Living up to her name.
It's hard to believe it's already been over six months since the last time we spent several hours shearing our beloved guard dog Marta—until you look at her. It's time to get some more doggy downers from the vet and do it again before she gets more matted and the job gets even more difficult.
She actually wouldn't look too bad if she would just stay away from all those dirt pits, mud puddles, and manure piles she loves to roll around in, but where's the fun in that?
We used to haul her to the groomer 40 miles away (which was an adventure in itself) for a yearly spring spa day cut, but the last time it took them over five hours and cost a small fortune—and they didn't seem real excited about ever seeing her again—so we bought a set of professional clippers (which cost much less than the visit to the groomer), asked the vet for some drugs to knock her out (the growling makes Joe nervous), and started doing it ourselves.
More Marta photos and story below. . .
What's even harder to believe is that Marta has been a part of our farmily for over seven years, doing an incredible job—along with her Great Pyrenees partner in protection, Daisy—working around the clock, seven days a week, to keep her sheep safe from the packs of hungry coyotes and unseen monsters that share these acres with us. After acquiring Marta and Daisy we went from losing 12 sheep to coyotes in seven months to having zero losses in (knock on wool) seven years.
She's 120 pounds of vicious, growling beast and pure sweetheart, all wrapped up in one goofy package that always cracks me up. When she walks, it looks as if she's going in three different directions at once. Joe says it's because she's a mix of three different breeds (reputed to be Great Pyrenees, Komondor, and Anatolian Shepherd), each acting on their own.
She's acquired various limps over the years that were probably caused by climbing, in a most ungainly manner, over and through gates and fences rather than jumping over them, but they only add to her goofball charm.
Even pre-limps, she's always moved around as little as possible, preferring to conserve her energy in case she has to chase off a predator. But once she finally gets going, she can really cover some ground, and looks, believe it or not, almost graceful. She's the only dog I've ever known that, unless you're serving something really special and highly aromatic, you have to beg, plead, and cajole to come eat. Every single day.
She has the crookedest bottom teeth I've ever seen on a dog (or on anybody, for that matter), but she has a wonderful smile. She's one of a kind, our Marta, and we are so grateful to have her.
More Marta? Here and here and here. And you'll find ridiculously cute baby pictures of Marta and her sister Lottie (who we sadly lost at age seven months) here.