Ugh. I’m still sick.  I hate being sick, although it is nice to have an excuse to stay in bed all day once in a while.  If you are indeed able to do so.  If not, then being sick is a real pain!  I have had to drag myself through the last three days, and then today – when I finally had a day free of appointments or job shifts – I had to move myself and the dogs to a friend’s house to house sit.  I had agreed to do this several weeks ago, when I was feeling well.  This morning it was all I could do to crawl out of bed, load the dogs and drive over here.  And I’m going to have to go home in a few hours to get food for the dogs, feed my cats (which I left behind), and do my internet work because I can’t get on-line here, and pack clothes etc.  They left me 8 million passwords and technical information, but I can’t figure out how to configure my computer to get past all their security barriers.  Sigh.  Hopefully I will at least be able to watch TV later – that is all coded and safety protected as well.

I was looking forward to house sitting here because they have a huge fenced yard.  Having a yard makes my life so much easier, and I can’t wait to have one of my own.  They have a nice family room with nearly all glass walls looking out into the yard, and the kitchen is the same way with a huge table (great for work).  The yard backs onto a park, so there are no houses directly behind us.  I look out at trees, leaves and grass.  Very pretty.  I thought at the very least I could lie on the couch today, with the dogs outside, and do some work or sleep.  However, along with this house I am caring for two extra dogs (and a cat and a rabbit).  Not a big deal, except these dogs are not in the same routine as mine.  Plus they bark.  And bark and bark.  So much for sleeping all afternoon.  Every time I start to nod off, one of them sets off the alarm.  Their young dog (a lab mix of some sort) knows how to escape the yard so can’t be left unattended out there.  She is not taking well to being confined in the house and is whining and barking to be let out.  When I have more energy, I’ll see if I can figure out how she’s escaping, then block up the hole.  That should make things easier (and quieter).

The other dog I am sitting is a four year old LGD (livestock guardian dog).  They adopted him at around 4 months of age and he’s a sweet as can be – all 150lbs of him.  He also absolutely loves me.  Which is a good thing considering his size and inherent programming to guard.  I was a little worried about coming into the house with no one home this morning, but he thankfully was fine with me.  I know many LGDs can be very sweet, but in general they are a collection of breeds that I don’t trust, at least not on their own property.  Off their turf, they are often very gentle and benign.  But when they are on guard duty, watch out!  The LGD who used to protect the flock where I train (he died this winter, which is why I can now train there on my own) would not let any living being into the field with the sheep, other than three people (I was not one of them) and border collies.  He seemed to be fine with any border collie, which was lucky as a couple of mine went through the fence to the sheep, meeting him for the first time as they were chasing stock.  I know of border collies who have been killed by LGDs doing this.  By LGDs on their own farm.  

The LGD I am caring for this week is on the mild side, but he has shown himself willing to bite a perceived intruder, even one he has met before.  Tonight he grabbed my arm in excitement when I was playing ball with the other dogs.  He is tall enough to take my upper arm in his mouth without lifting his head, and having him get nippy from stimulation is not something I care to encourage.  He also barks at everything.  I quite like this dog when he’s calm, but I don’t know that I could live with the barking, and the liability of having an LGD.  Perhaps it’s different in the country, where you have threats to stock, and where it is isolated enough that the dog is not barking every 2-3 minutes.  

Edited to add: I am posting this several hours after writing the above, as I am now in my own home to feed my cats and pick up a few things.  I found the hole in the fence and blocked it up, but then discovered that this puppy is noisier outside than in!  She is a mix of something stubborn and independent, perhaps a northern breed (she has a curly tail) and pays absolutely no attention to my efforts to get her to shush.  I may end up coming home during the days to work and rest here, and just staying there at night.  Hopefully the dogs will get into a better routine after a few days!

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