Thor, my seven-and-a half-month-old Great Pyrenees farm dog, seems to be adjusting to life at Rock's Roost quite well. But although he is already quite massive (eighty pounds or more), he is still just a playful pup. Anything left laying around in the yard is automatically a toy for the big dog, and he likes to show his affection by jumping on anyone who happens to stroll across his yard - and can topple a tourist with ease!
Great Pyrenees resemble St. Bernards, but they are entirely white. They are bred and raised to herd livestock, particularly goats and sheep. They also generally work well around poultry, particularly if they are raised with feathered friends from a young age. The big dogs tend to sleep a lot during the day, and prowl or patrol at night. Their deep barks serve to keep most predators at bay.
About the only creatures in the neighborhood who have not shown a fear of big, loud Thor are the deer - which is fine by me. They gather at the salt block in the evenings, or lie around one of several watering tubs that I have scattered about the farm. Thor used to get crazy when the deer would come onto his land, and he would run at them barking. The deer, skittish at first, soon learned, however, that he was all bark. One evening a deer was out in the yard with her tiny fawn when Thor rushed in doing his tough guy act. The protective mother turned and actually charged him. Another time one tried to kick the exuberant farm dog.
Thor knows the deer don't actually belong here, but sadly (for him) he is not dog enough to run them off.
So goes life.
A couple of nights ago another group of tourists traipsed across the back yard and set Thor to barking. Some of the neighbor's cows had gotten out and decided to come visit the salt block and check the ground for leftover scattered grain. The cows generally come a calling about this time every year. But Thor wasn't having it. He rounded up two or three and began herding them around the house as he barked in protest. Although the neighbor quickly patched his fence, the cow escapades continued for the next two nights, and both nights Thor did what he was bred to do - he herded cattle. He also put up a racket that let the entire neighborhood know that something was not right.
Big dogs can be a nuisance - boy howdy can they be a nuisance! But since Thor moved in at Rock's Roost, death by predator has been reduced to almost zero. He knows the property line, and he trots happily from corner to corner and boundary to boundary keeping a watchful eye over his domain.
The dog makes the farm - and Thor is one helluva a fine farm dog!