St. Patrick’s Day two years ago marks the day we picked Magpie up from her foster home. The rescue organization that found her living in a car named her Maggie. We renamed her Magpie (although we still call her Maggie a lot of the time). She was about three months old and absolutely irresistible! I don’t know if I was the first person to inquire about her after seeing her picture on petfinder.com, but I was smitten at first glance. However, within a few minutes I knew she would be a handful. She had that look in her eye…
But she was so ding dang cute, who would even hesitate to scoop up that little bundle of fur and take her home? I now recall the wording in her petfinder post – something along the lines of “will need a home that can provide creative ways to harness her exuberant personality”. So she has personality – even better!
Oh, how those words mock me now.
Since this blog is a chronicle of our journey to the farm and Magpie is part of that journey, it was high time to write a post about her.
Magpie is an excellent alarm system. Just ask our neighbors… She hears things. Lots of things. Half of it I don’t hear, but she takes her job as our great protector very seriously. I just hope that at some point [soon] she will at least be able to distinguish between everyday sounds we make in the house (i.e. closing a cupboard door) and potential threats.
Magpie is learning to be a pretty good Livestock Guardian Dog. She is very protective of our chicken flock and just about comes unglued if she hears them call out and she’s in the house. Magpie is still struggling with the difference between “Wow! I just laid the biggest egg ever!” cackles and the “OMG!!!! I think there’s a coyote out there!” cackles. It doesn’t help that one of the young roos is a bit of a Chicken Little himself. Needless to say, we are not popular with the neighbors between two crowing roosters at 4:00 am and the Barky Barkstress.
Magpie is an excellent travel companion. Just like a toddler, she falls asleep as soon as we hit the road. Magpie knows the two plus hour trip very well. She always wakes up at the stop light we turn off on that puts us “in the country” and away from freeways and main roads. I think it might be the change in smells that triggers her – after that turn we are in farm country. She can hardly contain her excitement for those last 15 minutes of the trip. The second we stop the truck in front of the gate she is ready to go – if the windows are open there is no stopping her. While we fiddle with opening the gate lock she runs through the tall grasses, drinks from the puddles (these are some of the wetlands on our property) and hunts for field mice and voles. We can barely see her unless she leaps at some little critter. As soon as we get back in the truck and start up our road to “camp”, she doesn’t even hesitate to leave her prey behind. The race is on. She LOVES to race the truck up the hill, probably because she always wins. She’s a Heinz 57 pup and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have any greyhound in her, but when she runs like that you start to wonder.
Magpie is a great huntress. This will be quite useful on the farm for predator control – both for livestock and the gardens. She spends a large portion of each day catching field mice and voles, as well as chasing rabbits and deer. The downside is that she REALLY likes to dig…
Magpie loves to play. She will make a game out of just about anything. If you don’t have a ball or a stick to toss, she will make her own even if it means chomping a branch off of a tree or shrub. Too big? No problem, she’ll just break it into to “fetchable” sized pieces for you.
Magpie is a water dog. Nary a puddle, pond or creek escapes her attention.
After a hard day of work and play, it’s time to head home.