Harvey is Amazing!

Harvey Our Guard Dog (click Picture for larger size)

Harvey is our guard dog who is an Anatolian and Great Pyrenees mix.  He spends his entire life living with goats and currently has 16 goats to care for.  A typical day for Harvey begins with his breakfast early morning.  While he is eating, we also feed the goats a little hay so they are distracted from harassing him for his food.  After breakfast, he normally will roam the pasture, checking it to see if it is safe for his goats, if it isn’t safe he leads the goats back to the barn, but if it is safe the goats stay and browse.  He will normally stay with the goats during the day, but occasionally he needs a little break from the goats, so if he feels the pasture is safe he will spend some time relaxing in the barn while the goats are in the pasture.  Nighttime is the busiest part of his job and quite often you can find him barking almost all night long if he feels a dangerous predator is in the area

The past couple of weeks I noticed he wasn’t eating well.  Normally in the summer when it is hot he will go through periods of time without eating much, but it was strange for him to do this during the winter, especially since our temperatures have been around zero degrees at night and only reaching up to twenty degrees during the day.  I fed him some canned food which he ate one night when our temperatures dropped below zero but that only lasted a couple days before he again quit eating.  We took him to the veterinarian who just did surgery and removed a 3 lb tumor and his spleen.  We are now not sure how much more time on this planet he has.  One option is chemotherapy which will only extend his life so probably not worth the side effects for him, so we will just let him be and love him as long as we can.

The amazing thing is that even though Harvey was not eating nor feeling good he continued to do his job guarding the goats.  He continued to patrol the pasture in the mornings, bark all night because the coyotes were around, and lead the goats back to the barn in the evening.  I can recall a time when I was at the barn with him one summer evening while the goats were on the other side of the pasture.  Both he and I heard a strange noise, he ran out of the barn in a second, ran to the other side of the pasture, and in another couple minutes leading the goats back to the barn for safety.

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