The 2 week foster period is up for the rescue Maremma pup, and I have decided to officially adopt him! He has really come into his own the past few days and has been making a lot of progress. A few of the does have finally let him sniff them and he really enjoys spending time with them. His puppy self still comes out sometimes and he does need corrections occasionally, but the progress he has made in just these last few days has been remarkable. He is learning how to approach the goats without scaring them, and his favorite spot to sit when he is with them is next to their hay feeder. He learned (all by himself!) that if he faces the other direction, they will come over and eat and he can sit right next to them. One of the does (the youngest of the group & not the one I would think would do this) will bump him out of the way if he is overstepping his bounds. Sometimes he thinks that is an initiation of play, but I am teaching him that it means back up. I have found that he responds well to positive reinforcement; he is quick to pick up on what he is supposed to do if he is told he is doing something right. If he is doing something wrong, he needs to be redirected to what he should do in order for him to get it.
SO, what's his name?! Well, to understand his name, we need to go back to when my dog Shadow died this summer. My brothers were not home when he died, so when they arrived two days later, I took them down to the area when our dad and I buried him.
We were talking afterwards and they asked me when I would get another dog. I told them that it would not be for a while. One of my brothers told me, "You should name it Wowacintanka. That's the Lakota word for perseverance; 'to persist, to strive in spite of difficulty'."
Perseverance rises from the spirit-rather like a sleeping giant-when we reach our physical limits or we've collided with a barrier that tells us we can't or shouldn't. It enhances strengths and capabilities, awakens our determination, and enables us to move beyond our limits, coaxing from us just enough effort to keep moving, to keep reaching and striving despite the weariness, or pain, or despair.
That word resonated with me because after Shadow, that is exactly what I would be doing; striving despite the pain of losing him. To those that don't know about Shadow and me, we had a special bond. The kind of bond that comes around once in a lifetime, whether between two people or a person and an animal. We understood each other at the core of who we were better than anyone else could. Those that have had the privilege to have such a bond know what I am talking about. So it was just two days after the loss of my friend that I chose the name of his successor (whether a working or a pet dog) to be Wowacintanka (pronounced woah-wah-chin-tongah), nickname Tanka (tongah). This name has special meaning also because it happens to starts with a W. One thing I like to do is start the name of the next animal with the last letter of the previous animal's name, like their legacy lives on.
And when I know something is truly meant to be, there will be many little, seemingly unimportant, details that will fall into place. I had every intention to buy a Maremma pup this year, even though I was hesitant. I now know my hesitation was in preparation for a more perfect match to be made.
--Shadow passed away on July 12, 2013. Tanka was born July 16, 2013. A life ended, a life began, and that life waited until I was ready to accept it into mine.
--Wowacintanka is a word from the Lakota/Sioux Indians that used to inhabitant the Minnesota we call home.
--Tanka has lymes/anaplasmosis but is showing no symptoms, like he is persevering too. (Don't worry, even though he isn't showing symptoms, we are still giving him herbs/homeopathy to help him)
--The word wowacintanka also has this idea of coexisting with respect and peace. That is also what having a livestock guardian dog is about. Our goal is not to exterminate all predators from our area, but find a way to coexist with them.
With that I would like to introduce you to our newest farm member, Tanka!
I am so grateful he has found his forever home with us!