The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Stupidity Cure?

So, here's my normal routine. Each night before I get ready for work, I feed my animals and bring the ewes up from their pasture to an overnight pen secure from coyotes. Last night I was not normal, forgot the secure portion of that routine, and stupidly got a ewe lamb killed with 2 more severely injured.

No, it's not the coyotes fault, and as much as I want to be, I can't even be mad at them.

Of the 2 still standing, this little girl got the worst of it
 I love my sheep, and I work hard at keeping them healthy and happy. I don't name them, and I don't consider them pets, but I have a great deal of respect for them, bordering on admiration, for their tenacity, toughness, utility and stoicism. Yes, they're stoic. They just take what life dishes and continue to thrive. So, when something like this happens, and not only was it completely my fault, but 100% avoidable, I plummet to the depths of deep emotional sadness, which is what I'm feeling right now.

A deep bite wound all stitched up
I just want to bring them in the house, wrap them up in a blanket, put their heads on pillows and help them heal. Of course they're much too reserved for that, and are far more comfortable out with their friends, lying in the shade.

Prefering to doctor my self, I rarely call the vet. Today I called. I couldn't stand to see them so miserable. And I knew, if nothing else, he would have the really good drugs, ketamine and 6-day antibiotic. Not just the banamine and acepromazyn in my humble medicine cabinet, but the good stuff they deserve. Plus, they both needed stitches in deep wounds that, in the worst of the two, left bone exposed.  I can stitch, but not layer upon layer.

Not only did the coyotes kill a ewe lamb, but my best lamb, of course. The very lamb that was to begin my transition from a meat flock to one of fiber and meat production. You see, I keep sheep to work the dogs, so I might as well diversify their income potential. Meat production will remain, but with the addition of long-wool fiber animals, there's more opportunity. Today, though, there is one less...

Stitched up with a drain hole
Coyotes are magnificantly evolved for killing. They hunt in packs, and the sheep in the picture above demonstrates their method beautifully. With several puncture wounds around her neck, 1 gaping hole in her butt, and teeth marks on her belly, you can visualize the order of things. A coyote stops her in front, while another drags her down by the haunch. The next step is to rip out her belly, and let the feast begin. The dead lamb's carcass showed the process from start to finish, and there wasn't much left.

Today's routine is still far from normal, and with some serious nursing in my future, abnormal will be around for a while. Firstly, it will take my wallet some time to recover, and sheepdog lessons will remain on hold until everybody has recovered sufficiently.  Before paying Dr. Walker's bill, I asked for the same ketamine injection he had given the sheep. What I really should have asked for was a cure for stupid!


  1. I'm really sorry about your stupid moment and the loss of your sheep. I can relate with this! Though I don't have sheep anymore I lost a prized rooster and 5 hens to stupid. Thinking that they were having a fight among themselves, I didn't pay attention to the loud cackling that was going on. I free range my chickens and my guinea hens and I lost 6 birds in 24 hours in broad daylight. Talk about STUPID! Needless to say my remaining birds stay in a fence with cover now.

  2. It's always the best sheep...of course