CCF is an organization founded to protect cheetahs and reduce conflict with predators – but our dogs are just as much a part of our mission. And… we love it when it comes to our Kangal and Anatolian shepherd Livestock Guarding Dog puppies! Right now our goat yard is bursting with new arrivals with more soon on the way. Two weeks ago mother Kiri gave birth to a huge litter – nine healthy puppies – fathered by Firat. And just a few days ago, we had another litter of nine puppies, this time it was Taya – also fathered by Firat. This was her first litter and all the puppies are doing fine. By the time you read this we will have another litter on our hands at the end of June. On top of this, we just bred two more dogs that will be due about two months from now. Whew!
All of these new puppies mean a lot of work, especially for one person in particular, Paige Seitz (above in the orange shirt). Paige started at CCF as an intern and has now become our Livestock Guarding Dog Program Manager. She has her hands full, literally, as puppies are weighed regularly, fed supplementally as soon as their eyes are open (at about ten days), de-wormed, and given vaccinations at several points in time. When they are approximately nine weeks old, our CCF veterinarian neuters or spays the puppies and she makes sure they are all fine. She works with the farmers and places the puppies with the farmers at about 10 weeks of age, after the farmers partake in a Dog and Farmer Training Day at CCF. With 12 adult dogs as part of CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog breeding program, Paige is constantly on the move.
In addition to her hands-on work with the dogs, Paige also interacts with farmers, talking with them on the phone to coordinate placement of the puppies. She is supported by Tyapa Toivo (above in the gray shirt), our Small Livestock Manager, who works with our small stock, the boer goats and sheep and our, growing dairy herd, and Gebhardt Nikanor, one of CCF’s Education Officers, who makes sure farmers are ready to receive the puppies and follows up with them after placement.
Together, they train farmers on how to properly care for livestock guarding dogs. After the puppies are placed in their new homes, the CCF team conducts wellness checks at three months to follow up and give vaccination booster shots and again at six months and regularly after that until the dogs are working successfully on their own.
If you have ever had to take care of a litter of puppies, you know how exhausting this can be. But guess what? It’s soon going to be goat kidding time! This creates even more work for Paige and Tyapa, as the two programs overlap. CCF puppies grow up with our goats, the animals they are trained to protect.
When we joke that all of the action at CCF takes place in the goat pen, we are not kidding!
If you love puppies too, please support our Livestock Guarding Dog Program. We go through lots and lots of dog food and vaccines and we always need more. If you can make a donation today, please support CCF’s LGD program today.