Yesterday was a day I'd like to forget but probably never will. We arrived very early to the farm and found our three dogs (Bear, Lambchop and Toby) in the pasture with the goats and sheep. We haven't figured out yet how they managed to get in there. The fence all looked secure and we have barbed wire run at the top and bottom. But I guess a determined dog will find a way.
By the time we arrived, those dogs had killed five goats including beautiful Grumpy. :( They had ripped her two babies out of her and were eating them. They also killed four other pregnant girls. One was way in the back of the pasture so it's obvious they chased her back there. I'm not going to describe the horrifying scene. I wish I hadn't seen it at all.
We got the dogs out and took care of the goats. My poor babies! They had such great personalities, always anxious to say hello and get a little treat. I can't believe they are gone in such a senseless way. My two children took it particularly hard when we had to break the news to him. My 10-yr old son has a very tender heart toward animals and he just kept replaying what he imagined the goats felt and saw. He was sad that pregnant little Sneezy never had the chance to deliver her first baby. And Happy, who had her first baby killed a few days after birth last year, never had the chance to raise a baby. It went on and on. What can you say? I did the best I could to offer some comfort. He finally fell asleep, asking God to take his nightmares away. He just looked at me as I was walking out of his room and said, "I wish God would let us have this day over again so we could stop everything from happening." Me too, baby. Me too.
After an afternoon of discussion, my husband and I made the difficult decision to rehome the dogs. We have a lot of innocent animals and we didn't feel like we could securely protect them from the dogs at all times. The unfortunate thing is that the dogs are wonderful with kids and people. No aggression at all! I guess not all dogs are meant to be farm dogs. Chalk it up to another tough lesson learned by inexperienced farmers. We'll know better next time!
The only bright spot yesterday is that we now have a kitten! This precious little kitten showed up at my children's school a few weeks ago and had been living in the Kindergarten classroom where my daughter is. All the kids loved her and the teachers said she was the sweetest kitty. The entire school had been putting out flyers (it's a small, private school so going around the neighborhood and hanging Lost Kitten signs is okay!) and trying to find the owner. No one claimed her. They've been desperately trying to find her a home and kept asking us to take her. We thought about letting her live on the farm in our house but were afraid of what the dogs would do if she got out. After the dogs left yesterday, that was no longer an issue so I went up to the school and got her.
We named her Gabby and she's a little tortoise shell kitten. So cute! She spent the whole afternoon going from one lap to the other and purring away. What a sweetie.
So we have five less goats and three less dogs but gained a little kitten. I'm thinking a herd of goats would be a great Christmas gift for the kids! And me!