Sunday, February 16, 2014
Working girl arrives at Apifera
I have named her "Marcella", pronounced Mar-chell-a to honor her Italian heritage. She is a Marema and she has a very important job to do at Apifera- guard the sheep and Misfits. She will be busy.
We drove to Bellingham on Saturday, leaving at six in the morning and picked her out of three pups. Then we turned right around and hauled ourselves home. The trip was long, and made longer by the ridiculous under built highway of Seattle-which the powers to be had shrunk by two lanes, causing us to lose an hour and a half on Seattle's freeway stuck in grid lock and wacked out drivers. So she got her first taste of what my voice sounds like when I am grumpy.
But we made it home and she spent her first night in Old Man Guinnias's old suite, so she could be safe, but also have nose touching with the goats.
This morning was a big day for her, and me. And The Misfits. While she will probably do most of her important work with the flock, allowing us to develop our upper fields, she will also have to know and accept everyone in the barnyard.
It was a bit painful to watch at times. I brought her out for intervals of about 20 minutes, in between my chores of getting the lambing stalls ready. Many of the goats just stood back, disturbed, concerned and wary. But Wilbur and The Head Troll took action, smacking her down. A bit of this will happen, and if she were bigger, I'd leave her out to work it out. But she is a bit small for that, so I am chaperoning all her visits with the barnyard. She gives them all her best submissive gestures - tail wag, bent down head, even flopping. But goats know dogs are predators, so it will just take a bit of time.
And we made huge strides even by the end of the day.
I don't want her to over bond with me, so I put her safely in her stall area when I need to until the introductions are acceptable.
And who do you think finally was the first one to accept Marcella? Ernest. Sweet little Ernest. Rosie on the other hand walked right up to her and tried to bite her. But that will end too.
This is a new thing for me, and I am up for the challenge. She is not like the terriers or other dogs I've had, and the breeder gave me lots of good reading material. Her personality is very independent compared to other pups I've had-but she is submissive which is good-but not overly. She seems very smart. I like it. I wasn't sure what it would be like to have a dog in the barnyard-I never allow our dogs there-but I really liked her following me. That will change of course, when she is mature enough to fulfill her job as Head Mistress.
I'm speaking in an Italian accent to her. This amuses me, and perhaps will help me learn more of the beautiful language.