Ralphie, taking a break on a hot afternoon.
Photo by LauraP

I looked up from weeding the perennial bed and caught Ralphie, the English Shepherd, doing his thing. He works nights, protecting the poultry and livestock from coyotes and various lesser predators. The older dogs still help, but over the last year, Ralphie has taken over the lead. I’ve awakened many times to the sound of the coyote chorus on the ridge behind our place, and the eerie loud answer of Ralphie’s howl, warning them away from his territory. His preferred howling spot is at the corner of the house, below the bedroom windows, where he’s positioned to quickly respond to threats at either end of the property. Sadie, the older female, covers the north and east sides. She has a particular ‘keep away’ bark I’ve learned to recognize. Blue, the Australian Shepherd, tends to move around. He can’t see well anymore, but his ears and nose work fine. He’s eager to help if he can just find his way to the problem.