Katya Puppy

A New Generation Rises from the Ashes

This is Katya, daughter of Lili of Kia of Tika of Sheba and Coy. She was born in the early morning of Monday, October 5th, 2009. Katya is the newest member, the fifth generation of our pack of livestock guardian herding dogs. Yesterday, on her eighth day, she began to open her eyes. Words can not properly describe the specialness of a new puppy – Our brains are hardwired to the cuteness of babies. Her conception was both a poignant beginning and end as we lost her great grandfather about a week later. Katya is the future in my hands.

Speaking of a need for guardians, while out and about yesterday afternoon I saw the local catamount crossing a field about 100′ from me. It was close enough that I got a really good sense of its size, about a foot longer than our biggest dog Hagrid. The coat was close to black and the tail was a long whip. It was right in the middle of the field and moving slowly with feline grace. I saw it walking and it took me a moment to realize what I was looking at. Then it turned its head toward me. We looked each other in the eye for a moment before we both continued on our way. Holly and I have seen it at greater distances and its tracks in the snow but never that have I seen it this close nor this early in the day – 4:37 pm with bright day light. This was way too up close and personal. While I think they are beautiful animals I would rather not have them near the farm. Out west they’re known to hunt people. This makes the third time I’ve clearly seen the cougar here, despite the state of Vermont declaring the big cats do not exist. Phantoms don’t come out in the day light and they don’t leave foot prints or kill sheep.

Outdoors: 43째F/26째F 4″ Snow, Overcast
Tiny Cottage: 67째F/59째F

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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25 Responses to Katya Puppy

  1. Anonymous says:

    I live "out west" and would much rather take my chances with cougars, bears and other wildlife than crazy people.

  2. Agreed. But which city are the crazy people in? :) I live out in the country so I don't have to deal with the insanity created by urban living. I tried briefly living in a city. It is enough to drive one crazy if not already there.

  3. Laura says:

    The state of Michigan says there are no big cats here either, but I have seen them twice near our home in the Thumb.

  4. Jen says:

    Congrats on Katya. She is precious.

    Your guardian dogs are so intriguing to me.

  5. Mary Ricksen says:

    I know they are bad for farmers, but it would be sad to lose them for eternity?

    Now the puppy, is just adorable. They just wrap themselves around your heart. We have a huge black German Shepherd and I held him the day he was born. He was the size of a small rat. Now he's 130lbs. Amazing huh? I wish you the best of luck with your new family member!

  6. I had one here in north Alabama attack one of my 2.. 7 week old piglets I just got from wayland spring cook farm and it killed 1 dog and hurt my other one to bad.So I had to put him down. i did shoot the cat because I didn't want my kids or my other pigs to get hurt later on.A state trooper and game warden didn't believe me but we did find her about 400+ yards away from my place.I almost got fined But game warden knew I didn't have a choice and let me go.

  7. Sherri says:

    Was there only one puppy in the litter? Or are you only planning to keep one of the pups? Just wondering….

  8. There is just Katya, who we do plan to keep here. First litters for our dogs are generally small, three pups.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I think it's quite odd that the first litters are that small [only 3 pups]. Any thoughts as to why it is so with your dogs? Certainly given the size of the dogs I'd expect there to be at least 4 or 5 on average [for first litters].

  10. Not sure. Previously, all of our bitches have had three pups for their first litter and then seven for their second. I figured it was a first time or young mother thing. They did get double matings. In Lili's case she's not a young mother since she's just about to turn five years old – her birthday is in early November. There were two puppies in this litter but one of them died – very sad. We haven't had a puppy that died in over 17 years.

  11. Mary says:

    Do you have any posts where you talk in a detailed fashion about training your guardian dogs? I've read your post about Killer Kita, but that seemed like more of an exception. The subject has interested me for some time. . .

  12. Kita was definitely the exception, both because of how badly she started since she came back to us after being tied up by another family for so long and for how hard it was to get her attention. She wanted to be a good working dog, to be part of the pack, to handle the livestock, but she couldn't for a long time. I've never had another dog that was that hard to train. If she had stayed here on the farm from the beginning I think she would have been as easy as her sister Kia and the other dogs.

    Someday I'll write a post in detail about dog training. It is on my to-do list. In a nut shell:
    1. Get their attention.
    2. Establish communications.
    3. Develop basic training.
    4. Work with them daily.
    5. Advanced stuff comes with time and practice.
    6. Fade out gradually.
    7. Don't expect too much when they're young. They are young.
    8. Use behavioral modification, cognitive psych, treats, praise, etc.
    9. Recognize what is within the dog's ken and build simple behaviors and understandings to complex.
    10. Never stop training and expecting more.

    Someday I'll write that article in detail. Lots of notes already made but it hasn't come to the top of the list. :)

  13. Anonymous says:

    On muck boots:
    What happened to quality?

  14. Ouch, that's not good news. We love ours, well, as much as one can love a boot – not like a puppy. We have two sets of muck boots, winter and summer (tall & short). A total of nine pairs. So far so good. All the other kinds of boots we have had have been too cold _and_ have worn out too fast, cracking and getting holey. When I bought ours I did notice that there were a lot of different kinds. Were the new pair the same as your old pair or a different style?

  15. Katya is a Slavic's girls name which means "pure" but something tells me you already knew that

  16. Paul says:

    Thats interesting. Even after several have been killed by cars in the state of Missouri, the Conservation department goes to great lengths to prove they were not native. The denied what people were reporting until cars started leaving proof!

  17. Donna,

    I didn't know that Katya meant 'pure'. Neat. The name for the puppy came from an old friend of mine who went by that name. Her English name was Kathy. She was very into Russian studies and liked the Russian variant of her name so that is what we used.

    I picked it for the puppy also in part because she is part of the K-series phenotype, the tricolor markings. Kavi, Kita, Kia, Kira, Katya, etc. The letters also fit the variant of letter combinations that go back through her linage.

    Note that Kia's name was from before the now popular automobile and hers is pronounced "KY" "Ya" with hard sounds, not the soft sounds of the car "Kee-ah". All of our names are designed for calling over long distances and to be clear for easy communications.

    So Katya is pure. I like it. She is also incredibly cuddly. When Lili needs to go take a walk I take Katya and she snuggles in my shirt.



  18. Pablo says:

    In Missouri, the state has declared that we don't have mountain lions. An insider told me that was more to protect budgets than to dismiss mounting evidence. If they did acknowledge the big cats, they'd have to devote funds to studying/protecting them.

    Speaking of puppies, we have a new one in our house too.

  19. amy says:

    ah walter i envy you and your family with all that you do. by the time i pickuped up our puppy it was 12 weeks old. we miss all those tiny infant puppy stages. i have never seen a puppy open its eyes and first see the world. thank you for sharing katya!

  20. Anonymous says:

    hey walter,

    I have some young hens comin into their own, i'm wondering. The eggs are quite small? Is this normal? We've always had hens that had been laing a while so… I'm also from AZ. So I've never had to deal with this climate. they stopped laying a few weeks ago. Their laying again now, very odd. Thanks, Robert. Beaver Creek Farm NH

  21. It is normal for young hens (poulets) to lay small eggs in the beginning. As they get older their eggs get larger. It is also normal in our climate for hens to molt in the fall and stop laying for a month. If you want them to lay over the winter, put an incandescent* light on a timer in the hen house set for 14 hours and also put them on a diet of layer or similar feed. They'll also eat meat which replaces the insects and mice they normally eat in the summer on pasture.

    *incandescent bulbs are better than florescent bulbs despite the absolutely stupid ban the government is putting in place on them. Incandescent bulbs put out heat which helps to warm the hen house, have a better spectrum, do not pollute as much as florescent bulbs, operate better and last longer outdoors in our cold climate. They are also good for putting in a spring house to keep it warm over the winter. They act as little heaters that double as lights. Government should not be in the business of banning them or telling us what light bulb to use. Instead they should stop subsidizing petroleum so the energy costs rise to their normalized levels and let market forces operate. Can you tell I'm somewhat pissed with our learless feeders? Rant done.

  22. Anonymous says:

    On the business of bulbs and energy . . . if 50% of americans who hold an "office job" telecommuted just think of all the energy saved. We could cut energy consumption (gas, electricity – think of all the big buildings that are heated and lighted during the winter and cooled in the summer). There would also be no more "rush hour traffic jams". With technology as it is – this would be very doable with government tax credits given to businesses who promote telecommuting. Besides, more people would be able to move to the country and start up farms part time . . . . our local food movement would really take off:)

  23. Well said, Anony. I've been a firm believer in hyper-short commutes. e.g., working from home. I don't understand all the conferences and trade-shows either. They're all so ancient tech. All that can be done better on the web and then it is preserved across time as well as being more available across space.

  24. Gail in Montana says:

    Walter, we have cougars out here in Montana, of course. They are probably in any wooded state that has available prey. Hope that one you see doesn't come any closer. Your new puppy is adorable. How neat that one of the posts told you the meaning of her name!! As we have been on vacation since 10-1, I haven't posted in a while. But it did enjoy seeing Blacky's babies at my hubby's brother's house. They were both amazed at the size of her litters and the frequency. They also grew up on a farm that had pigs as did I. Well, I guess I've made up for lost time. I agree with you, anywhere in the country is a good place to be. Enjoy your website every time you post!

  25. Anonymous says:

    I understand that these cats are ambush hunters as are tigers in India. The East Indians have solved the problem by wearing masks on the backs of their heads. Since they started doing this, there have been no ambush attacks by tigers.

    Love your blog…

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