Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Griffin story

So, as I posted last, I have a beautiful new addition to my family, Griffin. He may be a purebred Akbash, or he may be an Akbash/Great Pyrenees blend, but I really don't care one way or another- he's gorgeous whatever his lineage.

Here's the thing. I woke up this morning thinking of Griffin's mom, whose photo is at the top of this entry. First a little history. Akbash dogs are sheep guardians from Turkey. The traditional wisdom there is apparently (I'm going to use that word a lot in this blog) that you put the dog with your flock of sheep as a youngster, handle him or her as little as possible, and basically the dog becomes a flock member. A flock member with pointy teeth who will protect the rest of the flock from predators because they are now the dog's family. Maybe this works well in Turkey (maybe dogs there never need vet care or to be touched by human hands). I don't see how it could, but hey, what do I know?

What I know is that Griffin's mom and two male dogs, a Great Pyrenees and an Akbash, were being used to guard a flock of sheep on a hillside in Ferron, Utah. When it came time to move them to the winter pasture, the sheep's owners apparently felt that it was too much trouble to move Mom and ten pups, so they left them there. In October. With no food or shelter, and no one to care for them. I'm not a violent person, but if I got hold of one of these losers, I believe I could do violence to them. A swift kick to the groin area seems appropriate.

Fortunately, one of the neighbors found the pups when they were about 5 weeks old and an Akbash rescue organization and Big Dogs Huge Paws (a large breed rescue organization) managed to find homes for all ten of the pups. Mom didn't fare so well. She is wary of people and neither rescue has been able to catch her. There is a lot of snow in the mountains, so caring people have built a winter shelter for her, and are bringing her food. For a while she was trying to guard a neighboring rancher's flock of sheep, but he kept shooting at her. I am told that Akbash, like wolves, form very strong pair-bonds. Mama's mate is gone,along with the sheep. Her pups are gone. The goons who "owned" her are gone, and they left her unsocialized, which means she's not getting the vet care she so desperately needs. She also needs to be be spayed, so this tragedy doesn't replay next year when the flock and the male dogs return... The situation just breaks my heart.

Fortunately, the rescue organizations continue to try to catch Mama dog so she can get care and maybe have the chance at a brighter future... keep good thoughts for her, k?

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I guess since I completely missed December and January due to the newest member of my family (a Pyrenees/Akbash puppy who I've named Griffin) it's time to play a little catch-up.

My critique group decided in January to make "artistic resolutions". My resolution was to finish revising Bone Songs and Lizzie's Purple Dragon and sell them, and to send out at least 2 packages a week to art editors. I've been somewhat successful at doing both, although I'm behind on the two packages a week- it's been more like one a week, but it's still progress.

I'm also at UNM full-time again this semester, and I'm feeling like I've maybebitten off more than I can chew. I have Interdiscplinary Approaches to Literature: Age and Gender in the Media,which requires reading at least 100 pages a week; Intermediate Italian where the teacher now almost never speaks English and neither does the book; Physics and Physics Lab which my friend Cy is teaching, but that doesn't make the concepts any easier; and Medieval Archaeology, which I love, but which also requires a huge amount of reading. Add to this the fact that I still don't have a source of income beyond unemployment which ends in May, and you can imagine that I'm feeling a little stressed... but I'm hopeful too, and excited to see what the future holds.

That's all for now, more next month, I hope.