Wednesday, October 19, 2011


When we moved out here to the new place, we wanted to get a good guard dog for our chickens. There are a lot more predators out here in the woods than in the city. I've read plenty of horror stories online about chicken owners losing all of their flock to a raccoon, fox, or other predator at night. Since we raised our hens from tiny little chicks we have become very attached to them and don't want to lose them that way.

I began searching online for a livestock guardian dog (or LGD as they are called). The most common breed used is great pyrenees, but there are many other breeds that are good guardians as well. We found a dog online who looked promising - a great pyrenees/sheepdog mix. She was so cute in the picture, all white and very fluffy. Only 10 months old and had been raised with goats. We figured since she had been around livestock since she was born, she'd be a good guard dog.

I called to get more information on her, and found out her name was Duchess. Her owners ran a goat farm in Salem, MO. I'd heard of Salem, and thought it wasn't too far away, so I told the owner that we'd come check her out that weekend. Come to find out, Salem is about 3 hours away from us! We still made the trip, and when we first met her she was soooooo shy. Wouldn't come near us or look anywhere in our direction. I had some big doubts about her, but since we drove all that way, we decided to bring her home.

This was her first day with us.
From what we can tell, she was severely neglected during her short time with her previous owners. She was so shy and scared of everything, and her hair was a matted mess. She seemed so sad and depressed, it really broke my heart. But I was determined to get her to open up and be happy. I showered her with as much love and affection as I could, and after about a month she became comfortable around me. She still didn't want anything to do with David and would run away from him and be so terrified that she would pee (or sometimes poop) after she saw him coming. Of course he had never done anything at all to hurt her, but I'm assuming she hasn't had the best experiences with men.

Then she changed the other day. I got home and David came up to me in a panic and said, "I think there's something wrong with Duchess. She must be injured or something." I thought, "Oh no, what happened now?!" He went on to tell me that when he went into the pen, she didn't run away from him! He squatted down to pet her, and she let him! I told him that was a good thing but he was sure she was just hurt and unable to run away from him. So I checked her out and she was totally fine. The next day, she let him come near her and pet her again! I don't want to jinx it, but I think she's finally coming around.

Maybe it's time for an eyebrow trim?
I read a lot online about adopting neglected or abused dogs, and many people say it can take up to a year for them to turn around. So I was ready to be in it for the long haul. It has been 4 months since we brought her home, so I really hope she's coming around.

How can you not love that face?
She has always run away from me when I try to take pictures of her, but this past weekend she let me get some shots and I went kind of crazy.

I think she was getting fed up with the camera :)

Everyday I hug her and I tell her I love her and that she's a good girl. I think she's finally starting to believe it. :)

Really fed up with the camera at this point.



  1. She looks like a completely different dog than the first time I met her; her fur is SO fluffy now! She is a beauty, and she's got some great adoptive parents.

  2. You can sure see the Sheepdog in her now. I hope she lets me pet her when I come up for Christmas.

  3. Cindy - Don't hold your breath. She still runs from David sometimes! Depends on what kind of mood she's in.


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