SWEET GOAT FARM
Anne Petersen from Rosasharn Farms in Rehoboth, MA has raised award-winning Nigerian Dwarf goats and Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs for nearly 30 years. After seeing her numerous dogs at work protecting her herd in her barns and fields, we purchased a male puppy (Bear) from her in May 2010. To keep him company in the pen/barn, we brought home his half-sister (Gabby) that November.
Bear is a strapping, handsome boy, weighing in at about 115 lb. with a thick, luscious coat that allows him to lounge in deep snow comfortably. Gabby is a petite sweetheart who loves to give kisses and flop onto her back for belly rubs.
Great Pyrenees are very smart (and very stubborn) dogs with a regal history. Beginning in the 1600's they were used extensively in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain to guard large herds of sheep from predators like wolves and bear. Great Pyrs are so smart that they could be left alone with the herd for days and be trusted to protect them.
In our experience, their intelligence can make for challenging training, especially in a dog with a strong personality. But they are generally gentle giants and exhibit deep love and affection for their human owners and the barn livestock they’re asked to guard. Many trainers believe that livestock guardian dogs should have minimal human contact because that somehow makes the dogs soft or spoiled. We disagree. Our Pyrs were born in a barn and lived in our barn 24/7 from the day we brought them home, but we spent many hours socializing them with our family as well, so they know they’re an integral part of our human, other canine, and barn families. Although our Pyrs loved coming into the basement for visits during their first winter when they were young pups whose fur was still growing in, they’re generally miserable if confined to the house post-surgery or for any other short-term health reason. Pyrs grow a 2-layered coat in the winter -- a fluffy undercoat for insulation and long, hollow guard hairs for loft, which keep them dry. Bear is happiest when sitting on a mound of snow in 20’ weather in a sleet storm. We often joke that in the event of a power outage, we could snuggle in the barn with the Pyrs and stay perfectly warm.
In addition to the Great Pyrs, we have always had Boxers as house dogs. Our current house boxer is Ollie, a sweet but dumb 100-lb. lug.
IN MEMORY: We bid farewell in January 2011 to our beloved Boxer matriarch, Greta, and in May 2012 to her sweet younger brother, Bentley. We cremated Greta and buried her ashes with her brother where their grave has a serene view of the back pastures. RIP, sweet pups, you will always be close in our hearts.
In our minds Greta's days are now filled with runs on the beach, jaunts in the woods, naps in the sun, eating still-warm roast chicken, roughhousing with Dad and making her funny Gremlin growls, licking her brother's face clean, and rubbing her wet or dirty or freshly bathed body on the living room couch slipcovers.
Bentley is busy eating crab shells on the beach, chasing deer in the woods, barking at the vacuum cleaner, thumping his tail hello, begging for cheese, and waiting patiently to lick the ice cream bowl clean. We will always remember his crooked jaw, snaggle tooth and dangling tongue; his expressive tail; and his sweet, sweet disposition.