Nursing a Goat
|Our first Anatolian Shepherd, Akilli, arrived at
our farm only 5 weeks old. She was a survivor from her first week of life. Unable to get
enough milk from her mother, with her bigger, bossier littermates pushing her aside, she
was supplemented with goats milk, a tiny thing held up to actually nurse from a goat
when she was only a few days old. Little did we know when we brought her home, that she
would start us delving into the history of the breed with her fascinating behavior. A
beautiful rough coat, she won our hearts with her loving devotion to the goats.
Akilli, whose name means "intelligent," was a fabulous working dog. She
lived, slept, and ate with the goats. Sometimes she had the privilege of overseeing the
birth of kid goats in the pasture, and took care of eating the afterbirth so the coyotes
wouldnt be attracted. When coyotes did come around, she never let them outrun her.
She kept pace with them as they occasionally ran back and forth along the outside of her pasture
fencing, particularly at dawn. Never did she allowed one in her pasture. She also protected
her goats from large birds, squirrels, raccoons, and even killed a possum, as well as a
huge rat. Akilli had gotten sprayed more times than we can count by skunks, as she managed
to corner them in her pasture. Smells didnt seem to bother her, as she was just as
much at home with the stinky billy goats, as with the goat mothers and their babies.
was Akillis middle name! She had dug a huge underground fall-out shelter . . .
several times. Every time we filled it in, she dug it out again. Her gigantic pits, when the
earth roof caves in, became playgrounds for the goats, which loved to jump in and out of
the holes. Once when we moved her and her goats to the pasture adjacent to the barn, she
surprised us by digging a hole under the barn. Then one day when we were milking the
goats, up popped Akillis head into the barn to say hello! We had to keep the
pasture fence hot-wired along the inside bottom so that Akilli did not decide to "go
friends of Akilli included two ASD pups (Kaptan and Tess), an elderly Golden Retriever, and a Black Lab. Sirin, our adult female ASD is another story. At times Akilli and
Sirin would happily run together along their fence line. Mostly they would go about their guard
business in their own pastures. Every six months, however, Akilli could not believe Sirin had
the gall to come into heat on her property. How dare she! Thats when you would
occasionally hear Akillis heart-stopping displeasure toward Sirin through the gate.
Although the two intact female ASDs could never work together in the same pasture, they did
work together beautifully in side-by-side pastures. While one slept, the other was always
visible and alert. Often during the day they could be found facing different directions
while on lookout.
Babies, human or animal, were Akillis favorite visitors. She was happy to greet them and give
them loving kisses. While she would stay aloof with an adult visitor to her pasture, just
give that person a baby to hold and Akilli was then their best friend!