It's been a while since I have written a blog post. It's been a very busy, sad, and also happy time.
My father passed away in September, just two months shy of his 99th birthday. It was sudden and, believe it or not, very unexpected. It left a hole in the family and in my life, as I had taken care of him for the last 24 years. I was in a bit of a fog for a while, and I felt vulnerable living here on the farm on my own. There has been a rash of crime around here lately, mostly thievery, and I wasn't feeling safe.
My old dog, Nemo, passed away a couple of years ago, and I had been thinking about getting another dog for quite a while, but didn't think I could take the stress of dealing with training a dog, whilst taking care of my 98 year old father. And, I've been dealing with my own health issues which made things even more complicated.
Then my good friend, Keith, came for a visit from the UK in October. Keith used to live with us off and on for many years, but now lives in Wales. He is an international aid worker and our farm was his home base between assignments. He is super skilled and kept this place from falling down around our ears (literally)! He has become part of our family.
He had a surprise for me! He had been worried about me being here by myself, as well. He did weeks of research and found me the perfect early Christmas gift. A five month old Colorado Mountain Dog!!
Traditionally, they are bred for livestock guardians and are raised from tiny puppies with sheep and goats so they think that the animals are part of their pack. They are huge dogs, weighing in at as much as 150 lbs! They are a cross between a Great Pyrenees and an Anatolian Sheppard. They will take on a bear or mountain lion to protect their flock (and people)! They are very protective of their family members, but seem to know the difference between friend and foe.
When we went to pick him up from the breeder, I was shocked to find my 5 month old puppy weighed in at 75 lbs. already and stood 26 inches at the shoulder! Holy cow!! The breeder had six little kids, so he was well socialized with people, but had no training whatsoever. He had been living in a field with his sheep and siblings. He'd never been in a house, on a leash, or in a car and we had a long drive back home. I had brought an extra large crate, but it was clear that there was no way this giant puppy was going to fit in it! Luckily I had brought a mild sedative with me to give him, as it was going to be a two hour drive and I didn't want him to get too stressed or too crazy on the trip.
The first 14 hours with him were very disturbing, as he wouldn't walk at all! He refused to get out of the car, and when we finally removed him, he crawled around on his belly and refused to stand! We were worried that the breeder had damaged his spine when he picked him up and put him in the car. He was having none of it and resisted pretty strongly.
Then at about midnight, he got up, walked around the house, found a rug and peed and pooped and
has been fine ever since! It was also the last time he relieved himself in the house. He actually house trained himself! He goes to the door and whines to go out! He's also learning to ring the bells hanging on the knob.
He is delightful, beautiful, and very sweet and goofy, but takes his guardian duties very seriously. I named him Murphy. Murphy McGinty. It fits, for sure!
So, stay tuned, I will have lots of Murphy stories to tell. He's quite the character, and I have my work as a dog trainer cut out for me!!
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