It was hard coming up with a title for this post – because although my story is about dogs, it could so easily be about any other animal that lives with humans – horse, cow, sheep, chicken, cat, hamster, etc.
This story starts with my son, Oscar, telling me we need another dog for protection against predators here on our 160 acre wilderness ranch. I countered that we already had three dogs; two half-Kangals who lived outside 24/7 and surely that was enough!
Until the day coyote came up to the waterhole near the house, in broad daylight. I went out on the porch and called out, “Coyote! What are you doing?!!” And so began our telepathic dialogue as the dogs trotted around bizarrely unconcerned with the adult and youth coyote a few hundred feet from the house. Coyote told me we were under-protected for the high density of predators and that they would not be able to control themselves when the lambs arrived next Spring. They sent me pictures to show how lambs were the predator-equivalent of a cake pop and pretty much irresistible.
So let me back up here, when I purchased the Singing Horse Ranch, back in August 2021, my husband Ian and I walked the perimeter to let the animals and the land know who we were and how we were going to run things – what our ‘rules’ were. We welcomed coyote, wolf, bear, cougar etc to the land and told them they could find refuge here from hunters. BUT they were not allowed to kill our ranch animals. We had found their feeding ground (leftover bones from deer, cows, and other animals) in a corner of the property, and we told them that if any of our animals died, we would leave their body for consumption in the feeding ground. I also told them that if they did not honor our agreement, then I would give my neighbours (avid hunters) permission to hunt them on our land. That was the deal I laid down. A similar deal with wasp/hornet had worked extremely well for all of us for 7 years at our old place – not one sting.
So coyote came forward, in light of that agreement, to let me know that with such intense temptation, they would literally be unable to control themselves, unless we beefed up protection. Two of our neighbours had sheep in the past, and lost every single one of them to cougars. My own cat, once she tasted lamb, would eat nothing else. She will literally not eat if we run out of lamb – and will leave chicken, beef, bison, duck (we feed raw) sitting there untouched. So I get it.
Oscar had already told me that we needed at least one more “ferocious dog”. And after my conversation with coyote, I decided it was best to get two siblings again. So I contacted the breeder we got the other two Kangal/Kelpie pups from (Milo and Jaia, now 8 months old). And he just happened to have two boys left from the same Kangal father as Milo and Jaia, with an Alabai mother. Ten days later, the seven-week-old puppies were with us.
Let me just say that I really wish breeders would keep puppies and kittens with their mother for at least 10-12 weeks. Unfortunately most are not willing to do that and will just sell the animals to someone else willing to take them at 6-8 weeks old.
Thankfully, the new wee pups – Mig and Midas – were pretty happy to be here at the ranch, being fed raw meat rather than processed kibble, and their half-brother Milo instantly took charge of them. Jaia was more stand-offish and pack leader Kumba was okay with Midas, but would have absolutely nothing to do with Mig.
If Mig was standing at the door when I opened it (Kumba is the only dog allowed inside), Kumba would refuse to walk past Mig. He would actually back away from the door. The only way I could get Kumba to go outside was to hold the pups away, so he could rush past and out. He also would not allow Mig anywhere near him when he was outside – despite Mig’s repeated entreaties to be friends, offering submission, trotting after Kumba… Bizarrely, it almost seemed as though Kumba was afraid of Mig. But as Kumba is a huge livestock guardian dog and Mig a tiny puppy, that made no sense to me and I reasoned that Kumba just really did not like Mig. Although I couldn’t see why. Until human/animal soul whisperer, Ginny Jablonski, tuned into what was going on…
I’d love to hear your thoughts or experience with this topic… just leave your comments below…
p.s. Did you enter the Draw to win a FREE SESSION with Ginny & the Singing Horse Herd? You still have time, click here for details.