Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Free at last!!!

Bobbi and Simon wanted to know if Lincoln could come out and play today?

Today was warmer, sunny and Lincoln just could not contain himself. SO, I dropped his leash when we were working in the sheep pasture. Here's what happened!

A happy game of racing around the hay bales- game started by Bobbi! 

Snow Angels!

Shakin' things up!

Love love love LOVE snow!

Tired out and ready for lunch- and a nap! 

It was so awesome to get outside and have warm enough weather to let Lincoln rip. I have no idea how long he was chained but I am guessing a long long time. He is familiar with the pasture now and already checked out the patrol perimeter. By the time I finished puttering in the barn, Lincoln ate all his lunch and was sleeping in his bed already. We can't leave him loose unsupervised with the sheep for a while but we certainly will have a great time watching him re-gain his confidence. 

Bobbi is re-gaining her confidence too. What a gift. She's aged so quickly since we lost Andrew. Seeing her initiate play games and look happy made my day even better. 

These are the days I live for! 

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


... to free or deliver from confinement, violence, danger, or evil.
(as defined by Webster's Dictionary)

I think a lot about the definition of 'rescue'. Not all of our animal friends find their way here via Webster's definition of the word. I would like to add a few definitions via The Ryan Dictionary. There are so many ways to be involved in rescue. Here are a few things I would add to Webster's dictionary about where our animal friends come from.

You probably all know by now we lost our Great Pyrenees Andrew in August to bone cancer. We purchased Andrew and his sister Bobbi 11 years ago to protect our sheep. We found a much bigger farm and the coyotes sounded like a big old horror film around sunset! Yikes!  Bobbi and Andrew were 6 months old when we brought them home. Andrew walked right into the flock and did his job. Bobbi was a wild child who loved to chase the sheep. "Playing" in Pyr puppy minds. They are puppies til they are almost 2, she magically stopped the chasing (probably not due to our training abilities- just because she chose to be done?). From then on they worked together and were never apart. Their cute fluffy selves were also happy to go for walks with us and to be hugged and hugged. Knock on wood we have never lost a sheep to predators. They worked as partners. Both with big booming barks. Bobbi patrolled the perimeter of the pastures, barking and being sure the coyotes stayed on their own side of the fence. Andrew always stayed back between Bobbi & the sheep. They were amazing to watch. Dedicated to the flock and I have no doubt if I had any trouble myself, they would be over the fence in a heart beat. Andrew was stoic, regal and his eyes had an old, wise soul looking out. We are still devastated that he had to leave us. 

...Re-homing a friend
Carrying around a load of guilt after a loss seems to be my 'normal'. Healing the hole in my soul after losing one of my friends takes so long. They each take a little piece of me with them.  Four days after we lost Andrew, Odin the 6 month old Great Pyrenees crossed our path. He had a wonderful home with a couple in downtown Milwaukee. They always wanted a Pyr, did tons of research and went to visit a farmer who had a 'perfect' pet prospect. They bought Odin and brought him home to the city. They taught him obedience, clicker trained him and wonderful manners. However, many Pyrs are just not cut out to be pets and keeping him occupied was tough. They wanted what was best for Odin. As much as they loved him, they knew he would be happier on a farm. I never thought we would bring a dog home so soon after losing Andrew but seemed to be an ironic bit of fate. He was a wonderful dog and we adored him too. He was wild, sweet, busy and loved loved snow. He would have been 1 this month but we had to put him to sleep a few days after Christmas. He had a brain lesion/tumor he was probably born with that caused uncontrollable seizures. We had no choice but to let him go. In all honesty, he probably would have ended up as a house/guard the yard Pyr. He loved his naps on the couch, playing with his favorite squeaky toy named Lamb Chop and spent most of his time inside hiding his stash of toys and bones around the house. When he came inside, he always checked first to see if the stash was still where he left it. Then his 90 pound self turned into a pile of mush, lap dog and took over the couch, stretching even his toes to take up the entire thing- just in case you wanted to sit there too. 

He would have been 1 this month but we had to put him to sleep a few days after Christmas. He had a brain lesion/tumor he was probably born with that caused uncontrollable seizures. We had no choice but to let him go. I think he was sent to us to help us get over some of our grief about Andrew. He kept us busy, exhausted and entertained. I miss my dog. So much.

Once again we found ourselves with a giant gap in our lives. A few weeks before Christmas we got a call about a Great Pyrenees at a neighboring farm who was in a bad situation. We got side tracked because of the sadness around Christmas. Two days after Odin left us, the weather men predicted unbelievable bitter weather. As we found out more of this dog's situation there was no way we could leave him there so we decided to go meet him. He will be 3 in April and had been at that farm since he was 6 months old. Not fixed so he liked to roam, which led to him being chained to a post with the sheep. Then the sheep were sold so he was chained in a dark barn loft all alone, no food, water or bedding. He definitely needed a grooming and lots of food. But really? 2 days after losing Odin?

There was no way we were leaving him there even before we left. We knew that. When they brought him out of the loft, this beautiful dog who never even had a name put his paws on Jim's shoulders and just looked and looked into his eyes. Then he tucked his head under Jim's chin. Then the Pyr did the same with me. He was definitely a rescue in every sense of the Webster definition. 

His name is Lincoln and the picture above is him looking out the window of his new, warm, safe run in our sheep barn. He was eyeing up our Shire horse Bull. He is so sweet, just wants to please us and I see Andrew's old soul in those eyes. It will take time for the sadness and fear to disappear from his eyes but all we have to do to chase that away is hug him up and love him. 

...Rescue- of a soul
And this is Bobbi, Andrew's sister. She was devastated by the loss of her Andrew. She has not been herself since he left. Odin brought her some activity and wild puppy happy. She was leery of him because he was a clumsy guy who charged around in life just having fun- and knocking over people or critters that didn't see him coming. His brakes did not work very well! 

Lincoln is rescuing Bobbi. They get along well and I think Bobbi sees Andrew in him too. She is 11 years old and moving a little slower, had some health issues the past year but is still very much boss of the flock. Lincoln respects that. Bobbi runs around playing tag with him and so far he is very good with the sheep. He's rescuing Bobbi's old soul and giving her a friendship that will continue to grow. 

 a power that is believed to control what happens in the future
(Webster's Dictionary)

So was it destiny that we were blessed with Odin so soon after Andrew left, then Lincoln so soon after Odin left? I'm really not sure. I do know that there must be a reason things happened this way. Otherwise I am not sure how I would carry on with this job. We have many MANY good critter friends that give us joy every day. I am lucky. Beyond lucky. 

So really, who is rescuing who?

Friday, December 20, 2013

They have a barn right?

Hmmm, one would wonder right? When the temps are warm enough the sheep are more comfy outside than in the warm barn. This year they have twice the wool they normally would this time of year. I think we're in for a cold winter. When they sleep outside, it just makes ME cold in my bones. They call me a sissy farmer-I say they needs socks!

Time for some salad for breakfast. see the lunch line on the hill? 

Oopsie! Looks like Jolly sheep just rolled out of his nice dry bed in the barn? 
Good sheep! 

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season and stay safe as you travel! 
The Ryans and the Sheeps

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A horse is a horse of course of course.....

That is unless you are a llama? Named Sinbad?
Apparently he doesn't want me to tell his story? Oopsie! Sinbad doesn't know he is a llama. He thinks he is a horse. He grew up with several horses so that's the only life he's ever known. Apparently it can do weird things to a llama's perception of himself. 

And here is the rest of the story... Several years ago we adopted a beautiful, gigantic Shire horse named Bull. 

Bull's family had to re-home Bull and the rest of their animals. I was so excited to even THINK of owning a draft horse we scooped him right up. He settled in with our other two horses and promptly made friend with our little donkey Cassper, who bosses Bull around terribly. That big old 19 hands tall horse is last on the totem pole here? And his boss is little old crooked back Cassper? Bull is a typical draft horse- gentle and kind. 

A few weeks later we got a call from the gal who adopted Sinbad. We never met Sinbad, he had gone to his new home before we picked Bull up. She asked if we could take Sinbad too. Apparently her alpacas AND llamas were beating the tar out of Sinbad and she could NOT figure out why? Of course we said yes, we had heard how close he was to Bull. 

When Sinbad arrived I went into the barn and brought Bull out to the fence. They snuffled noses almost like they were saying, I am SO glad to find you-now we are home. It made me cry to see them greet each other that way. As if their hearts had been broken during their time apart. Sigh. Never try to tell ME animals don't grieve or remember each other!

As we've gotten to know Sinbad, we think we have the answer to why he did not fit into an alpaca farm. He truly thinks he is a horse. He is never far from Bull even though we have 7 of our other llamas out with the horses. Sinbad guards Bull AND the other horses, even Cassper. He really doesn't seem to worry much if the LLAMAS are worried though. He gets very upset if any of his horses are upset and will pace the fence with his ears back letting us know he does not appreciate OUR behavior. (we are usually just brushing them).

We were not expecting a llama/horse but he and Bull will be forever friends. I'm glad we can give that to them here. Watching Sinbad the confused (or maybe not?) llama go about his daily life is always a hoot. Specially if I am not handing out the treats fast enough! I adore that silly, mixed up fellow!

Smooches til next time!