I hate writing these posts. I hate saying goodbye. Today we lost a friend. With the most beautiful eyes, our Goliath.
Let's go back to the beginning.
We bought the farm in 2007. We got chickens. We decided we wanted sheep, but knew we needed to get livestock guardian pups to raise with them. We are big fans or rescuing dogs, and thought we would get some pups through a Pyrenees rescue. They told us they would not adopt pups to folks like us, who had no experience with Pyrenees. Sigh.
Two weeks later, they called us. They had a breeder in Missouri who bred Pyrs for livestock guarding, and she was in trouble and needed to rehome all of her dogs. Boom. 21 hours in the car, and we brought home our two goofballs. They were 10 weeks old, Atlas was already 25 pounds, and Goliath was 21 pounds.
This was him in the car ride home, he already had that big scar on his nose, probably given to him by his own mother, an early sign he was a trouble maker! These poor boys had likely never been exposed to people. We stopped to let them do their business on the side of the road, and Atlas cried like someone was beating him. Goliath was a lot more OK with being handled. He was always the more friendly of the pair.
Goliath was the sentinal. He was the eyes and the ears and the voice. Atlas was the guard, he stayed with the sheep, he moved them to safety. Goliath sounded the alarm. At EVERYTHING. No bird could land on our property. Nothing could clear the fence. He actually sounded off so much, we ended up in court. Him and his brother had to each have one vocal chord removed. Goliath kept on barking, but it was much quieter. He did mature a LOT and stopped barking at every starling and killdeer on the pasture, but he never stopped working. Or playing, he really was a goof, quite a bit of the time.
His eyes, I have no pictures that show it. There was always something so amazing about his eyes. They were a beautiful amber color I have never seen in a dog before. And they were kind and happy.
He was an amazing livestock guardian. But he spent most of his life trying to convince me to be a house dog. Just like his brother, he was petrified of thunderstorms and gunfire, and came in the house with us often. He loved a warm fire on a cold night, and loved for anyone to pet him.
You couldn't give this dog a bath. He would go straight outside and roll in a patch of dirt, and be worse than when you started. But he needed baths, because he LOVED to wade in the stink pond in the middle of the pasture. Sometimes he would be half white and half black with grime from the stink pond! AW, we loved him anyway!
We lost his brother almost a year ago. I was so concerned about how Goliath would handle it. He wouldn't talk to me for almost a week. Turned his back to me no matter where we were. I finally had a heart to heart and told him I was sorry, and that I did it so Atlas wouldn't suffer anymore. His smile came back and he stopped ignoring me. These guys were what made our farm really real. To have them both gone is just so hard.
As a young pup, this dog ran away all the time! We never thought we'd survive, chasing these dogs down all the time. But eventually, they chilled out and started sticking around.
Goliath was always alert. Can you see Atlas hiding in the tall grass?
Until today. He laid down one last time. His body was done. We had no idea he was that close.
In recent weeks, his hearing had pretty much disappeared. He could no longer hear me call to him. I had to seek him out each night to find where he was sleeping and coerce him into sleeping in the barn. I knew he would be safe and warm in there. Just not OK for an old dog to be sleeping out in the snow.
Today, he laid down. And he couldn't get back up. We got to spend his final moments with him, surrounding him with love. It was just his time, I guess. I am thankful he allowed us to be with him, and that I didn't come to the farm to find him alone in the cold. I would never forgive myself.
I don't know what life is like without him. It's always hard to wake up the next day and face life without a dog. He was faithful, loyal, hard working and never ever let us down. We didn't teach him a thing, his ability to guard and protect all came from his heart. It was all him.
We were lucky to have him. We didn't deserve him. We loved every minute of being owned by him. Make no mistake, they own us, not the other way around. I am so glad we were his.