A birthday surprise….

A birthday surprise….

My birthday was a bit of a surprise and shock. My entire goat herd except one bred late, all kidded in less than a 24 hour period.

AND IT SNOWED 8 INCHES!!

Some of the kids

So all babies had to come into the house to save their lives, this broke the bond with their moms and I had a house full of bottle babies.

Twin brothers

I did about zero spinning and lost 6 weeks of my life that are still a blurr with very few distinct memories.

Missed me!
Ike, an Anatolian Shepherd. Livestock Guardian Dog

Ike, an Anatolian Shepherd. Livestock Guardian Dog

October 2014 – October 19, 2018

Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog
Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog

Ike is an Anatolian Shepherd dog born in with his goat herd. He has guarded goats his entire life. He came to live with us when he was almost 2 years old. He had next to no socialization or training but had been a working livestock guardian dog.

When he came to live with us and guard our goats, we had to neuter him a few months after joining our ranch. His testosterone was raging and he was bark rather aggressively at people who did not live here. Some aggressive barking and intense protective demeanor is necessary and required, but there is also a limit to what is appropriate. After neutering, I started to see a different Ike with people. He was no longer overly intense in his interactions with visitors because he would stand down when I told him to. However, no visitor ever doubted Ike would guard those goats with his life.

Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog
Ike, a Livestock Guarduan Dog

Ike was also gentle with his goats and let kid goats climb on him. We had lost our previous head male guard and felt Ike was on his way to being our new “Larick”.

We had some recurring health issues with him that seemed to never fully heal. In 2017, we had a predator attack on the ranch that resulted in my main female Askbash being killed. No goats or llamas were harmed, but we lost our Willow.

I noticed in the year after the attack that Ike seemed unwell. He seemed depressed and out of sorts and was just plain grumpy. He was snarling and snapping at baby goats. He never let them climb on him any more and was getting testy with the other dogs. Ike visited the vet several times and a few health issues kept coming up which we kept treating but he never seemed to feel well. We coukdn’t find anything obvious to explain how he had seemed to age….grow old almost overnight …. and his personality change. I still believe he was ornery because of pain even if we could not find it. The change of how he was with his goats was too much to just be an off day.

We made the decision to let Ike go and rest in peace. His body no longer hurts, he no longer has to work and guard, and he no longer needs to fight with the other dogs or predators in the woods. I really still miss him greatly and the security for protection I always felt he provided. I know he was in pain and was not happy, but now he can rest.

Rick and Rachel

Rick and Rachel

We lost a couple more dogs here at Alba Ranch as well.  This has been a difficult time for us.  I thought I had better get caught up a bit with what has been going on…but for a while I just wanted to take a moment.

 

 

Rick

Rick

(Feb 2016-March 21, 2018)

 

Rick we had to let go just two days after Cinnamon and Nutmeg passed over.  He came to use at about 10-11 months old and where he had been before was not good for him.  He had been abused so much by a family and returned to the breeder after extreme damage had been done to him….both mentally and physically.

He was the sweetest boy and had such a sweet loving heart but he could not trust humans and had anxiety that was off the charts.  We worked with him for almost 1.5 years but he was having so many physical issues as well as mental issues that it was just better for him and for all the dogs in the house that we let him go.  His pain had to be ended.

Whatcha sayin?

 

on the move

It was one of the hardest ones I have ever had to let go…and trust me none are easy ….but this one was super hard.  85% of the time he was our loving boy Rick and would sit for hours letting you pet him or just lie near you.  The other 15% he was unpredictable, dangerous and in so much mental anguish and pain.  That anguish and pain was coming out against the other dogs, against me and against any person that might be here.  Rick did not want to be that way but he could not control it.

I truly hope that those people that had him will never have another dog or animal in their entire life as what was done to him was unthinkable and certainly unforgivable.

He is free now and no longer in pain of any kind, nor can he harm any other person or dog which was one of his fears as well.

 

Rachel

(October 2014-June 4, 2018)

Rachel guarding

 

Rachel came to us from Ohio with two of her brothers, Ike and Toobies.  She has been one of our Livestock Guardian Dogs  (LGD) ever since.  I really did like Rachel and she loved to be petted.  She also tried to lick me to death and would dig some pretty intensive holes everywhere.  She was also the one that told us about any coyotes, or any other predators about and would not stop telling us until they left…which could be all night. ha!

She was with Willow when we had the predator attack last year.  The attack that killed Willow and really injured Rachel but no goats were harmed or lost.  They both did their jobs protecting.  Rachel has been struggling every since that time.  She was in pain, and seemed to be having some mobility issues….she was very grumpy with her goaties which I don’t recall being normal for her before this time.  Baby goaties jumping on her was very painful when normally the LGD would lie still and let the kids climb on them.

Rachel and the kid

 

She also was much more anxious and fearful than before the attack.  I think that attack forever changed Rachel and she was just not up to things anymore.  It was with a heavy heart that we said good bye to her a few weeks ago….it was hard but I know that she is no longer in pain, either physically or mentally.

 

Nutmeg and Cinnamon have passed over…..

Nutmeg and Cinnamon have passed over…..

We have had a few more losses here at Alba Ranch.  It seems like a lot lately but the reality is the entire pack was aging and all approximately the same age as well so it was a flood of them leaving one after the other as they have finished their lives over these last few years.  I knew that it was coming but that doesn’t make it any easier.

All 7 Scottish Border Collies

This post is not a poor me my babies are gone…even though seriously…poor me my babies are gone…I mean for reals….but a celebration of their lives with some photos of them growing up just to give you a glimpse of their life….all the years we have had with them.

You will see and know why we loved them from the photos.

 

 

 

 

 

Nutmeg as a pup

Nutmeg  (aka if her name is NOT Meg….what is it?)

May 26, 2004-March 19, 2018

 

Nutmeg was one of 8 pups from Pru…and we kept 3 of them.  She and her 2 sisters and her half sister Cinnamon, along with Auntie Tessa, Abbey and Pru were our 7 Scotland border collies that came over to the USA when we moved back.

Nutmeg was always my shy tri except at home.  At home she was a bully.  She ruled with a quite but iron paw.  And even Rowan, the 90 pound Anatolian, cowered in fear with just a silent lip curl from Nutmeg.  Respect…..

Nutmeg with her sisters, Sassy and Chloe passed out on top of her….always together

Nutmeg did not like little old ladies with brollies (umbrellas for you usa folks).  nope…not them at all.  She never did take to car rides.  She did not get sick in the car, or have accidents or bark and carry on, she would just sit bolt upright, panting in terror and never settle down.  When we drove from MI to CO, she did that for those two days.  And she tried to bolt out of the suburban and managed twice and took off with us chasing her after her in a parking lot, a field or whatever to get her before she hit the highway.  Needless to say, Nutmeg stayed to home a lot and that suited her just fine.

 

Nutmeg with Charlie

 

She could play football (soccer for the usa folks) like nobody’s fool.  And amazing air…oh my…she would do almost a complete flip and roll at about 4 ft high in the air for a ball.  Dive into the pond after a toy, into a puddle or a padding pond…no matter…if there was a ball…she was after it.

 

Nutmeg all grown up

She was a quiet dog and faded into the background a lot….but she was still my shy tri and I loved her until the end.  She was very still with us mentally but her body was failing when we let her go at just 2 months shy of her 14th birthday.  That is a good long life for a border collie.  Rest in peace my Nutmeggers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon the puff ball pup

Cinnamon (aka Cinnaminimoooooos)

June 3, 2004-March 19, 2018

Cinnamon was a pup from Abbey’s litter of six pups.  She had the same sire as the pups from Pru but Abbey for a mom.  She was their half sister born about 10 days after.

Charlie was taken with Cinnamon from the day he saw her.  I was not sure though.  When we were trying to decide which pups to keep, we took charlie back to work in Abredeen from Peterhead when we were living in Scotland.  I suggested he pick a pup he was considering and take that pup on the ride and see how he felt.  He chose to take Cinnamon and she promptly threw up on him…twice…so he said she had to stay being she threw up on him.

 

Cinnamon about to jump on Sass in the whiskey barrel

 

Cinnamon suffered with getting car sick for many, many years after that and it was only with a lot of work that we could get her finally OK with the car enough to NOT be sick through some nausea meds, and than began the work of getting her calm enough to even give it a go.  I mean if you got sick in the car every time you rode, you would refuse to go too.  We started with short drives like to the mail box or the end of the drive.  Or just sitting in the car and NOT going anywhere.  Even that was trying for her in the beginning as she has begun to associate the car with begin sick so much that to even be in it she would get sick.  It took a long time but she finally cracked it and than she was happy and willing to go anywhere.

 

Cinnamon, what a beauty

 

Cinnamon was a very head strong dog who was also a destructo dog.  There was barely a toy in the house that could not be destroyed by Cinnamon.  We had to have all the footballs…soccer balls…deflated but even that did not work as she would tear the leather off and rip the bladders out.  I have no idea why she had to rip things apart but there was that one day she had her first encounter with a chicken and well….you guessed it…30 seconds later the chicken was in three pieces and dead and Cinnamon never did get near a chicken again.  In her defence, the chicken had flown its coop area and flown over the fence into the dog pen so…..you know…fair game….at least in her mind.

 

Cinnamon out back

We tried Cinnamon with herding lessons but she really didn’t have any thoughts to herd.  She was like la de dah….running through the field..whats that…oh sheep..OK well…la de dah…running through the field….yup..not a sheep herder.

She would sit next to me on the couch whenever she had the chance and be so over joyed to be there that she would wiggle and drive me nuts…but she did so love being close to me.  I miss Cinnamon…she was in a fair bit of pain towards the end…and she had some tumours.  We had removed some a few years before right around the time that she lost Abbey and she never really recovered well from that.

 

Abbey and Cinnamon, side by side

She was such a mama’s girl that Abbey passing sort of took the stuffing from Cinnamon.  She even lost her will to destroy in those last couple of years.   The girls would all play and run and leap together and the four pups were the best of friends.  Rest in peace Cinnamon, you are missed.

 

The Scotland Border Collies were born in Scotland, flew to Michigan, drove to Colorado, drove back to Michigan and now are at rest in the woods near Lake Michigan.  Both Nutmeg and Cinnamon went together and they were even kenneled as pups together as well.  We felt it was fitting that they were buried together as well so their worn out fur bodies would be forever together.