Meet Knut! We named him after the famous polar bear, born in the Berlin Zoo. Apparently the k is pronounced but we have just been calling him 'newt'. He is a Maremma/Akbash cross. This breed are raised as livestock guardian dogs. And...this was our intent when we bought him. The idea being that he would live with the sheep, bond with them and protect them. The problem with this idea is that to bond with the sheep, they should really have minimal contact with the people. While a good idea in theory...would you look at that face?
Yikes! There were a couple of challenges to this idea. First...our sheep have horns...and they know how to use them. After several butts sent the little fellow shooting across the barnyard and shaking in his boots, we decided perhaps to introduce them to one another a little more gradually. Second...our barnyard fence has openings that a small pup can easily squeeze through...so we thought we had him secured in the barn and a small kennel we set up but as we were eating our breakfast we heard some whining at the front door and discovered the little pile of wagging fluff on our doorstep. The girls find him to irresistable to ignore for long and frankly so do I.
Our compromise is that he will bond with the kids and us but spend his nights in the barn with the sheep. It is not such a bad thing to have a dog that will protect the kids from bears and cougars...right?
A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)