As you can see from the picture above, we’ve equipped the farm with a couple of ferocious guard dogs to keep predators away. We named them Coco and Misha as the result of several hours of intense negotiations between Sara and Alana, who started out with little common ground (Alana’s first choice was “Lulu,” which Sara hated) but eventually worked through a list of possible names using a rating system developed by Alana and came to an agreement.
Sara is a major dog-lover, a trait she inherited from her father. When we lived in a subdivision, anytime she spotted a neighbor walking a dog, she dropped whatever she was doing and ran outside. I’d eventually have to go outside and say, “Sara, the nice lady would probably like to go home now. Get the dog off your lap and say thank you.” Chareva’s brother has a big ol’ pit bull named Henry, and whenever we visit her family in Chicago, Henry is the main attraction for Sara. As we drove away after our Christmas visit in 2010, Sara was in tears.
“Don’t cry, Honey,” I said. “You’ll see Grandma again soon enough.”
“I don’t miss Grandma (sob, sob). I miss Henryyyyy!”
She has of course been begging us to buy a dog for years, but we always had to give the same answer: someday, when we own our own house with a decent-sized yard, we’ll get you a dog.
Well, we’re in the house and the yard certainly qualifies as “decent-sized,” so it was time. Besides, a farm without a dog just feels wrong somehow. On a purely practical level, we wanted a dog that’s big enough and scary enough to ward off any predators once we start raising chickens and sheep. Coco and Misha aren’t big and scary now, but they’re rottweilers and will grow into the role. (That’s Misha below, demonstrating her escape and evasion tactics.)
Rottweilers have been bred as herders and guard dogs for centuries and were listed as one of the best farm-dog breeds in an article I read on the subject while doing a little research. Once we decided to take the plunge, I suggested we look for a couple of siblings so they could keep each company. It’s not as if they’ll be socializing with other dogs on nightly walks around the subdivision.
Since I work full-time in Nashville and spend most of my evenings working on other projects (like this blog), Chareva will be taking on the role of dog-trainer. She told me years ago she’s not really a dog-lover like I am, but I’m already seeing her mommy instincts kicking in as she feeds them, pets them, talks to them, and of course cleans up their little dog puddles.
When we were at the pet shop on Saturday to buy a doggie bed and other pre-adoption necessities, I couldn’t help but notice the dog food. Most of it was such junk, I’m surprised the USDA doesn’t require it on school-lunch menus. One brand’s label bragged that it included protein for strength, dried fruit for good health, and whole grains for a healthy coat!
Head. Bang. On. Display Case.
If anyone out there can explain to me why any natural carnivore anywhere in the world needs whole grains for a healthy coat, please do. By contrast, the breeder who sold us Coco and Misha told us she mostly feeds rottweillers raw meat to keep them healthy. And not just muscle meat, but livers, lungs, tripe, bone marrow and gizzards as well.
As she told Chareva, dogs need those organ meats in their diets to get all the necessary nutrients. And by the way, if you feed them dog food made out of grains, that can make them fat and sick.
Funny how a dog breeder knows more about nutrition than the average doctor or dietitian, isn’t it?
After the puppies each consumed a half-pound of raw beef for dinner here in their new home, we took them out to the back yard to do their business. As we approached the trees, I heard something that sounded reasonably large scamper off. In my mind, the scampering critter was saying, “Holy @#$% – ROTTWEILERS!”
Ha! You think you’re scared now, critter? Just wait until they’re grown. Then try causing trouble around here.
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