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This back can hold no more straw.

July 28, 2011

I was so excited because I was going to write a post about how we have the tallest corn in the neighborhood (this is a huge deal when your neighbors are Amish). But just as I was about to pull out my laptop I noticed Geoff out the front window pushing the wheel barrow. Immediately I knew something was wrong. There was no reason for him to be pushing the wheel barrow. At first I thought it was our smallest goat Nadine. I ran out to Geoff and yelled over the barking dogs to ask him what was wrong. He couldn’t get the words out. The pain is too much. Finally he managed to say, “It’s Pepper.” In less than seven weeks we have lost both our Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs. We had each of them for less than one year.

I can handle loosing a chicken. I can handle loosing a duck or a bunny. Those losses make me sad, but dogs are part of our family. Dogs know their own names. Dogs are happy to see you. This is some really upsetting bullshit. I am not a happy farmer.

Sgt. Pepper was an excellent dog. He stepped up after we lost Maggie and protected the goats like a professional. He was sweet and curious and loving and a tribute to his breed.

We don’t know the cause of death. We know that it was NOT a predator. He was found dead in the middle of the goat pen without a mark on him. It could have been something congenital. He could have consumed something poisonous like mushrooms or the wrong combination of plants. It could have been heat stroke because the temperatures have been high, but he had plenty of access to water and shade. And Geoff played with him just a few hours before he died and Pepper seemed fine. We have no idea how this happened. We just know neither of us can stand to lose another dog. Our hearts are broken every which way.

The bottom line is this is not sustainable. You can’t have a sustainable farm and lose a guardian dog every six or seven weeks. We might have to switch to llamas or donkeys. They don’t know their own names.

We’ve got a few hours to grieve and then we go pick up our last set of interns. We don’t want our sadness to mar their experience in what, more often than not, is a happy place.

Right now, we can’t win.

Pepper on the job.

Pepper at play.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Kelly J permalink
    July 28, 2011 8:43 PM

    Oh no! I’m so, so sorry you guys!

  2. Bonnie Brawner permalink
    July 28, 2011 10:33 PM

    Lindsey and Geoff — I don’t really know what to say, other than I’m so sorry, my heart goes out to you guys, and I’m praying for you.

  3. Uncle Chris permalink
    July 29, 2011 9:32 AM

    Wow guys I am as devistated as you are. What a beautiful Dog. I wouldn’t give up on the Great Pyrenees Dogs. I don’t think either of your dogs would want you to do that. My heart really goes out to you two. I have 2 suggeations

    1. Get 3 of them so they can out number any preditor and you will always have one there to watch over the flock. 2 males and a female this way you can raise them too. They seem to be reallly cool dogs.

    2. Don’t be afraid to shoot any preditor that my threaten your dogs or Livestock. I know y’all are all about life and that is wonderful but sometimes you just have to. A Henry lever action .22 or a 20 guage shotgun should be ample. You have to be able to protect your Farm amnd Family. Wolves, Coyotes, Minks Etc are preditors and there is nothing wrong with shooting a preditory animal that is threatening the serenity of your wonderfully Blessed Home and farm.

    If Sgt Pepper ate something that caused his death or it was something congenital than God Called him home and there are two awesome dogs in Heaven. Yes I do believe Dogs go to heaven they have too there is too much love there for them not to. Y’all are doing a great job. Good Luck, God Bless, We are very proud of you two and love y’all very much.


    Uncle Chris

  4. Mrs Q permalink
    July 29, 2011 12:38 PM

    I’m so sorry for your loss! This is terrible news!

  5. Jan & Marty Kreft permalink
    August 26, 2011 2:35 PM

    Marty and I just learned of your loss of Maggie and Sgt. Pepper a few days ago. You guys have been in our constant thoughts the last few days. We’ve even grieved over the loss of Maggie and Sgt. Pepper.
    Oh Yes, farming does suck sometimes!
    Try not to beat yourselves up about it.
    Jan & Marty
    Red Brush Farms
    Jan & Marty Red Brush Farms

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