Friday, August 2, 2013

Farewell to our faithful guardian


I was gone to a conference towards the end of last week, and as I was going from one venue to another, I glanced at my cell phone to see a text that simply said, "Hey, call home when you're free." That type of text usually means something bad, but what? When I called home, my son's first words were, "Sovalye died."


What? He wasn't even sick. It was a shock, and it was hard to have it all happening when I was away from home.

This is what my son posted on his Facebook page:

I don't like dogs, for the most part. I can stand them in small doses, but most of the time I just find them obnoxious, whether they're barking at you or begging for attention. Sovalye was an exception. He was friendly, but in a shy, non-pushy way that you rarely find in dogs. He was our farm's first livestock guardian to last more than a few months, and while he wasn't able to hold on to the title for as long as we would've liked (he's been mostly retired the last few years), he was still extremely effective at his job when he was all there mentally.

He passed away last night at the age of 9. We found him this morning, and it appears he sustained some sort of injury, which probably happened sometime yesterday when he got off our property, a frustrating hobby he's picked up over the last few years (it's not worth trying to catch him when this happens, because he would just run farther away from you - I've chased him a whole mile before), but we weren't able to figure out where they came from. I guess it doesn't matter too much at this point anyway.

Even with all of his issues, he was one of the kindest, most modest dogs I ever knew. He could be ferocious when he wanted and needed to be (he literally shook an invasive raccoon to death when he was only a year old), but deep down he had a very kind heart. Though I've seen dozens of lives come and go on this farm, I'm not sure I'm going to miss one as much as him.
 By the time I got home two days later on Saturday night, Sovalye had been buried, so I was not able to say a proper good bye to him. And it didn't really hit me that he was gone until I milked the goats. He normally waits for me in the barn, and when I walk out of the milking parlor, I give him the strip milk, which is the first few squirts of milk from each goat, and with 14 does, that adds up to a decent amount of milk. But as I reached the end of the milking Sunday morning, I knew Sovalye would not be there waiting for me when I walked out. And tears rolled down my cheeks.

6 comments:

Mary Ann said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss of this good dog.

Michelle said...

I'm with Mary Ann – and what a tribute from your son!

Lisa Cotter said...

Wonderful eulogy written by your son. Sorry for your family's loss, he sounded like a great dog. Prayers sent your way..

Donna OShaughnessy said...

When they are our farm dogs we lose so much more. Companion AND protector. I'll bet the whole farm yard feels empty doesn't it? I'll be giving our Great Pyrenees, Fannie extra hugs these next few days

SkippyMom said...

I haven't been around too much, but I am trying to catch up and I just had to comment and say how sorry I am.

What a gentle soul. And a cutie to boot.

I was remarking to my husband last night while our dog slept in my lap, "Isn't it a cruel twist of fate that dogs live such short lives when we love them so much? And they give us so much in return for basically just a belly scratch and a bit of kibble?"

It's hard. I know. Thoughts are with you.

Glenna Rose said...

So sorry you lost this faithful friend. Hugs to you all.

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