Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Thunder Chickens

When we first bought the farm 6 years ago, my husband brought home 2 puppies.Were they cute! They are litter mates,brother and sister. We named them Molly and Manney. They are cattle dogs,Blue Heelers . I had little experience with large dogs, much less cattle dogs.All my dogs were small indoor dogs ,including Mindy a Jack Russell Terror/ier whom we still have. I got to work and did my research, which was not encouraging."Slow Maturing ,aggressive,energetic,hard to work with" YIKES! He had brought home the "Franken dogs".How could such sweet faces be so terrible? Then we found out the guy gave them away because they were inbred, that's another story.

The first year I came to know what was meant by "energetic and hard to work with". These dogs love to run. When we would go to the cow pasture for a walk they would chase each other and their faces would light up as they ran full speed (they have been clocked at 30mph) .Tongue flapping,drooling,tail flying ecstasy.Oh the joy, and then Manny would plow Molly under at full speed. They did listen when I called them to come, and took joy in going into their crate at night, anything to please me.The energy is why they are hard to work with.They loved to run straight at me.Getting plowed down by two 40 pound fur balls at 30mph is no fun.I had my feet knocked out from under me too many times. I kept waiting for them to grow out of the playful puppy stage.(here is where the slow to mature part comes in)They finally slowed down a bit at 4 years old.They did quit knocking me over when I started carrying a big stick for them to run into.I have yet to see them be aggressive towards a human, but kitty cats watch out!

I also found out they are very loyal ,loving dogs ,but not in the lick your face ,rub my belly,pandering sort of way. They have bonded with me, but they are not part of my family , I am a part of their pack. They like to be close at all times, touching me if possible,if not touching, they place themselves between me and the world. If I walk they are on my heels .If I am in the house they are outside the room I am in.I can look out a window and they are there.Go figure? They like their ears rubbed and will thank you by gnawing on you the same way they gnaw fleas.They don't mind to chase a stick but driving herds is what they love. They beg for the opportunity to put the horses up.They sneak and do it sometimes when they shouldn't.
The biggest problem is they think they should drive everything away from me. If you work with that its okay, but if you are trying to catch the horses ,you had better remember to put the dogs up.

They are 6 years old now and still love to run ,in small spurts, mostly they just lay near me. They are not protective ,but highly suspicious of strangers,and look protective. I wouldn't test it. Molly bit me one day trying to "help",( and I use that term loosely) ,me put a goats head back through the fence. They have jaws like vice grips. I wouldn't want one to bite me intending to do harm.They love all children. In fact that is the only time you will see them lick and wag their tails.
They are independent,burly, fierce looking dogs, until Tim yells at them, or worse yet it thunders.You know an hour before a storm gets here because they will hide up under me.They will knock you over to get behind me.Molly ,bless her soul, has even tried to jump her 60lb butt into my arms.That is why we call them "Thunder Chickens".

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