Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Goldie

The 600+ ewes on Ronnie's farm are guarded by a single livestock guardian dog.  His name is Goldie.


Goldie was put with the flock when he was approximately nine months old when there were more livestock guardian dogs working together on the farm.  Over the years, the other dogs passed away & he has been left alone to protect his sheep spread out over several hundred acres.   After lambing, the 600 ewes grow to 1200 - 1400 ewes & lambs.  No single dog could protect it alone & unfortunately some stock has been lost to the burgeoning coyote population.

Goldie takes the blame.  


Goldie has completely bonded with his sheep.  He shuns all human contact, preferring his sheep over people.


It is a hard life.   But he seems content.


Ronnie, bless his heart,  is not fond of Goldie.  He says he "sleeps with the coyotes" because sheep have been lost.  Ronnie wants to get another guardian dog, but his age combined with reducing the size of his flock over the next few years, it just isn't feasible.  



Last week when helped Cindy vaccinate the ewes I saw a sight that brought tears to my eyes.

All of the ewes were rounded up and pushed into the pasture near the barn - where we funnel them through a chute to be vaccinated.



Goldie was not pleased.   He stayed just out of reach, but within sight of his sheep.  He created a problem because he kept drawing the sheep back down to his end of the field. 



It was a chore for Jorgen & Merckx to get the ewes back up after they caught sight of Goldie.



When each set of sheep was vaccinated, they were released from the barn.



They raced down to the field where Goldie waited.



My eyes were misty as I watched Goldie run to his sheep, he play bowed, wagged his tail, wiggled with joy as he hopped to a ewe in a happy greeting.  Then turned and began to lead his sheep to safety.



I will never forget that sight.



A lone dog, bonded with his flock. 

9 comments:

RYKER said...

That is kinda of sad but warm at the same time. I am a bit teared up myself. Goldie even seems to resemble a sheep. I think his owner is a pretty hard on him. He is an amazing sheepdog.
Hey Carolyn, stop by our blog today and check out an Alaskan Bea look-a-like we just posted.

The Sprollies 'n' Border Collies said...

Goldie's georgous! What a wonderful boy.

Kathy said...

Love the story.

Hey, is that field filled with gopher mounds?? Saw lots of piles of dirt.

Also, I was reading on blogger the other day that if you want your blog to download for people faster that you can set your page to display just so many entries per page. I think that might help you with all of the pictures that you post.

sagechronicles said...

That is such a bitter-sweet story. Goldie has made a happy life for herself with her flock. It's too bad her human contact hasn't been as good.

Karen said...

What a great story, and that brought tears to my eyes too.
What Ronnie doesn't know, and no one knows, is how many sheep Goldie has SAVED from the coyotes. One dog can only do so much.

jorbar said...

They are the un-sung heroes of sheep farms. The more I learn about them the more fascinating they become to me. And I really like Goldie.

forensicfarmgirl said...

Awwww.... that was beautiful!!!!

forensicfarmgirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Monique said...

That dog is worth his weight in GOLD :) I really enjoy watching him with the sheep. And Karen is right - wonder how much worse the losses would be without Goldie. That is a LOT of terrain and sheep for 1 dog.