make the situation work.

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  7. Barb and Maura, thank you both. At this point all we can do is wait and see what happens.

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  8. Determined little guy. I hope he's found soon.
    I noticed that you were worried about the electric fence near the rental property with children. I would just hang a sign on the fence visible to the neighbors and let the parents deal with teaching their children to not touch. One good zap should keep the kids out er off. ;)

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  9. Awww, that sounds stressful! I hope you get him back safe and sound.

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  10. Oh, darn, Leigh. My heart goes out to you upon reading this. I can just imagine the churning going on in your stomach and head. No, you certainly have NOT had good luck with dogs! And you have such a wonderful forever home to offer the right dog. Saying a little prayer that he ends up back in your yard or is quickly corraled nearby. So sorry you've had to go through this.

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  11. Leigh, I'm so sorry. I do home he turns up soon at his former home, and you can work out a way to get him settled at your place.

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  12. argh, I hope he'll be found safe! it might be difficult to teach him that yours is his new home - easier with a puppy. I know how it feels when your dog is gone and you can't find him anywhere - we had that problem with Dobby,when she was younger. they do settle down a bit - but I'd say with 2 1/2 you'll have another 2-3 years to wait for that to happen.... and electric fences shock dogs a few times - but if they're really determined they'll cope, because they learn that the shock is off as soon as they clear that fence! we have neighbours, who use those darned collar systems that shock a dog as soon as they cross a certain cable. not only do I consider them cruel (many of them leave that thing on 24/7:() - if it's a determined dog the system soon turns useless because they learn to tolerate the shock to get what (or where) they want! or they turn a normal dog into a raving loon:( it takes a lot of patience to train a dog well, esp. with so many distractions (aka other animals) close by. let us know what happens, please!

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  13. Aw what a beautiful dog..hoping he will show up at his old home. Maybe small trips to your home will win him over in time. Hoping for a good report.

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  14. I wish he'll be found, im so angry at the sellers because (we had german shepards) every heavyduty-dog owner knows that he'll think he has to go back home.. it's like his DNA.

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  15. Renee, they just don't understand, do they?

    With the electric fence I wouldn't trust the parents to not sue us if they're kids did something stupid. I've watched too much Judge Judy and know the homeowner is always responsible not matter who's really at fault!

    Meredith, it is!

    Mama Pea, thanks so much. So far there's been no word.

    Mark, I got an email from the former owner acknowledging the one I sent, but I've heard no other word.

    Bettina, it would definitely be easier with a puppy as far as "home". Other things would be harder. We once had a neighbor who kept a German Shepherd in their yard with one of those buried invisible fences. Sometimes the dog would forget and then just stand there in the current!

    Teresa, I can only wait and see what happens. :(

    Me Telioses, you know, the dog should of at least had his rabies tags but the previous owners had no tags on him. So even if someone else finds him they'll have no way to contact anybody. :(

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  16. What an unexpected and unhappy turn of events. I really hope he gets found. Please keep in contact with the local pound, and any surrounding district pounds.

    Even if you've left messages, they don't always contact you back when a dog matching your description turns up. Too busy maybe or just human error, so call once a day at least for the first week.

    Fingers crossed for you.

    If he does come back, keep a blanket with his scent on it nearby. Something familiar may just draw him home. If you have anything of his which came from the former owners - leave it outside. He may just find his way back.

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  17. I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. Years ago we moved to a new community, and I mistakenly let my collie off her leash when walking down a country road. When a very loud plane flew overhead, she immediately disappeared into a tall cornfield. I contacted every agency I could think of including a local radio call-in program. People were wonderful to call at any sign of a female collie. Finally, a week later she was found five miles from our new home. So, there is still hope that he'll be found.

    If you decide to keep him, you might consider using wireless and/or underground fencing to help train him. There are do-it-yourself systems that are reasonably priced and would pose no threat to children. The only problem is that the collars aren't meant to be worn continuously.

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  18. What a bummer..I hope he shows up somewhere!!!!

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  19. Oh Leigh! I'm so sorry! That has to be so frustrating and a bit sad since you're worried about him. I hope he's found soon! A working dog sounds like a good idea. Hope things resolve soon.

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  20. Chris, good idea. Still no word. :(

    Rebecca, so glad things turned out well with your collie. Yes, a wireless system would likely be a good start, although reading some of the other comments, it may not stop a determined dog. Unless he's found it's all just ideas.

    Holly and Sarah, thanks. Still waiting and hoping.

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  21. Wow Great Pyrenees must be jumpers and runners! Several years ago we had two that showed up at our house - (and might I add that they would not leave) - we called the number on their tags and got a vets office in Virginia Beach (approximately 6 hours from us) they looked up the numbers that were on the dog's tags and contacted the owners who in turn called us - long story short - we kept them until the owner could come and collect them the following weekend at which time the owner informed us that they had jumped a six foot fence and escaped. Best of luck on finding him - and if you are anywhere near Wilkes County NC you can find a good selection of farm dogs on gowilkes.com. We have found that our rescued Australian Shepherd is a great farm dog and coyote chaser. Our Australian/German Shepherd does a wonderful job as well. www.bearspringsfarmnc.homestead.com

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  22. Oh Dear, Keep us posted Leigh, hopefully he turns up soon.

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  23. linked here from your 2014 "goals post" did you ever find this dog?

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  24. Helsyd, thank you for asking. We never did find him. I talked with city police, county sheriff, animal control, and the former owner, besides going out to look for him myself. It's something I'll always lament.

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