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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dogs & Emus

In last week's post, I showed you pictures of our rheas. Here is a picture of an emu father and his chicks. The chicks are striped when they're little. (see them in the foreground)

They're far more striking than the rhea but not overly friendly. As with all our animals, we introduced the dogs to them one by one. 

Back then, there was Isis, the Smartest Dog In The World. Chelly, the dog you see in my author picture. And Nacho, another rottie who was a puppy at the time.

Isis was cautious. The emu male approached her and she took a step back. He pushed her a little farther and she took another step back. All of a sudden Isis was backed up against the barn wall and this look came over her that said: I don't think so, Fluffy. Those hackles raised and she walked that emu right back to the fence line.

Chelly didn't know what to make of the giant bird. This time the emu didn't take any chances and he charged her, stomping on my poor dog with his big clawed feet. All four legs splayed out, but just like a cartoon dog, Chelly popped back up. I was so angry at that bird that I chased him all the way back to his huddle of hens. Nobody messes with my girl. LOL.

Nacho was in a class by herself. After seeing how the other two dogs handled themselves, we didn't hold much hope for a ten month old rottie. She was still a baby.

We were in for a shock. Once again the male emu charged, but before we could push him away, the puppy lunged at the bird, jumping straight up, then grabbed him by the throat. She kept him pinned down and never broke the skin--despite his thrashing. The bird outweighed Nacho, but that didn't matter to her. She was absolutely fearless.

Of all the dogs we've ever had, Nacho was the most serious and steadfast. She never took a day off and looked after us to her dying day.

My girls were great helpers around the ranch. I still miss them. My boys are not nearly as industrious. I suppose Tank doesn't have to do anything but look big, and Iko is still my scorpion hunter, but they are lazy cusses compared to my girls.


ParaJunkee said...

My goodness! Rots and Emus crazy combo. I had a friend that had an Emu farm way way down the road in what New Orleanians call the Parish. Swamp country. Neat birds wouldn't let you touch them for too long though. I can see how they might intimidate a dog at first but boy are rots tough. What an interesting family, thanks for sharing.

Dru said...

Thanks for sharing your story with the dogs and emus.

Maria Zannini said...

ParaJunkee: I know Louisiana well. Our ranch was in east Texas at the time. It never stops raining out there. Thanks for stopping in!

Dru: Thankfully, my birds are much smaller now. :-)

Mason Canyon said...

Our animals do hold a special place in our hearts. Thanks for sharing the story. It's interesting how each dog handled the situation differently.

Thoughts in Progress

Linda Leszczuk said...

The little guys/gals are always the fiercest, didn't you know that. And as for the girls outworking the boys...well, duh.

But I would have enjoy watching them all together.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

After that first charge, I don't think I'd attempt to send my other dogs in for an introduction. Was the emu more respectful of the dogs after being pinned?

Sherri said...

We are woman, hear us roar


Are you really surprised, Maria? Really?

Though I agree it's interesting how each dog responded differently.

Maria Zannini said...

Mason: Dogs are just as individual as people. No two are alike.

Linda: Being a 'little guy' myself, I would say it's just that we don't know any better. :)

Eileen: Well, the whole point was to eventually train them to herd the birds. (we had a great many at the time) So it was important that they not be afraid.

They ended up becoming a great team. Chelly, who was the one stomped, took to her herding instinct right away and was fearless even when the birds got rough. Isis was her partner and always worked the angles. :)

Sherri: Boys have it too easy. ;-)

Joanne said...

Interesting how the pup reacted pretty much by instinct, listening to her gut. She seemed to trust herself. Whereas the older dogs almost seemed like they were "thinking" it out. I guess there's a message there, to listen to our gut.

jackie b central texas said...

I have only see Emus and Ostrich and Rheas across a fence, not really sure about getting in the pen with even one of them much less a small herd! Brave dog, smart too not to let the bird get the upper hand like the older pups did!

Maria you have the greatest pet names, have you ever had a pet named THOR yet?

Shirley Wells said...

My dogs would totally freak out if they came face to face with an emu. Well, I assume they would. I wouldn't hang around long enough to find out. ;)

Angelina Rain said...

Maria, I’ve noticed from personal experience that female animals (especially cats) are more vicious and relentless then males. At least that’s the case with me. I’ve had female cats who would catch birds in mid flight while the male cat would just cry and whine as though asking the bird to just fly into his mouth so he wouldn’t have to work for it.

It seems like you’re had a lot of dogs. I like learning about them. Isis is such a cool name and all the dogs are so beautiful.

Joanna St. James said...

I have never seen an emu or a rhea. You my dear live a very eventful life, no doubt filled by canine joy.

Suzanne Brandyn said...

I am thinking about getting a dog, and all the more I find out the better.
I don't know much about them at present, but it is interesting to find out how they react and each one differently. :)

Madeleine said...

Gosh that sounds dramatic! How did you get the puppy off the emu?
One of my cats took a look at my parents little puppy and started licking his lips. I had to send him outside PDQ! :O)

Maria Zannini said...

Joanne: Well, the older dogs were trained not to harm any of the farm animals. Nacho hadn't gotten that memo yet. :)

Jackie: LOL. We agonize over their names. Usually they grow into them. Other times they name themselves. Nacho was originally Natasha.

Shirley: Dogs are so different. These girls grew up around a lot of different animals.

Angelina: That's true. Females are a lot more proactive about things that males. We do all the work, the guys get all the glory. :)

Joanna: It's been an interesting life so far.

Suzanna: Take your time finding the right dog. Most of ours have been rescues, and they make the best pets of all.

Madeleine: One of the first commands we teach the dogs is "Drop It". Comes in very handy with a rottweiler. LOL.

Darke Conteur said...

Our female mutt Sara, was always more giving than our male beagle Floyd. Heck, she even babysat the kittens when they were born!

Marianne Arkins said...

Go Nacho!

And, as a side note (no offense to the men types reading), but I only do female pets. I've just found that females are better critters overall: fewer bad habits, more calm and less inclined to wander or be bad. Well, except for my rat. The male was much sweeter... so I suppose there are always exceptions!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

i love all your dogs's names. They are full of win.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I love all my kids, but the girls actively wanted to work. The boys...not so much.

Marianne: Oh, that Nacho. She was daddy's girl from the moment they met. She'll always be remembered as the most loyal.

Sarah: Our dogs have a tendency to name themselves. :)

Ronda (Queentutt's World of Escapism) said...

I love hearing stories like this, it is amazing how animals of the wild (Emu) and domestic animals (dogs and cats) get along - its like who is going to be the more dominate one at the moment. LOL

But then again, I've seen animals live in harmany and you can usually tell when they are sleeping or laying next to each other which is a site to see.
Thats why I love living out in the country. So enjoyable - have a great day

Cate Masters said...

Such cuties, your pups were. Emus and rheas sound like a handful (or armful, lol) but what a cool experience!

Misha said...

Aw! What happened to your girls?

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I'm going to have a cute-attack from your dog pics. >_<

Temperance Black said...

Hi, I'm a new follower. Please stop by my blog and follow me in return. :c)

Maria Zannini said...

Ronda: There's a hierarchy among animals. Each one knows the pecking order--though sometimes you have to 'educate' them. :)

Cate: It's not something I'd do today. It requires more running than I'm capable now.

Misha: My babies have all gone to doggie heaven. Chelly was the last to go. Nacho and Isis lived to 12 years old. That's pretty old for rotties.

Barbara: They were real charmers too.

Temperance: Nice to meet you. Already followed back.