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Saturday, December 31, 2011

The mothering instinct

Sasha and the chicks
I was recently talking farm animals with someone looking to get a goat or two.  As the conversation progressed, we touched on birds.  Tom told me about his dog, Sasha, who was present when some chicks started hatching.  She was so excited, that she had to be there for every one of them.  The result, of course, is that they imprinted on her.  The color match between dog and chicks is wonderful.  No wonder they called her "Mommy"!

The conversation reminded me of a terrier/shepherd cross I had many years ago. Jody wanted to mother everything that came along.  My son's hamster disappeared one day and we searched everywhere for it.  Finally, we just followed the dog--there is was, soaking wet from her washing it.  

We took in a stray cat and her kittens sometime after that.  After trying in vain to keep Jody away, I finally had to put a barrier to keep her from the kittens.  The decision wasn't made lightly; she loved those kittens, but when I heard her growling menacingly. Jody was curled up with them, threatening the mother cat, who was meowing loudly, pacing and wanting to feed her litter.  

The funniest mothering incident, though, was when Shawn got a  Saanen kid for a 4H project.  Jody following that kid around, trying to lick and comfort her.  Melanie, though, was having none of it.  After a few aborted attempts, Melanie promptly butted her in no uncertain terms.  Poor Jody!  I can see her face still!  The expression was so dumbfounded, so sad!

Dogs with a mothering instinct are gems, no doubt about it.

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