Estimated 10/1/2011 - 8/3/2023
We said goodbye to one of our Sanctuary Dogs this week -- the inconquerable Miss Jaycie. She was one of the Magnificent Seven who came to us in October 2016 from a 9,600 acre ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Seven LGDs, all unsocialized with people but excellent at guarding goats. While their original owner didn't socialize them, he did get most of the dogs sterilized, and all dogs vaccinated. But when he sold his goats and his property, he left the dogs there. The new owners were planning commercial development, so they didn't need or want any livestock guardian dogs. They hired a cowboy to come in on horseback to round up and rope each dog and load them in a cattle trailer. Once all seven dogs were captured, the cowboy made the long drive to Windsong Ranch.
Jaycie and her sister Kerri were two of the most skittish, and it took a long time to earn their trust. It was a full 7 months before I had made enough progress to get the sisters to walk on a leash and go to the vet. Of course, I only had that luxury of time because their original owner had taken them to the vet in the past -- I have to emphasize how grateful I am that he was responsible enough to do that much. It's hard to understand leaving 7 dogs behind, but they had been given proper care, including preventives for heartworms.
One by one, the other Magnificent Seven were adopted, but Jaycie's turn never came. She was an excellent LGD, and sweet as can be, but her shyness worked against her. As it turned out, it was probably for the best, because in 2019, we learned that Jaycie's limp was not simple arthritis. X-rays taken by our orthopedic vet showed that she had been shot at some point in the past, and the femoral head on her back right leg had lost blood supply and was deteriorating. FHO surgery helped, but her mobility was always compromised. One of the best things about being a Sanctuary Dog HERE is that Jaycie had the freedom to continue to live and work in the pasture, but she was always part of a team of LGDs, so she was never at risk, and her slow movements never put our goats at risk.
After her original friends moved on to their new lives, we paired Jaycie with Crockett, and the two of them became the best of friends, remaining so for the rest of Crockett's life. His passing in October 2021 was hard on Jaycie, who was about 10 years old at that time. But she continued to take solace in her goats, always with other, younger LGDs providing protection for the goats AND Jaycie. This summer, when Tracer came to Windsong Ranch, he seemed to decide that Jaycie needed his protection, and he often followed her from barn to pasture, checking on her, making sure she was OK. These last few days since Jaycie made her final trip to the vet, Tracer seems to be looking for her, missing her calm presence. The barn kitties are missing her too, just as her humans are. But the final kindness that we could show to Jaycie was to help her cross the Bridge after her body failed her. When she needed help getting up, we knew her days were numbered, and when she struggled to walk without stumbling or falling down, we knew it was time to say goodbye.
She has been part of our lives for almost 7 years, but now we hope she has been reunited with her friend Crockett and her sister Kerri, who crossed the Bridge a couple years ago. When we take a dog in, our hope is always that we can find the perfect home/family/farm/ranch for them. But we commit to each dog for their entire life, whether that's living here with us or just having us as a safety net in case things ever change in their adoptive home. We made Jaycie a Sanctuary Dog when it became clear that she would need ongoing care for her ortho issues, and we count ourselves lucky that we've been able to be her family for so many years. RIP, Jaycie. We'll miss you.
Estimated 6/15/2010 - 10/4/2021
Crockett was dumped at the shelter in Waco after his owner sold his goats. He had no more need for a livestock guardian, so rather than give Crockett the chance to retire and become a family pet, the guy just dumped him at the shelter. Crockett was not a friendly dog, having lived his whole life in the pasture, not being handled. So he would not have made it out of the shelter through their regular adoption program. Thankfully, the shelter's rescue coordinator knew about Bluebonnet and the work we do with LGDs, so she contacted us and asked if we could take him. I picked him up on 9/15/2015.
At Windsong Ranch, Crockett guarded our goats as we got to know him. He was a reliable LGD, so he was adopted, but then was returned when he had a minor injury and wouldn't let his adopters handle him to check out the injury or take him to the vet. I went to pick him up and took him to the vet, got him treated, and brought him home. In time, he was adopted again, but then was returned again. This time because he frightened the adopter's family. Crockett is a bit of a curmudgeon -- really a one-woman dog. So he came back to Windsong and went back to work in our pasture.
Then in the summer of 2019, Crockett came in from the pasture with a broken leg. He had surgery to repair it, but somehow managed to break the same leg AGAIN within a week. He had been confined to the barn, but maybe the break occurred because the external fixator was so heavy, making it difficult for Crockett to move around much. So back to the vet he went, and this time, his broken leg was amputated. He spent a couple of months recuperating in the house, but was VERY happy to get back to the pasture. Not because we put him there, but because that's where he wanted to be.
I worried about him being able to get around on three legs, especially since he had arthritis in the knee of his remaining back leg. I would have been glad to keep him in the house, but he had enough of that during recuperation, and as soon as I gave him a chance to go into the pasture, he took it. Every day, I took him into the barn to feed him, and offered to let him go back to the house with me. But every day, he chose to go back to the pasture. He was safe there, because there were three other LGDs in the pasture with him, so no worries about predators thinking about crossing our fences.
Crockett lived his life on his terms, and we were lucky that he chose us as his family.