Thursday, October 22, 2015

Abandoned, not broken

 I adopted Murphy from a shelter in 2006. I'd lost my dog Riley within a matter of days of his cancer diagnosis. I was devastated, and needed to fill that horrible empty void.


Riley was a Chow Chow mix that I'd adopted from a shelter. 
He was an amazing dog, and I'll bet would he would have been good with chickens.


Murphy had been a stray, found at a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation facility.  It would  have been an easy place for someone to dump a dog after hours, without being seen.   It took them several days to catch him. I suppose he was waiting for what he thought were his people to come back and get him. surely it must have been a mistake that they left him there.
 
                                                This was his picture that was on Petfinder.

Being that he was a stray, we knew nothing of his background; nothing about his temperament, nothing about his training or his behavior. When my ex-husband and I first met him, he was in the back of the kennel, contentedly chewing on a rawhide. He'd been a stray.  He'd been hungry.  Getting two squares a day and a bed was better than being on the street. When I spoke to him, he came to the door and tossed the chew to me to throw. LOL! I should have known what I was in for. He loves to play fetch. It was guessed that he is a German Shepherd/Chow Chow mix. He was full grown, and estimated to be just under a year old.


                He also loves to swim. He's competed in 
                 dock jumping, and has won many ribbons. 

The introduction to my ex's Bloodhound went well, and we headed home.  I honestly don't think he'd ever been in a house, because he put the four footed brake stance on the first time he came in.   He was excellent about the house training.  The first time we left him alone in the cabin, he opened the kitchen cupboard door, took out a jar of peanut butter, and managed to unscrew the lid. LOLOL! I still am amused by that one.
After my divorce, Murphy, my two cats, and I moved into a cabin that needed a complete renovation. Then, three years after, in 2010, I got the crazy idea to raise chickens. My first hens came through the USPS as tiny day old chicks.  I wasn't sure how Murphy would react, so I was very careful with them at first.


                                        This is one of the Barred Rocks, back in 2010. 
                                 What a patient soul. 

Well, turns out, I had nothing to worry about.  He has been amazing with the chickens from the beginning, and continues to be so.  He keeps predators away, even hawks and owls.  I couldn't ask for a better livestock guardian.  
 Murphy is a perfect example of how shelter dogs are not damaged, or broken. Shelter dogs don't all have behavior issues, or aggression.  He's also proof that it's not necessary to get a puppy so that it will bond with you, or so that it can be trained properly to live with in harmony with livestock.  It is important to consider the breed when adopting, and do plenty of research.  Spend time at a shelter, and get to know the dogs. Many shelters offer the option of fostering before adopting.  Please do consider adopting a shelter dog. You'll be saving a life.
                                          Murphy with my older Barred Rock hens
 

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