Livestock guard dog’s working environment changes over the seasons. Winter freezes even including dog´s paddling places and the thick layer of snow slows down running. Fresh snow softens the cents and the sounds.
Winter smells different form the summer. Also warm winter morning after a fresh snow fall is very different from a cold winter day – even judged by a nose. This all requires readjusting interpretation.
This winter has been warm. While the Southern Finland has been without any snow, here in Lapland the temperature has been just enough cold to get all the rain in the form of snow. And it really has been snowing!
Aapo checks that his people do their snow clearing duties well.
Meanwhile the horsepower is relaxing.
Little Lyyti asks Aapo if it would be ok to play a bit, between all the doggy duties. Aapo accepts a short play moment. After few rolls in the snow the two dogs are back in duty.
Inspecting the gate is one of the key duties, it takes two dogs to do this. Only few dry birch leaves on the snow are found. Dogs know these come from bringing “kerppu” (dried birch branches) for the sheep.
The rest of the birch leaves have already vanished into the sheep.
The “Lambkin Mountain” is the round-the-year viewing spot for the doggies. A well tramped little path goes up to the “Lambkin Mountain” from two different directions.
This snowy winter offers some completely new observation opportunities. Clearing snow from the roofs has formed piles and created “ramps” to all sorts of roofs. Where there is a ramp, there goes a dog… and a dog is followed by a worried dog owner (but the roof is not slippy, for now).
Aapo sits patiently on the roof, guarding. The road often grabs his attention.
A sound from the forest makes him turn around. This time it probably was just a reindeer, but you never know who turns up next. This farm is in the middle of wilderness and instinctively Aapo knows what that means. I am sure Aapo´s Italian ancestors would be proud of him.
While Aapo is guarding from the best viewing spot ever, Lyyti stays with the sheep.
When the dogs change the tasks between them, Lyyti finds her observation place upstairs from the chickens. Most of the year, this spot is inaccessible for everyone else but the Jays, Bullfinches and the Great tits. What comes to the domestic animals, yes, one of the cockerels flies well enough to get to the roof. While we worry about the safety (thinking of the melting time), the dogs just love their newly discovered bird perspective.
Days are still short this time of the year. Landscape is already changing colour. Today we have a “blue moment” before the dark. Dogs are still on duty, until their sheepy friends have gone in for the night. Doggy evening continues with food and then a nap on a comfy sofa.
19th January 2020
Päivi & Anthony