Farley’s Arrival

Reader Contribution by Keba M Hitzeman
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Farley came to our farm literally by accident. A section of fence had gotten knocked down by some heavy winds, and our 2 Pyrs escaped. One, our 5-year-old male, decided he had somewhere to be and was found about halfway up the road, hit by a car. Not the best way to start the day – being woken up by the sheriff’s deputy pounding on the door at 5:30am. Thankfully, our female had stayed nearby and we were able to catch her.

That left her on her own, and she was too young to be guarding on her own. I’m frantically making phone calls and sending messages, hoping that I can find a Pyr, even a puppy at this point. When the dust settled, I had appointments to see a 3-month-old male puppy and a 2-year-old male who was guarding goats. Of course, they were in opposite directions. We went to see the puppy on Wednesday, brought him home, then went to see the adult on Friday.

His current owner was downsizing her sheep and goat flocks. Farley came to her with a flock of sheep, and had an incident with those sheep that ended up with his back left leg mostly non-functional. She put him in with the goat younglings, and he got around as best as he could – basically a tripod, but with all 4 of his legs. I maintained the whole way down there (a 3-hour drive one way) that I was prepared to say no, but as soon as I saw his sweet face that all went out the window. We talked with the lady about him, discussed sheep, goats, and LGDs, made sure this was what she wanted to do, then loaded him up for the 3-hour trip home.

The first night, we kenneled him next to the puppy in the field, where they could meet each other, our female, and the flock. The next day we did formal introductions, and the 3 of them acted like they had been working together for years. After a couple more nights in the kennel, we left Farley out with Mattie. The puppy wasn’t happy to still be in his own kennel at night, but when you’re the smallest in the field, you need some protection.

A trip to the groomer, a vet trip for vaccinations, then a discussion on what to do about his back legs. Our vet recommended another local vet who does acupuncture, so I made the appointment to see if she thought he could be helped.

We’ve been taking him every couple of weeks for the last few months, and it has been amazing to see his progress. He went from not putting any weight on his back left leg (holding it up underneath him), to putting almost full weight on it when walking. He “bunny hops” when running still, but the improvement has been remarkable. He runs and plays with the other Pyrs, and even tries to do the “Pyr rear.” He only gets a few inches off the ground, but I’ll take it.

Will he regain full use of that leg? I doubt it – it happened almost 2 years ago, and that’s a long time for an injury to cause permanent damage. Has his quality of life improved? Without a doubt. Don’t get me wrong, this has been an investment. But he can now do his job better and, at the risk of personification, seems to be a happier dog than when we first met him.

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