Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Yaks Return and Dogs vs. Yaks Round 1

I haven't even had a chance to write a post introducing our 3rd rescue pit bull, Karma. (I'' do that soon.) She's a wonderful sweet puppy, and we adore her, but one thing we found out...she doesn't like yaks.

Karma the instigator. *sigh*
The yaks had been on walkabout for about a month, so Karma had never met them. The coyotes were howling one night and we saw SOMETHING flash past in the dark, approximately coyote-sized, so we figure that was the impetus for them breaking down one of the boards in their pen and hiking off to who-knows where. We'd been searching for them everywhere, with no luck. The other times they escaped we'd found them at the home of a nearby rancher. This time they were seen near there but by the time someone contacted us (we don't have phone at our place) and Quantum got up there, the girls were off somewhere again.

The Return

Last week, while Quantum was in FL dealing with his mom, the dogs were running about doing their usual roughhousing when I heard one of them barking. I looked out and there at the curve of the driveway and there they were. Amazingly they'd found their way home.

They looked beautifully fit, if a bit muddy. I leaped outside, called the dogs in and spent a half hour coaxing the girls into the pen. The weren't the least bit interested in hay. Not with all the gorgeous grass in the fields, but water they wanted. Yeti was the first to follow my water bucket and Zoozoo and baby Ferdie followed her. Yonkers wasn't impressed. She's wary of most people, and even though she likes me more than most, her affection for me is grudging at best. I let her roam around for a while, knowing she wouldn't stray far from her herd, and eventually she came right up to the gate. She was hoping the other girls would come out and join her, but instead I talked her into going in with them.

Things were okay for a couple of days, although Ferdie found an escape route (she's a little Houdini) and Yazoo managed to follow her. Another couple hours with the dogs locked in the trailer and me wandering around trying to get them back in the pen. And then an hour later they were standing by the gate, asking to be let back in.

Round One

Then the trouble started. Zen and Bushi had never bothered the yaks while they were in their pen, though Zen was apt to flip out a bit when Ferdie got out. He's very concerned about "everything in its place" and knows the yaks belong inside their fence. It hadn't occurred to me that the addition of a third dog would change the equation.

I was outside doing some cleanup when Karma started barking at the yaks. I shushed her a few times. Suddenly she dove under one of the fence rails and into the pen. The yaks charged. Bushi, hearing her pack-mate in distress, ran in after her. Zen raced back and forth outside the pen and then plunged into the fray as well.

The yaks all clustered together. Bushi and Karma ran right into the center of them, nipping their heels. Zen ran in circles coming back and forth to snipe. I don't know how long it lasted. Probably only 10 minutes or so. It felt like hours. One of those times when life goes into slow-mo. Bushi got picked up by a set of horns and tossed through the air. Karma and Bushi both were trampled and pushed around. Then Bushi was hanging from a yak's ear (so much going on that I couldn't tell which) as if she were an earring. She managed to rip out BOTH Yonkers' and Yazoo's ear tags.

For myself, I was screaming for the dogs to stop and to come to me. They're usually relatively obedient but not with this massacre going on. I'm running around trying to catch Zen as he darts in and out, and each time I almost had him, he barrels into me and my glasses (one earpiece is broken) keep falling off. I finally managed to grab Zen as he raced around. Threw him into our trailer. That broke the fight up and after a harrowing few more minutes, the other two left the pen.

Both Bushi and Karma were covered with yak blood, but there wasn't a scratch on any of the three dogs. The yaks were okay other than their ear tags.

As horrified as I was with the fight itself, I can't help but be amazed with three dogs that were able to stand up to three adult yaks (about 700 pounds each) and come out relatively unscathed. I was sure that one of the dogs would end up with broken bones, or worse a broken spine or something else devastating and fatal. It was one of the scariest moments of my entire adult life. And there was more to come.

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