by Jan 16, 20064 comments

The events of this past day have been too horrible to contemplate.

Two nights ago, we lost ALL of our sheep to a pack of wild dogs or coyotes (we think) based upon the nature of the wounds. Animal control told us they thought it might have been a mountain lion–but at 6:30 am we found a pack of wild dogs still in the sheep yard, so we think the dogs did it. The carnage was horrible.

The thing is, the pen is right next to our house and we heard NOTHING. In the early morning we found two dead (Twinkle and Buttercup) and Dancer is nowhere to be found. The sheep had broken open the fence gate trying to escape–so Dancer probably ran away–but she has not returned and we have searched and searched for her. I do not have much hope that we will find her alive.

I do not know how the predators got into the sheep area but they did. I think they knocked down a segment of fencing (there was evidence of a struggle) or leaped the fence. The sheep would never let us close them in the barn at night–though they slept there when it rained. They would never let me shut the door (they always bolted out). The net is this: these sheep died a terrifying death.

We have only had these magnificant animals since early December. We were looking forward to their lambs in the spring. Renee and I spent yesterday burying Buttercup and Twinkle in the spot they used to enjoy sitting.

I am not sure what the lesson of this is… I wish I could write something profound about life and death and the give and take of living in the country….. but this is just horror.

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  1. lindasue

    deeders….i so rarely get to talk to you….here i am, your own sister and i had no idea about this horrible tragedy you had to muddle thru. i am so sorry. Please give my love and condolences to renee as well. you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Eric Soderstrom

    Dear Denise,

    I'm sorry for you. We lost our two guinea pigs to fly strike last Summer in the heat and we were wrecked emotionally for days, especially my wife. She felt guilty for not taking better care of them even though everything we read said there wasn't really anything we could have done for them. So try not to blame yourself or spend to much time dwelling on what you could have done differently. You gave them a loving home and took good care of them. It's not your fault.

    I think a mountain lion would probably would have taken just one and most likely would have killed quickly and dragged it away. If you get more sheep (and I think you should when you are ready) consider getting a dog of your own, maybe a border collie or something. At least it would alert you to predators and provide your other animals some protection.

    And bad things can happen in cities too. Dogs get hit by cars and such. I wouldn't go back to living in the East Bay for anything. Not even Berkeley.


  3. Anonymous

    Dear Denise,

    There are no words. My heart holds you and Renee as you grieve yet another deep loss.

    Peace, Loretta

  4. Anonymous

    Dear Denise and Renee,
    I can't even tell you how sorry I am to learn of the tragedy that befell you. I, too, am sitting here at home in tears feeling your heartache. We have experienced the same slaughtering of our two sheep. Killed by a pack of dogs that got into our fenced yard. We called the vet and he came out to examine the two sheep. One was pregnant and gave birth to two babies. Phil helped delivered the twins and one survived only to pass away a day later. Although I got the honor of feeding her by hand every l/2 hour she was too undeveloped to live. I still can feel her in my arms while I fed her and she bonded with me and cried when I put her to bed. I sometimes think it would be a lot easier/less heartbreaking if we were to live in a "highrise" somewhere. No gardens, no animals, no pets. Hang in there. Somewhere there is a lesson to be learned of all that has happened to us all. Perhaps this is the worst that can happen and everything else will be a "piece of cake".
    Love to you both,

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