Dogs with jobs at 6S.
Love dogs? Us too! While we're busy featuring all of our incredible animals here at 6S we certainly don't want to overlook our canine employees. So today we're going to introduce you to the 6S Canine Crew that do some very specific jobs for us here ...
First up, our Livestock Guardian Dogs ...
Meet 'Mack the Defender' also affectionately known as 'Big Mack Daddy'
Mack and his full brother Ranger were our first ever Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD's) here at 6S. We got them as puppies at 8 weeks old and were told that they would take some time to mature. So we waited, and we waited and we waaaaaaaited. It only took 3 long years for these two shenanigan manufacturers to grow into their roles. We eventually had to split the two of them up because on their own they were fantastic at their jobs but put them together and they lost any sense they ever had (kinda like teenagers when they get together! lol) Ranger is now living the good life on a ranch in Telkwa and Mack has remained to be our poultry defender. He loves the high ground and will park himself on the highest point near the chickens and turkeys and when you hear his deep throaty bark you know he means business.
Up next, meet 'Sasha - Helper of Mankind' aka Sweet Sasha
Sasha is indeed a 'Helper of Mankind' as her name means. She is a sweet soul with a mother's inexhaustible patience. She's raising her second litter of pups this spring and her keen eyes and ears don't miss a thing. She's pretty easy going and is happy to hang out with just about any group of animals we put her with. Once her pups are weaned she'll get moved out to the farrowing pens and keep an eye on the piglets.
And now, introducing "Kitty"
Hold on ... before you go thinking we don't know our animals species here at 6S - just wait for the story ... We knew Kitty was a keeper from a young age. It was clear early on that she was happily bonding to the sheep while her brothers and sisters were off creating havoc in other areas of the farm. Kitty would run a little ways with them, stop and watch as they took off and then quietly walk back and lay down in the midst of her flock. She was nothing but a ball of fluff at the time but we knew that with her giant feet she was going to be a big girl and her dark face was going to create an intimidating looking presence. We were all busy trying to think of names that would suit her formidable stature like Joan of Arc, Athena, or Zenobia.
Rick however thought it would be hilarious to go outside and call 'Kitty, Kitty' and have this ginormous dog come bounding towards you. It's an oxymoron of gigantic proportions but I'll admit, it's pretty funny and regardless it stuck. So Kitty it is. Kitty is our sheep specialist. She's still growing into here role here and has some growing up to do but so far she loves her lambs and that makes her a good fit for 6S.
A side note about our Livestock Guardian Dogs ...
If you ever come visit the farm you will find that all of our LGD's have horrible people manners. This is not an oversight on our part. We are not interested in training them to behave. They are most definitely dogs on the job and we want them to act upon the instincts that are deep in their blood and heritage. Their work for us is indispensable when raising domestic livestock in a wild place like Northern BC. We want to co-exist with all the animals in our area and our LGD's allow us to do exactly that. Their presence alone is enough to deter most any predator from coming in too close to our livestock and a few warning barks are plenty of incentive for those predators to give them a wide berth. While our LGD's like people, they are not meant to be bonded to them. They bond to the animals they guard and defend them well. Their poor people manners are the reason why we tie them up before having visitors or tours. Not everyone loves to have giant dogs greet them exuberantly and the dogs simply don't understand their strength in comparison to kids.
Meet Rooster & Rigby the Herding Dogs
As long as I've know Rick he's had a passion for dogs in general but especially for Cattle Dogs. These two smart looking fellas are the herding dogs at 6S. Both are quite young and still in training but they're showing incredible instinct and great 'eye'. Cattle dogs LOVE to work. It is so deeply ingrained into their psyche and they're never happier than when they're out doing their jobs. Rick too is always in his glory when he's out working his dogs and we have high hopes for these two to save us about a bazillion steps a day! :)
PS. If you remember that I introduced Rigby (bottom pic) in our March newsletter as 'Banjo' then you have a fantastic memory and you'd be right! We've tried out a few names on this little guy and nothing seemed to fit his personality quite right. He's been 'Rigby' for a few weeks now though and I'm thinking this one's gonna stick. :)
Last but not least 'Finn' the doorbell :)
On Joe's 11th birthday we surprised him with a puppy. We were out visiting my parents in Alberta at the time and Rick and my Dad snuck off the day before Joe's birthday to go pick up the dog. We planned to surprise him with it on his birthday morning but no one could wait that long and so instead, that night we made up a treasure hunt and had him running all over my parents farm looking for his present. His face was priceless when he finally found his treasure and realized he had his very own puppy. He named him Finn and he's been a mascot around 6S ever since. At about 2 years old Finn was diagnosed with an untreatable, degenerative eye disease. We were worried that he wouldn't be able to manage life on the farm with limited sight and so many people and vehicles coming and going. Much to our surprise though, Finn does remarkably well in his environment. He can still be found running in the fields alongside the quad as we do chores in the morning and his hearing more than makes up for his sight. I call him my doorbell because he always lets me know when someone is coming up the road. :)
Now you know the Canine Work Crew here at 6S,
we hope you enjoyed the introductions!