The Guardians of Benson Ranch
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
A day in the life...
I'd like to introduce you to a few of the incredible adult Maremmas who manage my ranch every day. Above is the lovely Tessa. She mentored at least sixty pups for me in her time here, many of whom still live here. We lost Tessa to an untimely death due to an auto-immune issue. I miss her every day.
This is Hannah, standing guard over this brand new calf. Her partner Zander looks on. When I brought the mom and calf up to the main barn for a few days I thought Hannah was going to scale the fence and come with me. She took my theft of this calf personally! Hannah adores cows and has been seen on her back under this favorite momma cow kissing her underside. I really wish she wouldn't do that but I think Annabell is careful with her as their affection is mutual.
I love this photo because it shows the teamwork of a pair of dogs. The dogs are standing in the the midst of their herd of donkeys while one looks left and one looks right. Additionally impressive is that this vigilance is happening in the daytime when the dogs ought to be asleep. I can well imagine how watchful they are at night!
Tanzi loves her donkeys! This is a great photo but the one I missed was even better, with Tanzi resting under Curtsy, the tall donkey on the hill. The top of the hill is prime real estate!
There is a herd of up to sixty elk that are frequently on the ranch; I took this photo while standing on my porch. I had been enjoying a morning cup of coffee when I looked up to see this beautiful sight. My husband and I love to watch the elk. We don't allow hunting on the ranch so the elk spend a lot of time here. The dogs are fine with that but don't allow the elk to come into their fields. This group of adolescent elk were really pushing at Centurion and his partner. I watched the dogs go up and stand at the ready at the top of the field. They didn't bark or fuss; they simply weren't going to let the elk come any closer.
This is Tessa helping me welcome a new foal to the ranch. Her gentle countenance is impressive but what is equally impressive is that the mom of this brand new foal trusted Tessa enough to allow her to be this close to her foal.
The trustworthiness of my dogs doesn't stop with livestock, as Milan demonstrates with this young visitor. Amelia is thirteen months old in the photo. Notice how safe she appears to feel next to this gentle giant. As Amelia learned to walk Milan and his partner would position themselves with a nose at each of her shoulders as they escorted her. They never bumped her, or allowed the donkeys to come close.
This is my favorite "I love Milan" photo. He was only a year old when the photo was taken. I could tell stories about my incredible dogs endlessly, and probably shouldn't, so I'll end this here. But I suspect you can readily see why I think giving so much of my time helping puppies grow up well is sooooo worth the effort. What a privilege it is to live with my dogs.