White Lion in Dog Suit Teach's a Real Lion a Lesson
by Maureen Harris
Reina the Lion Terrorist
We just got two 5 year old Prys that kept leaving the kennel cage they were kept in for 5 years and going way down the road to protect the neighbor's chickens. Can you blame them? The lady who had them had recently been left by her husband with three kids to support alone and was afraid these dogs would get hit by a car since she lived right on the highway and couldn't keep them from escaping to do their rounds.
We were in a desperate place and needing livestock guardian dogs. We have a large heard of goats and live right on the edge of the Great Bear Highway, about 5 miles from Glacier Park as the crow flies, in MT. 1.5 million acres of wilderness, bears and large cats as well as wolves borders our property.
We had been plagued by bears and large cats alike, only just being lucky to be one of the rare families in this area who haven't lost any of their livestock to predators, or been completely wiped out, yet! This is only due to the fact that we never leave them unguarded and I'm a night owl who stays up all night with light and gun at the ready roaming the property. It was only a matter of time though.
Last night a young man who lives here was trying to get our female Reina, to come back in for the night, with no luck. He heard her coming down the back fence line and decided to wait and see if he could get her to come through the gait. Earlier in the evening he'd seen a flash of something moving fast behind our goat and pig pens so he was worried about her being off property alone without the male, Patron, her brother.
As he was waiting at the gate to let her in, as she came down the fence line, she got to about 5 feet from him and stopped and started barking savagely at something in the tress across the fire break about 20 feet away. He turned with flash light and shined to see what she was barking at, and there was the flash he'd seen earlier. I believe she had run it off earlier, but it had doubled back believing the threat was far off.
There stood a very large mountain lion, looking as tho it was thinking about leaping either on him or over into the goat pen.
Reina stayed on this cat, barking like crazy and it's true these dogs don't exert any more energy than is necessary. She stayed barking while young Ben ran full force across the property to my door, hair standing straight up and out of breath when he blasted in my door breathless and I have to say a lot freaked out!
Reina did not come in but went off through the thick woods after this menace. She returned about an hour later right at sun up as she does every morning after finding an escape route. Every morning I find her curled up under a tree outside my bedroom window.
These dogs had never been with livestock before. This is only their second week with us. They manage to get out nightly, and really look very insulted if they don't get to go clear the area. They are like clockwork. I know when they leave how long it will take them to circle around back to our property.
They have decided that the entire small mountain settlement is their domain. They go and visit the chained up pit-bulls next door and comfort them. I've noticed the other dogs in this settlement have quit barking all night and now seem to defer to these noble dogs to call the shots.
The entire area seems less stressed and more at ease since these dogs have come to live with us, and well all the neighbors too.
I have never been so impressed with a dog in my life as I am with these two gentle giants. To think they had to live their entire first 5 years in a small kennel cage breaks my heart after seeing what they can do when given a chance. They have become indispensable already, and now I can't imagine life without them. And I can finally sleep at night for the 1st time in three years.
We have free range turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, who run lose sometimes as they are escape artists too, as well as our goat herd and pigs. Also house cats who venture out. None of these animals were familiar to these dogs except house cats and chickens, but they caught right on to their expected jobs and haven't killed or injured or even made any move like they would hurt any animal on the place.
My small dog had become terrified to go outside after being attacked by a goose, and is now fearless again and packing up with these big dogs whenever he gets the chance. I'm not sure how this happens, but these dogs seem to be able to lend some of their power to the animals they are with and or protecting. Maybe it's just a new sense of security they get from them.
A few days ago when my daughter moved the pigs and goats in together after knowing there was a threat and wanting the dogs to be in with them, one of our pigs bit her right on the butte. She yelped and Reina leaped to her rescue and nipped the pig on the nose. The pigs are now trained by the dogs to be mellower. They no longer climb up the fence and fight with each other at feeding time. This is another case where animals are much calmed by these incredible dogs' presence.
Now we are looking for a papered stud for our female. So many people in this area are being wiped out by cats and grizzly bears.
Just recently a woman not too far from here was out milking her goats early in the morning. She had to leave her goat in the stanchion and run into the house to get something she'd forgotten. Broad daylight and a mountain lion jumped into her goat pen and grabbed a hundred+ pound goat and as she was coming back, she saw this cat hauling one of her beloved milk goats over the fence.
We hear stories like this weekly. We'd rather not see the wild animals killed either. I think we've finally found a way to live predator friendly. I don't know if that cat would think we're so friendly, but hey, it's still alive, uninjured to my knowledge, but I believe hunting elsewhere now.