Dogs on Duty

One minute I’m sound asleep, snuggled deep under the warm covers, the next I’m wide awake listening to the alarm bark of our livestock guardians. This bark is rapid and menacing, both dogs actively engaged in voicing their threat.

It’s 5:14 am, and completely dark. The heavy clouds blocking any ambient light from moon or stars. I cannot see where the dogs are, or what they are alarmed about, so I must listen and try imagine the scenario.

The sound is coming from the east side of the pasture, where it borders the utility easement. From within the dark house I can see tracks through the fresh snow telling me a moose, or two, have wandered through sampling the lilacs and birch in the front yard. My guess is the moose traveled to the fence before veering into the utility easement where willow (their favorite browse) grows in thick stands.


And then it stops. Sometimes, complete silence can be the loudest sound of all. I wait to see if it restarts. The silence continues. I pad through the dark house on bare feet to look out a window. The light on the barn shows me the sheep milling about in front of the barn with not a dog in sight.

I smile knowing the dogs have done their job, the enemy has been driven far enough away from the fence to no longer pose a threat. I also know the dogs are staying near that fence, silently watching, just in case that enemy tries to come back.


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