You think you know your animals, after 13 years.
Nothing could have taken me more aback, when yesterday I learned something new.
This month we learned we have wolves again in our area. People are worried, cuz there are so many sheep and livestock that can be easily taken.
I thought, at first, "How cool, again, wolves in Deutschland, like the fairy tales."
Then I read an article about a rider being followed by 3 wolves for 20 minutes. For me, that is about 15 minutes too long.
I'm from the PNW and I know a bit about predators, mostly black bears who are nothing unless they have kids. Like here in Germany - wild boars abound, but they won't gorge you to death with their tusks unless you annoy their kids.
When the wolves came to our village I thought I would just stay alert to their location via the news. But I know I have a twitchy horse, likely to take a fence down in panic. Actually that's a typical horse.
Although not completely removed tonight my fears were reduced by a dumb dog.
I'm not a hater of dogs, just most of them. Cuz most of them bark at me when I am invited into their homes, and most of them jump on me, repeatedly lately, over and over.
This Monday our farrier arrived and out of his van, for the first time, popped a Dachshund. And what did it to? It ran to me and barked at me in my front door.
My farrier asked if I was scared of dogs.
I said in frank German, which is always frank, "This is extremely rude behavior."
He put the dog away in the van and trimmed my horses. And the next day my husband helped me formlate an eloquent response, about how leashed dogs are welcome here, as well as dogs who do not bark at the house owner.
Yesterday I was doing my chores and the Dachshund next door started barking at my animals who were hanging out by the shared neighbor fence. This happens often, my animals are used to being barked at by that dog. I've even had the dog come into my yard and bark at me up close in my garden. The dog barks like crazy at every person who walks up our street, and of course the mailman, so no one can move in this neighborhood without a very very loud announcement.
I looked over and saw that Mag was standing right next to the fence, with the dog right there on the other side.
He had his head down, ears pricked at the dog as it went, "Rahrahrahrahrah, Rahrahrahrahrah, Rahrahrahrahrah..." There is nothing like the screeching voice of a Dachshund.
Then something happened and Mag spooked. Perhaps the dog lunged at him? Mag spun around suddenly on his heels and bounced a few strides away.
At that same moment, the donkey rushed over to them. She brayed full volume at the dog and stood sideways between the dog and the horse, blocking them.
I couldn't believe it. I was certain, at that moment, that if there had been no fence, the donkey would have made contact with the dog.
Until this I'd only heard donkeys bray for things they want/need like food or friends. Just like horses. Never in aggression. But since the arrival of the wolves I'd read that donkeys will bray to intimidate a wolf.
I went to Bellis' side and started rubbing her, massaging her, praising her, and the entire time the dog went Rahrahrahrahrah, Rahrahrahrahrah, Rahrahrahrahrah....
Bellis did not leave the fence until the owners finally called their dogs in.
Bellis got lots of carrots and much much love from me.
I'm so pleased to learn that most likely, Bellis will protect herself and Mag, and us, from wolves.
Here she is, this week she spent a few afternoons soaking in the sun in below freezing temps: