Foxy turned up on my doorstep as a stray pup on a cold winters evening in 2008. Bizarrely it was on the eve of my birthday when the temperatures were well below freezing. I didn't bring her into my house because I thought she would return to her mother when she was cold and hungry enough. However, she remained on my doorstep overnight, and when I opened my door the following morning she stood there looking at me shivering with cold. I immediately led her to the warmth of my stove, fed and watered her, then went to visit my neighbours to see who was missing a puppy. To my amazement nobody was, so where did she come from? I personally believe that she came as a gift on my birthday, my little miracle that has never left my side since that night.
My beautiful Foxy playing on the 'Bear Ridge' meadow :)
Foxy is becoming like an idle teenager. She does do a good job fending off sparrows and cats from her territory, but other than that she is always looking for mischief chewing cardboard boxes and digging holes! Today all that changed after I signed her up with my neighbour Pista baci for some shepherd dog training! We met early this morning and slowly made our way to the edge of the village with his flock. Foxy was bursting with energy and desperate to start her first lesson!
I have to say I was astonished how quickly Foxy picked up her appointed tasks with minimal education. She seemed to work on instinct and observation and was very eager and willing. Berci, Pista's dog gave a perfect demonstration on how to move the sheep and goats up the hill. Foxy, then did the same but with such vigour that the flock disappeared into the horizon without eating a single blade of grass! This five minute sprint usually takes Pista three hours of leisurely contemplation whilst his flock grazes! Anyway it was a good first effort and I was extremely proud of Foxy's obvious eagerness to work.
There were several other shepherds on the hill with their small flocks, each with their own dogs. Foxy immediately attracted attention, especially being a girl and new to this exclusive fraternity.
After a storming first day of shepherd dog training Foxy started to develop credibility problems by day two. Having never tackled or associated with goats or sheep before, she was a little bewildered when a goat questioned her authority!
The problem was Foxy blinked first!
That was it, she had let the flood gates open and then the sheep joined in too!
Oh how Pista laughed. His goats and sheep had seen all this before. A young upstart of a dog throwing its weight around!
These two cheeky goats decided to head for cover and find some tasty morsels at the same time. Foxy was determined to flush them back out but they were having none of it either!
It just got worse when even the goats at the lower end of the pecking order were sticking the boot in as well!
So Foxy had to go to one of the bigger guys to seek some expert advice. Real sheepdog in Romania have to carry a wooden pendant by law, so Foxy knew straight away that this guy knew what he was talking about.
I wanted this to be a fair contest with no favours bestowed on Foxy. If she wants to become a shepherd dog she has to learn the hard way knocks and all. However, I knew Pista was feeling sorry for her, so decided to have a quiet word with one of his goats to go easy!
At last, with all the endless advice and the cooling talk to the goats Foxy started to regain control! We were on the edge of the meadow next to the tree line (not far from where I saw a bear 3 weeks ago!) when Foxy surged into action, taking on two of these critters at the same time!
Time for a well earned rest!
Foxy posing on my Land Rover when she was a puppy :)