We had a bad Saturday at Good Life Ranch.
The day started off great. We got up early and Lindsey picked veggies from the garden to sell at the farm stand while I went about the normal morning chores. I went out to the goats’ paddock and moved them to a fresh area of grass. I fed and played with Maggie and Sgt Pepper after they ate for a few minutes before I went back to the house area to feed, water, and move all of the poultry. Then we set up the Dry Creek Farm Stand in the morning and had our very first customers. Then I left Lindsey to run the farm stand while I went to the airport to pick up our first interns of the summer. We had been eagerly awaiting their arrival. It sure will be nice to have 4 pairs of hands around here rather than 2 pairs.
When I got back with our interns, the goats were the first thing they wanted to see on the farm so we headed right to their paddock for the day. I ran up to turn off the fence charger and Lindsey walked the interns to the paddock. Lindsey called “Geoff! Come quick! Something’s wrong with Maggie!”
I ran over and to my sorrow found that Maggie had been killed. She lay dead right next to the fence line where a hole had been ripped in the fence. Blood spattered the ground on both sides of the fence and Maggie’s face and paws had been bitten. It was very clear that she had fought with something on the other side of the fence. Sgt Pepper and all of her goats were safe, but Maggie had died protecting them from something fierce enough to kill a 90-lb Great Pyrenees.
Lindsey and I tried to hold our emotions in check in front of our brand new interns who had spent less than 5 minutes on our farm so far, but we simply couldn’t.
Lindsey took the interns to the house to get them fed while I buried Maggie. I sobbed the entire time I was digging and had to stop several times when I started crying too hard to breathe and dig. When I had the hole dug I walked up to the house to get Lindsey so that we could both say goodbye. We cried some more, told her what a good dog she had been, and then I wrapped her in my favorite T-shirt and laid her to rest.
Maggie was an incredible dog and we were so lucky to have had her. Through all of the predator attacks we’ve endured this year, Maggie has not lost one goat – not even the kids. She was the most patient “mother” I’ve ever seen as she trained Sgt Pepper to guard goats even as he was more interested in pulling her backwards by her tail. I never saw her lose her patience with him. Maggie was very affectionate with her family and appropriately cautious with strangers. She always put her head between my arm and my body whenever I was working around the goats wanting to be petted. She pawed you with her front leg if she felt she was being given her due attention. Maggie patrolled every night and her bark always comforted me as I heard the coyotes howling because I knew the goats were safe with her.
You will be missed greatly.