Since starting our farm in 2014 we have taken in several different breeds of adult LGD dogs who needed a home but we had a really hard time with socializing them with all our children, farm animals and visitors. We had them fixed and found them new homes and kept up our search for the perfect LGD. Even though we have always fostered and adopted dogs we finally bit the bullet bought a Great Pyrenees puppy.
Dad - Sarge is our faithful Great Pyrenees male. He has an amazingly calm and low-key demeanor and is kind to all his human and animal friends but will give his life defending them. He stands prepared like a powerful lion when he senses danger. Everyone who meets him falls in love! Although we couldn't ask for a better LGD, Great Pyrenees' make great family dogs also!
Mom - Suzy is our gentle Maremma female. She wants to be right in the midst of her flock and is a mother to all her human children and farm animal babies. She is most often seen cuddling the youngest or the smallest on the farm and always has a smile on her face! Due to her sweet bond to our special needs daughter she would make an amazing therapy dog!
Yesterday around 8am our sweet Maremma sheepdog, Suzy, began stage 1 of labor. She was giving all the text book signs: panting, restlessness, shivering, trying to hide away, etc.
After a call to our vet who confirmed all sounded normal and puppies were most likely on the way, getting impatient around 5pm, we called a mentor and friend who suggested we let mama go find her own birthing place to get things going. Suzy darted to the boy's room on Anthony's bed. We kept an eye on her and at 6:53pm we heard three loud yelps and out runs Suzy! As she ran across the dining room back towards her whelping pen a large plop and splash hit the ground. It was our first puppy! She shot out like a thrown water balloon leaving a large puddle of water, blood and fluid in her wake.
Click here to see Facebook Live video 1 - Puppies 4-7 being born
Click here to see Facebook Live video 2 - Puppy 9 being born
***Let me address the breeding/overpopulation before you think of us negatively:
No matter how kindly a breeder treats his or her animals, as long as dogs and cats are dying in animal shelters and pounds because of a lack of homes, no breeding can be considered “responsible.” - PETA
This statement is so easy to fully embrace. Breeders bad. Shelters good. I know because I used to live in this thought train. I was a foster for animals shelters for 10 years and worked in one for 4 years. I watched dogs of all shapes and sizes come in from well taken care of yet left behind to poorly neglected and abused. It was a hard and sad job. As I held the dying dogs and cats in my arms I cursed irresponsible breeders. I gave all dog "breeders" dirty looks and couldn't understand why they would continue in their "evil" ways.
Then our kids came. Part of me changed. I had those precious new lives to protect. Fostering dogs slowly waned, although I would previously jump on taking in the "problem" dogs now I couldn't trust most of our foster dogs behaviors around our kids. We continued to foster but much more cautiously and carefully than before.
Then our farm came and my previous love, fostering dogs, went completely extinct in our lives. My love for the unwanted animals in this world didn't diminish though. Now we were taking in unwanted farm animals, chickens, rabbits, pigs, goats. We learned about predators....the hard way. The sad way. We needed a livestock guardian dog to help us keep our rescued farm animals safe. We took in LGD breeds to foster and hopefully adopt, Great Pyrenees, Anatolian crosses, Maremma mixes who needed a home. But we quickly realized why they were passed around to begin with. After losing a flock or chickens, injuring our beloved pig, not being trustworthy with our children and being slave to their urge to roam each one of our LGD fosters were quickly fixed and rehomed to appropriate homes without animals or children.
We had a need that only a responsible breeder with well socialized puppies from working parents could meet.
We took the risk of being shamed by all our animal rescue friends and bought our first ever purebred puppy, a sweet Great Pyrenees male. We went to the farm where mama dog was sleeping in the chicken coop while pups ran and played amongst the large flock of chickens. Just beautiful. He grew up into the best dog we have ever had. I had fostered over 200 dogs and never had another dog like him in my home. He was well-breed, well-adjusted and well-socialized. He was raised up and trained the way we needed our dog to be. He didn't have baggage to unpack and strange quirks to work through like all our previous foster dogs had.
I was forever converted in that moment. There is a place for breeding, for if we don't we will lose high quality breeds developed for a purpose. If you want a house dog to cuddle or a walking buddy please go to your local shelter. But if you need a working border collie to herd your flock of 100 sheep, or a seeing eye dog, or a LGD to protect your farm find a responsible breeder who has that vision in mind and is breeding high quality working dogs for the tasks at hand!
There is overpopulation, absolutely. But there is also such a thing as responsible breeding. I have now personally walked both sides so you cannot shame me into thinking otherwise. I will never again look down on a sweet family just wanting a puppy from well-bred parents to raise with their kids or the college student who wants a shelter dog buddy. In our love for animals we lose sight of our love for humans, who are made in God's image. We choose to make them feel guilty for having desires and formed opinions that are different from our own. Let's just stop that on all fronts and choose to love God, people and animals. <3
Posted by Shannon, owner/operator