A lot of ranchers in our area have Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) like Frostee. Some of the most common breeds in this area are Great Pyrenees (Frostee), Akbash and Anatolian Shepherd. Omar has an Anatolian Shepherd named Blue. He is quite possibly the biggest dog I’ve ever seen in my life. He is INTIMIDATING but just a big baby!
Omar also adopted a female Anatolian Shepherd from a family who was moving and couldn’t take her with them. He knew he wanted to breed Blue and this situation worked out perfect! Her name is Lacey.
When Lacey became pregnant, Blue started to become a little aggressive towards her. Omar was worried that Blue might hurt her or the babies. We offered for him to bring Lacey to our paddock and empty kennel. Since we are both home most of the time, we could keep an eye on her and she and the puppies would be safe from Blue or any predators. In exchange, Omar would let us have pick of the litter.
Lacey slept in the kennel at night, and we let her hang out in the paddock with Frostee and the sheep during the day. Lacey and Frostee became fast friends. They loved to lounge around together, and Frostee seemed to know that Lacey was in a compromised position. If something was going on, and Frostee was in protection mode, she made sure to keep herself in front of Lacey and whatever threat she was detecting.
Lacey had only been with us for about a week when we started to notice her behavior changing. Similar to what happens with the sheep, I had a feeling these babies were coming sooner rather than later. We moved Lacey full time to the kennel, only letting her out a few times during the day to use the bathroom. We didn’t want her to find some remote and potentially dangerous spot to decide to have her babies. It’s a good thing we moved her when we did! The next day, the day before Easter Sunday, Josh looked out as soon as the sun came up and said, “Lacey had her puppies!”. We ran out there to make sure everyone was okay.
There were 10 puppies, but one didn’t make it. It was so sad, but now our focus became to ensure the other nine puppies thrived! Josh had experience with newborn puppies, Mercedez had two litters of puppies in her life. I, however, have never been around newborn puppies. I was excited, but so nervous! I wanted to make sure we did everything right so they would all be okay.
We went to Dollar General and got them a little pool to use as a whelping box. They were so tiny, it was hard to believe they would grow up to be as big as Lacey and Blue! Lacey was a wonderful first-time Mama. She would only leave the pool to eat, drink, and go potty. All we had to say was “Go get your babies!” And she would dart back to her kennel and hop back in the pool.
The babies grew so quickly. Before we knew it, their eyes had opened and they started playing and yipping! They were so fun to watch. We started looking for the puppy we wanted to keep.
We knew we wanted a male, the neutering recovery time is a little bit quicker than spaying a female. There were a few puppies that were brindle colored. We really liked their unique look. We decided on one and named him Ranger.
When the puppies were five weeks old, we introduced them to puppy food mixed with milk supplement. They absolutely loved it!
Before we knew it, it was time for Lacey and the pups to go back to their home, and new owners! In the five weeks the puppies were living at The Gray Marlin, Omar had cleared out space in his shop for them to move to and have a safe, cool place for them to stay until they were old enough to go with their new owners.
Ranger stayed with us. We made sure he got plenty of love and attention without his Mama, brothers and sisters. He would start LGD training with Frostee before we knew it!