A Dog’s Life
Protecting the herd is job No. 1 for these gentle giants.
These paws are on patrol protecting the herd.
ere at Short Leg Farm, a lively herd of 42 goats fuels my artisan soap and cheese business. I named my company Gretta’s Goats in their honor. Hand-milking more than three dozen goats is a demanding and hectic job, but luckily I have my two Great Pyrenees dogs, Hazel and Bernice, to help keep everyone in line. I found this canine duo on a Tennessee goat farm when they were just puppies. Now the girls are 4 years old.
Hazel’s and Bernice’s job is to protect the herd. Hazel is a born leader, and she is in charge. She is the first to spot a hawk or hear an odd noise. Bernice is her backup, and the two dogs patrol the pastures together. Their big booming barks keep coyotes at bay. They’re also great at keeping the chickens on our farm safe.
These sisters are intelligent, stoic and gentle with their charges. They are focused on the goats’ well-being, even waiting to eat until their goat friends have finished their
Hmeal. During kidding season, the dogs are on high alert. If a mama goat is going into labor, Hazel and Bernice silently sit nearby and watch to ensure that everything is going well. New kids like to nestle into the girls’ soft fur for naps, and they climb on top of the dogs as though they were fuzzy white mountains. Hazel and Bernice love their goats, and they whimper when I have to move them away from the herd at times.
At night, when I walk around the farm to check on the animals, I typically happen upon the dogs curled up fast asleep with three of their goat buddies: Crouton, Honey and Tanzey. It is reassuring to know that even while sleeping, Hazel and Bernice are working to ensure that the goats are secure.
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Canine duo Hazel and Bernice work as a team in watching over a herd of goats.