Meet Punica, our newest livestock guardian dog
This week, a reinforcement arrived for our livestock guardian dog team: Punica, a Turkish LGD bred by Farei Kennels, in Maine. Or as we like to say: another Farei special.
We said goodbye to Jael in December 2020 and have been shorthanded ever since, navigating the rest of the winter by the skin of our teeth. Punica’s arrival couldn’t have come at a better time.
Who is Punica?
Born on the Fourth of July, 2020, she was held back for observation as a possible addition to the breeding program. She’s been wonderful in her stock safety, budding working ability and temperament, but a physical trait disqualifies her from breeding. And while there are plenty of gnarly predators up in Maine, her services as “just” a guardian weren’t needed in an already sizable Kangal pack.
(Farei breeds Kangals, however, the foundation stud, a registered Kangal out of imported parents, pops a rough coat and phenotype more similar to Karadeniz or Black Sea Shepherds, the product of a possible outcross way back. Much like Maya and her mother, Punica hearkens back to her great-grandad. Hence: Turkish LGD. Or better yet, Farei special.)
Punica comes house trained, with a strong foundation of obedience work. And came straight from her job as a sheep guardian, over a winter that has been particularly rough for predator incursions of all shapes and sizes in Maine. We will work with her over the next few months to help her transition into life on our farm. Her head is on a swivel right now, and while we do have predator pressure, it’s not nearly as harsh as what she has already experienced.
She’s incredibly sweet and has won the affection of every dog in the pack — LGD and border collie, alike. Don’t mistake that sweetness for being a doormat though. She’s got a smile and a stiletto in her boot; don’t mess with baby. The sheep are still getting used to another “grizzly bear” in their midst, but she’s shown deference and a kind demeanor to them. Her joie de vivre will win them over.
Her name means pomegranate. It also denotes the longest surviving epic Latin poem written about the Punic Wars, featuring Hannibal and Scipio Africanus. Most notably though, her name comes from a fairy tale, about a sassy, fiery, strong young woman.
Like her aunt and what her name evokes, she’s got the makings of being a sweet, brave individual; an iron fist in a velvet glove. We’re looking forward to seeing her grow into that here.