Off of the Lilly pad Instinct Prevails:
Toad Leaps into Action
I am unable to share this story without giving some background. Ch. Birinciís Big Green Toad (AKA Toad) was the only puppy to survive in her litter. She was bottle fed, hand-raised and slept on the couch with Mommy #1, Louise from two days old. She was never placed in the goat field and never asked to go near the livestock. At eight weeks old, she was out for a walk with the rest of the house dogs and was bitten on the throat by a copperhead snake. The recovery from the snake bite meant Toad was spoiled even more, as we never knew if she would make it to the next day. So, if there were ever a dog that we would have never been asked to work the goats, it would be Toad Ė making her even more remarkable.
Back in January 2005, we were in the coldest part of the year. We were not expecting a kidding season out of our does, as our buck was too young at the time of the herdís heat cycle and we had separated them, just to avoid a winter kidding this year. The does were big, but none had milk so we figured that we finally did it. We skipped a winter kidding season.
Well, one night we let Toad loose (she was approximately 10 months old) with the other house dogs to go to the bathroom. However, Toad never returned. We called and called and she never came. So I grabbed a flashlight and went on the hunt. I went into the goat field and called hoping that I would spot her through the dark crisp air. Then I heard a growl, followed by a bark. It was deep and with purpose. My thinking was that whatever had her upset was something that I wanted to avoid. I called her again and she would not come. She kept going into the barn and coming out and growling. I retreated to the house to grab a weapon for protection. Since I donít believe in real weapons, I grabbed the poker from the fireplace and headed back out with my mother in the rear. ďI canít see what she is barking at, but whatever it is Ė it isnít coming closer. Something really has Toad upset,Ē I stated to my mother. I followed Toad to see if I could find whatever her distraction was. She continued going in and out of the barn and coming out ready to charge. Finally, I saw the problem. There was a hole in our back field and a school of foxes had charged the herd and came up near the barn. She was not going to allow them near the goats. I fixed the fence and brought Toad in the house. Then I went back down to the barn to ensure that everything was secure.
While in the barn, I heard a noise coming out of the open stall that Toad kept running back to. Sure enough, we did not avoid a winter kidding. The foxes came in because they could smell the placenta of the freshly born kids. Toad did two things that night. She kept the foxes away from our goat herd and the new babies, and she alerted me to the birth of our new kids.
For a dog that eats whipped cream and rocks in a chair every day, her instincts won over her that night. That was the first time Toad disobeyed us and refused to come. Thank goodness she did!
If you would like to return to the Birinci Anatolians homepage click here.