His front right leg was strangely twisted at the knee and clearly broken
in half, and his rear left was similarly broken at the hock. It looked
as though someone had snapped his hock, twisted the lower part of the
leg 360 degrees, and then put him back on his feet.
My stomach lurched
as I wondered if I could convince my vet to try to save him, but at the
same time I wondered, how do you save a 250 pound mature buck with two
broken legs like that? Visions of him wearing prosthesis flashed before
me. Those sorry Akbash dogs that I'd bought to protect my goats had dug
yet another tribute to the Grand Canyon in the goat pen, and now my poor
Macho was walking on two legs as a result. Actually he was trying to
breed one of the does on his one decent back leg. He was also only about
100 pounds and shrinking as I watched him.
It took a moment for me to
wake up and realize it was just another one of those dreams that come
after watching back to back Jackie Chan movies until 3 am while snarfing
on pizza and soft drinks. Regardless of it being "just a dream", I
promptly got out of bed at the gawdawful hour of 9 am and spent my
morning filling the holes in the goat pens with gravel. Thankfully, no
one came by to spy me doing this in my underwear, as there is already
enough speculation about my sanity by those who know me.
It seemed like a great idea at the time, given the number of coyotes,
stray dogs, and two legged
predators in my area. A couple of livestock guardian dogs would be just
the ticket to protect my
precious hayburners, right? Misty eyed as any 6 year old at the pet
shop, I wasted no time in
securing a brother/sister team of Akbash puppies, and that's where the
These tiny bundles of fur, brown eyes, and love quickly
turned into 150 pound bundles of destruction and fleas within a matter
of months. Where my sweet little Angel girl once could fit in my lap and
was content to just be petted, now she weighs in at 100 pounds and and
loudly announces the presence of every passing leaf, tumbleweed, and cat
that dares to enter her domain. Apparently dogs do not suffer from
laringitis, although I still hold out hope around 4 am. Cody went from a
stout little puppy to 155 pounds within a year, leaving me to wonder if
someone slipped his mother some Quarter Horse DNA when no one was
While both have earned their keep, with over 12 dead coyotes
and a badly mangled bobcat to their names in addition to numerous stray
dogs run off with their tails between their legs, the two share an
ability and an obsession for digging that rivals anything I've ever
seen. We're not talking cute little "bury-the-rawhide-bone" holes that
you'd expect a dog to do. Nope, these two canine demolishionists have
vision and ambition, and are working towards creating the next Palo Duro
canyon within the confines of my 20 acres. People often comment on the
unusal topography of my pasture, believing it to be natural ravines. I
seldom correct them.
My first introduction to their digging passion was during feeding time.
While desperately clinging to a 5 gallon bucket of feed with one hand,
and fending the hoard off with the other, I went to put my foot down in
front of me, only to realize there was no ground there. I didn't hit
solid ground until my knee was level with my other foot. At that point
of course, the goats got the feed bucket, I got a wrenched knee, and my
dogs got a lesson in Advanced Cursing 101. Afterwards, I filled in the
hole and forgot about it.
The dogs however, only suffer from memory loss
when it comes time to things like "Sit" "Get Down" and "GET YOUR %#$@
BACK HERE". They certainly didn't forget they'd previously left a hole
where now a mound of dirt lay. Perhaps they were angry that I destroyed
their handiwork, or perhaps they aspired to dig a crater I would be
unable to fill. Regardless, it set the stage for what was bring me
frequent nightmares for months to come. The next morning I was greeted
with not only the original hole neatly emptied out, but three more just
like it in various spots in the night pen. The goats had made good use
of the holes, using them as personal napping spots. One was so deep that
I didn't see the goat inside of it until I threw dirt on top of her
while trying to fill it. I wound up having to haul dirt in from the
pasture to fill them. I suspect the dogs hid it all so I would not have
enough. It was pointless though. By the end of the week, the number of
ravines had doubled. It was as if filling them caused them to reproduce
like some creature from a B movie. Defeated, I called a truce with them.
They could have their holes, all I asked was that they not create more.
They agreed to not dig new holes, however they did see fit to expand the
existing crevases. One
actually trapped my truck while I was backing a bale buggy into the pen.
A tire fell in, and that was all she wrote. The tow truck driver asked
how such a deep ravine (indeed it's a ravine, 7 ft long, 1 ft wide and 3
1/2 feet deep) had occured. I told him it was just an act of nature. I'm
sure if I'd admitted the truth, he would have advised me to simply shoot
the four legged backhoes and fill in the holes. It's hard making people
realize the futility of trying to thwart this pair from digging trenches
or convince them the dogs are worth the destruction. After this latest
nightmare, however, I broke down and filled all the holes except the
largest with a mixture of rebar and large gravel. The largest hole I
left for the dogs to continue working on.
I always wanted a swimming
pool, and it looks like I'll get an Olympic sized one.