Well, in recent weeks, a new addition has been added to the homestead. A stray dog showed up at the homestead. Not just any dog, but a huge one! When we first saw him, he had been walking along the state route about a mile from our home. He was wearing a collar and dragging a heavy chain. Evidently, he had broken loose and had wandered off from his home. Off and on over the next couple of weeks, we would get glimpses of him. At some point, the collar and chain had been removed. Then, a couple weeks ago we found him in our yard. Oh joy. A huge stray dog. The kids were thrilled since their dog died just before Christmas. I wasn’t sure if we should try to keep him at first until I realized just how friendly he was.
I called the sheriff department to find out what we needed to do before taking the dog in as our own. In our area, there is a huge problem with people either dumping off dogs they can no longer afford or want. They also told me that it is becoming more common that families who have to move and cannot take their dog, will simply abandon the dog. The lady at the sheriff’s office said that if no one had claimed or tried to catch the dog in the past weeks, it was likely an abandoned dog that broke its chain. If we wanted to keep the dog, simply consider it ours and let that be that. If an owner shows up, just present them with any vet bills for reimbursement.
Well, it has been 2 weeks now that we have had the dog. He is so lovable. Pookie is already bonding with him. I named him Zeus. He just has that regal and powerful look about him. I was thrilled to learn that he is a Newfoundland. We are estimating his age to be about 2-3 years old. When he first showed up, he chased cars terribly on our dirt road. Now, he is calming down. He stays outdoors most of the time. At night, he keeps the coyotes away. He sleeps near our front door on the porch and hangs out with the kids whenever they are playing outside.
I tried to get him indoors but he won’t come in. I did manage to half carry him into the house one day but he was happier outdoors. Training him is proving to be easy. He had no training prior to coming here. He didn’t even know the most basic of commands, such as sit. The training is going well however. Newfoundlands are very easy to train as they are quite smart. They are a true gentle giant. Very tolerant of children. Later this spring, I will take him to be groomed. Living where we do, he will get too hot in the summer with all that black fur. So, it is recommended that we get his fur trimmed by early summer. When cold weather comes back around, his fur will have grown back in time to keep him warm next winter.
Zeus is already becoming a much loved family member. We are fencing in a large yard area, about a 1/8 acre in size for a play yard for the kids. The fenced area includes a portion of the side porch. On that porch, we have Zeus’ food and water dishes as well as setting up a sleeping area for him. Once completed, Zeus will be living in that fenced area to prevent him from chasing cars or wandering off. The porch area will give him plenty of protection from the weather as well. When we are out at the garden or working around the property, he will be running loose to hang out with us.
Each day when the kids go outdoors to play, Pookie looks for Zeus. Being as he is a new-to-us dog, I wondered how he would respond to Pookie’s stimming. Zeus ignores it. Instead, he follows Pookie around or lays down near when Pookie is sitting. I wonder how difficult it would be to train Zeus to be a service dog for Pookie. He has the right temperament for it. Whether we do that or not, Zeus will be a great companion for the kids here at the homestead.