|Fifi Jo and Pearl.|
I have to admit, I am not always the most observant person. When you feed critters in the dark, morning and night, things get missed. How I missed this, I have no idea!
Six of Pearl's adorable pups left in mid-October to live with their forever families. One pup stayed behind as a beloved house dog. After months of lots of attention, Pearl was back to full-time livestock guard dog (LGD) duty. I had her in my doe pen, but after her mate, Sunny, figured out how to escape the buck pen, I moved Pearl. Pearl seemed fine in the buck pen for a while, calm, happy, eating. Then the warm days of October slid into the cold days of November. Pearl wasn't as active, she spent most of her time in the goats' shelter snuggling a buckling. I finally took notice when Pearl ceased to leave the shelter to get her meals. My darling hubby suggested that she may be depressed, my naive mind said no.
Over Thanksgiving break, Sunny's sister came for a visit while her family was out of town. Having moved Sunny into our dog run during this time, I decided to move Pearl back to the doe pen. I figured she just didn't like my stinky bucks. Pearl was scrawny and moved slowly. I tucked her into the small shelter in the doe pen, where she began to shiver. My daily hurried pace had neglected to see that the pups and cold had taken their toll. I immediately grabbed the heat lamp from the chicken coop, extra blankets, and filled a bucket with fresh water and electrolytes. Maybe hubby was right, maybe Pearl was depressed, that and the bitter temperatures were just too much for her.
I began feeding her puppy food, and any scrap I could get my hands on. Pearl has been enjoying leftover turkey, meat stock, goat's milk, bread, gravy, pork bones, hot dogs and bacon grease. If it's fatty and yummy, Pearl gets it. Recently, I've moved Pearl into the house. With the cold and snow of late, I wanted her to gain weight without trying to stay warm. Her little shelter with the heat lamp is cozy, but it doesn't compare to a warm house with a roaring fire on a frigid night. I'm beginning to see sparks of Pearl return. She's drinking more, eating better, and is slowly gaining strength. The other night she woke me at 4:30 am, alerting me to something outside. She jogged around the house excitedly trying to keep some night creature at bay. This was the first glimpse of the LGD I know and love that I had seen in weeks.
Our journey to health will be a long one. Everyday Pearl grows a bit stronger. She's spending time with her daughter, Fifi Jo and enjoying lots of snuggle time from me. Pearl and I need each other. We are both struggling in different ways, yet we very clearly feel each other's hurt. I am so blessed to have Pearl in my life, my spirit animal. Get well dear friend!