Monday, 7 July 2014


Probably the hardest working critter here at the kennel is Cricket.

While some nights all is quiet on the property, other times it seems like she is working 24/7. Some mornings she is so tired, she doesn't even want to get up for breakfast.

She never complains or slacks off, in fact, she is a pretty happy go lucky gal - but she is likely over 8 years old (she is a rescue, so we don't know for sure) and big dogs generally have shorter working careers than say a Siberian - so I knew that we were going to have to start thinking about a dog for her to mentor, before her retirement rolled around.

Mark and I scanned the local rescue sites but didn't see dogs that fit our needs. I put word out with a few friends that we were looking and very quickly word came back from my friend Lisa (who found Bet for me) that she had a lead. Her friend Louanne had a LGD (Livestock Guardian Dog) that was terrified of thunder and seeing that they had thunderstorms just about every evening this time of year, she had her eyes open for a new home for him.

Bear at Louanne's

Now, Louanne and I are no strangers. She has been out to the kennel before, so she knows what we are all about - AND Bitty Bet temporarily lived with her before coming to live here. That bodes well for a good match.

A few emails were exchanged and I was headed down to Okotoks to pick Bear up (and visit my Mom who lives about 10 minutes away).

The details - Bear is a 4 year old male ҆arplaninac (still working on properly pronouncing that). Sarplaninacs are a Yugoslavian breed bred for gentle dispositions, but good herd guarding instincts. They are LARGE - and Bear is definitely large. Cricket last weighed in at 106lbs and he is definitely larger than she is. 

Our trip home from Calgary was good, after the first 10 minutes. In the first 10 minutes Bear had an (obviously large) accident in the back of the Highlander and Bet trod through the middle of it in her attempt to escape the offence, tracking over the 'just shampoo'd' last week interior. 

A quick clean up and spray of Febreeze and we hit the road for home! Sadly the stench was kind of overwhelming. Bear didn't seem to mind, but Bet and I were in agony.

Dispite our dramatics, we survived the drive home. 

Bear is settling in well. Bear is really a gentle giant. He met Bet, Cricket, the cats and a few of the Siberians with absolutely not a trace of aggression. He is still kenneled most of the time while he figures out that this is home and that his new 'flock' all has curly tails.  

Last night he had me awake most of the night as he has settled in enough to want to add his 'voice' to Cricket's warnings. I am conditioned to sleep through Cricket's 'routine go away' barks, but Bear's new voice woke me up every time he vocally backed her up. 

We are very much looking forward to bringing Bear fully up to speed around the kennel and giving Cricket a VERY well deserved break. 


Lori Lee said...

Welcome home Bear and Congratulations you hit the jackpot.

Shirly said...

Looks like he will be a great dog and really nice looking too. Never heard of his breed, but I will be very interested how going from sheep to dogs he does. I lost both my old German Shepherd this year and Jacky just Friday. My husband about lost it over him. He weighed Jack guessed which he is really good at 125 lbs and Kira was the one I always counted on. We have druggies a mile away and before I got her they forced their way in the house and it took the Sherriff an hour to come out here. Now I have one more old one that does bsrk, not sure if he would back it up and Joni who would say oh come in. Tried to get pups out of her and Jacky and she never would let him. We are 16 miles from town so I really want a couple more shepherds. Mine are all German lines, but they are so expensive I don,t know. I need to raise up a couple of good watch dogs. Jackys size was plenty big enough. Glad you found what seems to be a wonderful help to Cricket. Maybe something will come along for me I just hated to lose this one. You know very special. So glad you did a blog on him as I have been interested since you first mentioned him. Thank you for all the pictures.

Helen J said...

He sounds like an interesting character. I have never met a Sharplaniac, but knew they are a guardian dog. He looks like he will do a great job for you. I hope Cricket likes her new assistant/friend.

Minnesota Musher said...

I love to hear about Bear and his temperment. I am not familair with this breed so will look forward to learning about him in your blog. What a grand adventure for Bear! Thanks for your creativity!

Jenny Glen said...

I'll help you with the way to say Sarplaninac... it's Shar-plan-ni-nitz. (Togo's mom is a Sarplaninac so I read alot on the breed)
Bear is a real sweetheart and I'm so glad you got him!

Louise Liebenberg said...

Actually, Jenny it is a Shar-plan-i-NATZ or Shar-plan-i-nac but the first is more correct :)