Friday, October 5, 2012

In Defense




Due to some complications in my life, I have not been blogging much lately. I will spare you the details.

One night, however, was noteworthy. Randyman had been called away to fight fire again, this time in the next state. Home alone, I had all the chores to do myself. It took a little longer than usual, of course. Before dark, coyotes started howling close-by. Their voices rose in crescendo and through out the night, I could hear them from all directions, surrounding us. About midnight it got so bad that Cletapotamus returned to stay close to the sheep so nothing could get by him. This seems to be a mutual understanding between the Maremmas, when things get out of hand. He had a shallow slash across his muzzle where it looked like he might have been in a scrap. He’s never gotten one from play-fighting before, so I suspected he had engaged a threat. I was grateful for his heavy coat which acts as a kind of shield against fangs and claws.
Bruno stayed out alone, running the perimeter trying to keep the predators at bay. I spent a sleepless night, both creeped out by the howling and worrying about Bruno, who was now on his own and outnumbered.



Potamus was still with the sheep in the morning when I went to feed. Bruno was nowhere to be found. I filled all the waterers and served all the animals and could still hear an occasional coyote as late as 9 in the morning. I’ve never found a coyote howling to be ‘romantic’, like in the songs and movies. I think of my neighbor’s small dog in California, that was snatched in the middle of the day just 3 yards from where we were talking and the kids in cities who have been stalked and attacked, as well as the hundreds of thousands of domestic animals that have been slaughtered by them. I think of when I have witnessed a pack harrying a cow and engage  her in fending them off, while the others came around behind her and killed her calf she was so valiantly trying to protect. I think of the calves we have found that became warm meals for coyotes while still in the process of being born. The coyote is a canny beast who can adapt to any situation and thrive, including city living. I worry about my stock and my pets and my LGDs. Several small dogs on the ranch have been lost to the packs. For someone whose life and experience is far from living with the reality of the threat, their perception might be different.
It was not a restful night for me.



Just as I was finishing up morning chores, Bruno showed up, slowly making his way to me. I opened the gate up and he collapsed in the shade of it. I’ve never seen a young dog so exhausted. He couldn’t even make it to his food. He did not stir for over 3 hours. At the risk of his own life and well being, he had singlehandedly spent the entire night running, barking, advancing, to keep the enemy at bay and protect those he chose to protect. Even after Cletus had returned to stand watch over the stock from a more secure position, Bruno fought on. 

By day the coyotes have been making it into the very pastures where the sheep are grazing. Even after a full night of patrolling, the ‘boys’ have to remain vigilant all day in order not to fail. They do it without expectation of compensation or gratitude, although gratitude is all I have to offer them. They are just born responsible, compassionate and sacrificial.

I think of our American soldier, on the front lines and bases across the world, protecting us here at home. As with Bruno and Cletus, I have nothing to offer them but my heartfelt appreciation. They do it out of a sense of honor and loyalty. It’s not for the reward, as they are poorly compensated, under appreciated and often overworked, over-faced and overwhelmed.

In a world that is growing increasingly more hostile, more dangerous, more unstable, our troops fight on against almost impossible odds. More recently, they have received far too little support, in numbers, hardware, recognition, moral support and national esteem. Many give the last full measure of devotion, as they are struck down, often in the prime of life and become a mere statistic for the cable network news scrawl.

In a recent disaster when 2 of our elite Navy Seals, our Ambassador and another American were brutally tortured and murdered in Benghazi, the only thing that is clear, is that they did not have adequate protection. Regardless of who is at fault, or what information may surface out of future investigations, that one fact is certain. They were unprepared, unprotected, underarmed and outnumbered. As a result, their families are left with nothing but grief and loss.

Recently soldiers were killed at Fort Bastion in Afghanistan, as well as $200 million in military hardware destroyed, yet the media remains all but silent, lauding trivialities such as political ‘gotcha' videos in their place.
Our heroes are all but forgotten and America is letting them and their families down.

Those who make it back, find jobs scarce, food and gas prices skyrocketing and life overall, increasingly challenging.

Soon defense budgets are about to take alarming cuts under sequestration, ($ billions) affecting both jobs at home and military readiness. Our men and women are already receiving minimal troop support, less protection and often inadequately fortified protective equipment and this is only going to make things worse.

The Middle East is burning, Turkey and Syria exchange salvos, Russia is saber rattling, China and Japan are on the threshold of war, Israel is under threat of being 'wiped off the map' and as N Korea flexes its muscles, Iran is going nuclear as Ahmadinajad boasts about bringing on Armageddon. Closing our eyes, singing peace songs and ‘minding our own business’ is not going to change the state of current affairs, or keep us safe. The threats surrounding us, both within and without are increasing and our military which has voluntarily vowed to protect us, is being systematically weakened. 

This trend can be changed and turned around. It’s up to us. This is not a time to abdicate our responsibility as citizens and insulate ourselves in our private worlds as though the threat to America and the world doesn't exist. It is a time to step up and provide the support and protection, which our heroes and thru them our families, both deserve and require. I implore you, register to vote and use your vote wisely. Do it for all of us, but mostly for the ‘boys’(both men and women) and for those at home for whom they sacrifice.

We cannot morally or responsibly allow this course to continue, anymore than I could allow my dogs to be defanged and chained up, leaving them to watch their sheep defenselessly slaughtered alongside them.

My remote location should allow me to shut out the world and deny all that is happening and coast along in calculated, blissful ignorance far more easily than most people, but my conscience will not allow it.

To our American servicemen and women, to our Veterans, I offer my most heartfelt thank you. May God bless and protect you and may America step up and do right by you.



32 comments:

  1. Petey, You have written a very importation message here to all of us in America. This election is possibly the most importation one in our lives and we must not ignore it. We owe to our blessed country and to those who are in harms way to choose wisely or run the risk of losing everything and America will be hard pressed to ever build back up. God Bless you
    Ginny in Texas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ginny. This has been really heavy on my heart

      Delete
  2. Wow, what a powerful post! Our troops deserve the respect of the American people AND the world but all too often, it is not there.
    As far as the coyotes, they are becoming too bold in our area too...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There has been a predator explosion here this fall. Worst I have ever seen

      Delete
  3. It is so easy to become short-sighted; sometimes out of self-preservation. But you are right, so right. The world has become a very dangerous place and those who have chosen to go out into it to protect us, safely at home, deserve so much more than they are getting. I hope that we, as a people, and our government (although totally dysfunctional) will step up and do the right thing. God bless your sweet, brave Maremmas. Hopefully, they will get some rest. I do not find coyotes romantic in any sense of the word. We are plagued with packs of them as well - and when they are making their run near me, I have many sleepless nights. Hoping you are doing okay. And pray that the fires soon die out and Randyman can stay at home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He was only gone 5 days. In this state civilians fight alongside BLM on range fires, so everyone on the ranch has to go help on these things...except me, of course. I keep the homefire burning LOL

      Delete
  4. This is a wonderful post. I just received my absentee ballot in the mail this week. My husband was in the army and deployed after 9/11. We often discuss how our military men and women are forgotten while serving and once out of the military.

    My husband is from Lake Tahoe and we were visiting there 2 years ago. We saw a coyote walk up to the side of the road, look both ways, waited for a car to pass, then proceeded to cross the street. It was hilarious to observe. We have a couple coyotes around our neighborhood but I don't think they are as brazen as yours.

    Love your dogs.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tell your husband thank you from us. Told ya these things can adapt, looking both ways totally makes my case haha

      Delete
  5. A very thought provoking post.
    The coyote popolation around the county must be exploding here. Sis lives in the country, they hear them every night and often see them. Just this week one ran between her and her husband while they where out walking the dogs. (They where about 30 ft from each other.) Too bold for my liking.
    Bruno and Cletus are worth their weight in Gold. Give them some extra loving from me. hugs...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's crazy how many there are this year.

      Delete
  6. Frightening in every sense ... for our country, our people and your animals. American does need to wake up and Hollywood needs to shut up. Since when is our country ran on the opinions of those who entertain us for a living and who have lost all sense of reality. Very well written blog. My wishes to be well for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a bit ironic that so many folk value the opinion of people who pretend to be someone else for a living...but then, that describes a number of politicians as well, doesn't it? LOL

      Delete
  7. As usual, Petey, your unique perspective has given me pause. Thanks for your prophecy, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. I appreciate it!

      Delete
  8. Thank you for a very interesting and thought provoking post. Do you have guns? If so, can you shoot the coyotes? Here in London, where I live, we have an explosion in the numbers of foxes. They are everywhere. They will even come into the house if you leave the back door open and have mauled children. They also kill cats and small dogs. I hear them making their peculiar noises at night as they are running around my back yard. My dog will chase them out of the yard, but I don't want her out there all night. I sometimes see foxes out strolling in the daytime. If I even say the word fox, my dog goes beserk. She is a sheepdog. Bravo to your mention of the troops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we can shoot the coyotes, but at night, I might take out cows, horses, or other livestock with it as you cannot really see everything in range. The Livestock Guardian dogs are the only safe and effective tool I have here. We had a trapper out last year, but unfortunately he captured Bruno. By God's grace he wasn't injured, but it could have been serious so that option is off the table now too. I am very fond of our troops, as they are the ones who protect both our lives and freedoms, too often at the cost of their own.

      Delete
  9. Petey, beautifully written. We are being inundated by the four legged, cunning coyotes here on our farm as well. Sometimes, it makes me a little sad that we can no longer roam our land freely without being constantly on guard. Just as you point out, the threat to our freedom in America is a real and present danger which is growing daily. My beloved husband served, valiantly fought, was injured and is almost deaf so I know firsthand a little about the sacrifices our men and women make. Let me assure you, we will be voting early for this upcoming election. God bless you Petey and God bless our troops and their families.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shearone, Thank you and your husband for what you guys gave to serve our country. I know it is hard for military families and not just the troops. It's people like yourselves that will help make our country great again and have kept it the free-est nation on earth

      Delete
  10. Wonderful post. My prayers go out to the hard working men and women of our military and their families that have given so much. Thank you.
    My niece came home early one afternoon to her 3 lambs (4H project) mauled by coyotes. She had to finish them off so they would not suffer any more.
    Blessings to our troops and their families, you, and your LGD's.
    ~~Lori

    ReplyDelete
  11. Two good years here have seen the wild dogs and feral pig numbers boom. I have nightmares about coming home to find the sheep flock torn apart, though ironically it's more likely to be town dogs roaming. I hope the coyotes move on and stick to wild prey.

    Hubby and I are with the local volunteer fire brigade, he was called out on Friday and spent most of today working on the tanker. It's going to be a bad fire year here, say hi to Randyman from fireies on the other side of the world.

    I teared up at your post and I'm not even American, the world seems to be determined to stay convulsed with hatred.

    I was glad to see you post though, was worried something had happened. Hope whatever has kept you busy improves soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Elnini. It is odd the predator explosions. It seems everyone has been experiencing them!
      The world surely is at a crossroads, here especially. We are standing at the fork in the road here in America, fearful of which way she may go. My own condition will either improve, or I will have to learn to push through it. It's always good to hear from you. :)

      Delete
  12. Your post hits home for me on many accounts. With one daughter and son in law in the military and the other daughter working for the Dept of State, recent activity has really made me stop and think of all of the military and non military personel that work to protect all of us US citizens. And like you, on the farm, the coyotes are out in full force. We had quite a scare with our two pups a couple of weeks ago. Thought they were goners at the hands of the coyotes. I call them, "thugs of the woods." Alone, a single coyote looks tough and would intimidate most people and animals at their mere reputation. But as a pack, like human thugs, they become virtually unstoppable, watching and waiting for their next victim.

    I am praying that "We the People" will some day stand once again on morals, values and ideas that this country was founded on. That we will all be proud of and thankful for our men and women who serve to protect us and treat them in every way with all of the respect they deserve. I pray that our eyes become unclouded and that we are able to see clearly the direction that we should go.

    For the "thugs of the woods" I hope that most are as blessed as you are petey and have fury warriors, that stand guard and fight when fighting needs to be done. Thank you Cletus and Bruno! Staci, Stubborn Hill Farm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen, Stacy! And may God bless and protect your family

      Delete
  13. As always....another great post and also a reminder of how thankful we should all be to our service men and women who sacrificed so much for all of us!!! You are correct, we all need to be involved in this election and vote responsibly! May God bless our troops and this country!

    Love, love, love the pictures you always put in your posts!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amen to this post. We need to protect our troops overseas and this is not being done. There seems to be a prevalent attitude, by many, that we must give these countries a chance to sit down and talk, peacefully, with the intent to come to an agreement. Do you think that the coyote negotiates a treaty with the lambs before they attack? We had better exercise our right to vote, in this country or we will all be defenseless "sheep" in this volatile world.
    I'm glad that Bruno was OK. It must be so scary to be out there by yourself. I hope you have guns.
    I'm listening to coyotes as I write this....tonight they are close. The Corgi boys growl, but don't want to go outside. They're nervous. I find coyote scat in the driveway every morning. Scary.
    I think that we, who live out in the boonies, understand fear and predatory animals. Some folks don't.... and a lot of folks don't vote because they don't see the connection.
    Take care. Be vigilant and let you wonderful dogs do their job.
    Good to hear from you.
    p.s. You need "B" and his coyote stalking abilities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do miss B&D. I have to say, I am impressed, still no livestock losses, but the dogs have been working overtime.

      Delete
  15. We are surrounded by coyotes here too, one faced down a friend who happened to meet up with it while hunting. Our neighbors got two llamas which will attack the coyotes, maybe you could add a couple of them. I hear donkeys might also help. Maybe there is a call for pelts and a few people could start hunting them? Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LLamas are a prey animal and would have no defense against the cougars and coyote packs we experience. Other than shooting, the Livestock Guardian Dogs are our only efficient modality of protection. These are dogs that consider themselves 'part of the flock' and will sacrfice their lives to protect them if necessary. They are quite unlike any other genre of dog I have ever seen. We do hunt them there, but we are a 250,000 acre ranch and most of the land around us burned in the SEOregon fires this summer, so we seem to have inherited most of the predators who fled the flames. Thanks for stopping by Kathy!

      Delete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Opps! This comment got on the wrong post. How did that happen. I will redo it on your last post.
    Weird!

    ReplyDelete
  18. As an Air Force veteran myself, and wife of an AF veteran, thank you for this post. I pray it will serve as a much-needed reminder to all of us that freedom is not free; it comes with a price.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks, Terra to you and your family. Every freedom given us by God, has been protected by our military men and women like you.

    ReplyDelete