Friday, February 19, 2010

A Less Poignant Dog Story

First, thanks for the logo feedback, both here and on facebook.

Last week our friends from Oysterponds Farm came and visited. We had a great time catching up, and Nate -who's four - made us a wonderful "No Dogs" sign. I would put up a picture, but the camera ran out of batteries. We particularly appreciate the sentiment because canines have troubled our young relationship with this farm from the first.

Last summer when we came to view the property we were met by four huge white Maremmas, all of them with burrs crushed through their coats, one especially giant one with a single eye. They barked and growled, but kept their distance. We expected the realtor to say they weren't dangerous, but he instead told us to be on our toes around them. As we walked the property more of these things kept turning up - a couple chained outside the barn, three fenced in across the street, another one or two locked up in the house.

While we knew we were buying a neglected property in need of a huge amount of cleaning up, we did include a contingency in the contract that all dogs had to be removed before the sale could go through. It was a near thing, and for various reasons the dogs ended up moving to an adjacent property, bringing the total down there to twenty. The population has since decreased to eleven, though Maremmas still predominate.

They are guard dogs that look like huge, white golden retrievers.

Sure, it's nice enough in the stock photo. But they are imposing, aggressive dogs, and the ones we have around here are ungroomed and ill-mannered. When they come surging up out of a poorly lit night to bark at the front door the overall impression is much closer to this:

Only three of the dogs are free to roam, and even these don't come over too regularly, at least not while we're awake; they leave footprints and other signs of their passage most nights. Of these we hear two are nice enough. But the third we have been told is still a little prone to nipping, and so it is apparently wise to have a shovel at the ready whenever outside, the theory being that a solid whack will put the dog in its place. (To be clear, the dog's owners advised this course of action.)

None of us feel enthusiastic about this idea, and carrying a trenching implement on one's person at all times is extremely inconvenient. So we risk doing our outdoor chores unarmed, though things may come to a head when we get chickens and other livestock this spring.

For the time being we'll trust that our luck, bolstered by the "No Dogs" sign, will hold.


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