Yesterday evening, Friday, we arrived back at Sawmyl Synders Farm and one dog greeted us, Syndee, the big Anatolian. No Sydnee, little Akbash. We unloaded the truck and entered the cabin I restrained Syndee from accosting my wife. I looked around. I called. I listened. It was dark. There was no Sydnee. I went back in and got one of my newly purchased mini-flashlights. No need. With the other lights that come on at night, easy to see a pure white puppy even on a perfectly black night. The pup just out of sight back near the garden and the coops. But she didn’t greet me. Something was awry. Something was dead.
Sydnee finally did it. She let her instincts and nature take over. And now the worst thing, the most nightmarish thing had happened. Laying in the grass, lifeless, an animal killed by its protector. An eight week old poulet in the jaws of a four month old guardian dog. The little chick was too small to survive its first day outside, having escaped its protective coop. The young puppy, too young to know the consequences of going too far with its animal antics. The master of both too inept to secure the chicken run against the escape or anticipate the horror of a confrontation with his beloved charges. The guilty must be dealt with.
A chicken killing dog must be stopped, no matter young or old, no matter if it is the first time. But first, what happened? I wanted to let my maturing poulets out of their 8X8 Coop III but the attached chicken run had unrepaired damage from the May floods and also the since departed billy goat. I inspected the run closely two days ago and made the repairs yesterday. The repairs consisted of holes torn in the chicken wire, separation of chicken wire from fence and fence panels, and movement of panels from their prior attached positions. I spent an hour and thought I was thorough. The poulets were released and reluctantly explored the outdoors, safely in the fully enclosed chicken run. I checked on them several times that afternoon. I put a waterer in the chicken yard to encourage their adventuring. All was well, until the night.
Just when you turn your back. Just when you let your guard down. Just when you think it is safe. The puppy is a guardian as much as it is predator. A friend can be trusted but he also must be watched. The needy must be given generosity but their desperation often exceeds their gratitude. Just as I have faith that my dogs will do their duty, I must also remember their nature. Just as I trust in my friends, I must remember that they are not family. Just as I want to give to the needy, neither do I want to be taken. Each encounter has a double edge. Each edge has the ability to heal as well as cut. Do not fall asleep expecting either health or harm. Do wake up to the possibilities of both from those you choose to allow in your circle.