"Maddie, one of Veryl's three pet dogs, has been staying with me for the last two weeks, while her owner escapes our rain and mud in sunny Hawaii. Maddie has stayed here before, so I knew she was good with the sheep (my house is included within the sheep fencing). She has very quiet body movements, and basically ignores the fact that there are animals around her.
This morning I let her out to splash in the ponds and get covered in mud as is her routine (and not allowed at home
When I went out to feed the sheep, Maddie was in the loafing shed - vigilantly guarding one yearling doe (who didn't belong there), one ewe,and one newborn lamb. She wasn't disturbing the pair, wasn't trying to take over the lamb (a common problem with new guardians), she was just guarding. Then she would go out onto the bridge and bark a warning, and return. During the time I was feeding, she did one full round of the field, a solid bark down the creek, and ended up back in with the new family. Looking very, very happy.
My dogs are much more casual these days about lambs. Drew was lounging on the hill that overlooks the entire sheep area, Natasha out patrolling the fence line. I think that as the oldest dog, Maddie gets to call the shots on where her presence is needed.
Maddie is 8 years old, the mother of two litters - one of her "pups" is the 1996 and 1997 top winning Pyrenean in Finland, and a house and yard dog. A pup from her second litter is a full time Alpaca guardian in Alaska.
The first time I saw her was in a show ring, at my first show. She is, however, from solid working lines. Maddie herself has several working 1/2 sibs. One of her mother's sisters guarded llamas until she died at the age of 12. Others worked in other varying environments. Her mother's sire was not only a champion and producer of champions, but had any number of pups who guarded successfully on both small family farms and large open range situations.
I would gladly take this show dog, house pet, brood bitch as a working dog to protect my flock. Her instincts are obviously very much intact, she knows a job when she sees one, and does it. She can do, and has done, it all."
If you enjoyed Judy's comments about Maddie, you might enjoy her blog which describes life on her small farm in western Washington, a farm much like Martha's: Ravenwood Farm Tails