If you’ve been to our farm lately, you’ve already met her, but I don’t think I’ve formally introduced her. So without further ado:
Farm friends, this is Roxie, our new farm dog.
A good farm dog is very necessary to protect poultry and livestock and even people from the predators that prowl mostly in the night. You might have noticed that we lost our Abby this winter, and when she’d gotten too sick to work anymore, the bad guys moved in and starting picking off the ducks and any unsecured chickens. The cows, too, were nervous in the evenings and early mornings, and even I could feel the hunter lurking in the darkness when I closed the barn up for the night.
We waited, though, till spring and good weather before committing to breaking in a new dog.
If you’ve been here lately, you might have met Lucky, our first try. He was a black lab mix, and we had him for about three weeks, but it was clear he was never going to be able to give up killing the chickens he was being hired to protect. So back he went, and that’s when I saw Roxie.
She was loose in the kennel with several other barking, jumping dogs, but even in that poor environment, she kept her head about her. Though all around her was chaos, she was calm, and while the attendant was suggesting another dog to me, I was admiring Roxie’s good manners.
So she came home with us, and we worked with her on a leash for several weeks, but she has lately earned the right to move freely about the farm without supervision. And she has already been earning her keep.
Roxie looks to be part German shepherd, and it’s interesting to watch her shepherding instincts at work. She likes to keep all the critters in their proper places, for one thing, and she’ll round up ducks and chickens who have strayed into the yard. Just yesterday, we were trying to move chicken crates into a field, which required the gates to be wide open for a time. I started to run the calves off, but Roxie took over and kept them all out of the way till we were finished. Other behaviors are strange to me, like her intense affection for the cows and the kitten, and, I think, even the chicks. She hopped into one of the crates yesterday as we were loading it up and just sat there under the perches, watching her peeps with wagging tail. And she regularly abducts the kitten, which the kitten is only sometimes happy about.
She is very young, not yet a year old, and still has lots of growing up and settling down to do, so we keep an eye on her during the day and make sure all the critters she feels attracted to are secured before we leave her alone for the night.
All in all, though, she is a very good dog, and we’re pleased to have her on our team.