Ellie usually joins me when I am milking. She will lay right down beside the milking stanchions, keep the cows and me company, sample a little bit of feed, and then she watches me head off. But one morning, she was behaving strangely. She didn’t lay down like normal. She stayed alert and pacing. When milking was over, she hopped up into the ATV with me.
I found this odd, but I figured she would hop off as soon as she saw I wasn’t headed back onto the pasture. However, she stayed with me. When I got to the gate, I tried to shoo her out of the ATV, but she wouldn’t budge. I have learned that if she is stubborn, it’s usually with good reason. So, I let her ride on with me.
She wouldn’t abandon me until I was safely back inside, I actually had to walk her through the house in order to get her to leave my side.
This went on for 3 days. And then, on the 4th day, she stopped. Later that same day, I happened to be on a spot on the pasture that I hadn’t visited that week and I saw a portion of the fence was dug out and broken. I have no doubt that there was some type of predator that she knew was around, and she was going to make sure that I was safe.
We have now learned that when their behavior is different, we need to walk the fence lines. They’ve seen something we missed. They also usually guide us to the problem areas because they sniff out every weak spot as we walk along.
I wouldn’t trade our livestock guardian dogs for anything. Their primary protection is our animals, but I know that they would lay down their lives for me before letting me get hurt. I cannot imagine farming without them on our team.