Sunday 01 May, 2016 by Uncle Spike
This is Bonzo. He’s our farm dog, security guard, alarm clock, waste disposal system, and all round entertainer of visitors (albeit some, not all). As a cross between an Anatolian Kangal and a German Shepherd, he’s a fairly tough old brute, who lives outside and only in the peak of summer or torrential rain will he bother napping in his dog house.
His domain includes the entire farm for each morning’s runabout session, but due to his partiality for the odd passing chicken from our free-range stock, a hefty five metre anchor chain (joke; but it does have to be ‘Bonzo proof’) gives him certain territorial rights over a set area.
However…. being ‘on duty’ all night, every night, he spends much of the day like Sid the Sloth, snoring upside down in the shade of the large olive tree under which he lives. As I said, rarely does he bother with his house; even opting for standing outside in the wind and rain – this tough dog loves a good storm 🙂
Over the years he has chomped his way through a few chickens; such as the day he broke through his 6mm thick leather collar, or the day a roosting chook flew out one morning from the wrong side of one of the large clementine trees – home delivery breakfast he called it. All that was left was two feet and a few feathers, seriously, lol.
This week though, was a challenge for Bonzo.
First off, it’s snake season here in southwestern Türkiye, although it’s a few weeks early due to some prolonged dry weather. We don’t get many nasty beasties, but we do have three or four large(ish) grass snakes that wander the land from May until September (vipers etc stick to the orchards I have found). These snakes grow up to two metres, and vary from a shiny jet black (like as below), to a bright green type, and a dark silvery green one.
Like all dogs, Bonzo has a range of barks that mean different things. I have become accustomed to them all over the years:
- I spotted a stray dog on our property
- Neighbour seen passing through to other fields
- Visitors arrived (grrr…)
- Fox sniffed or spotted
- Mom’s home for the weekend!
- I’m Hedgehog chomping
- Neighbour’s chickens invaded
- and, Snake time…
Upon hearing a certain rapid deep barking, I guessed it was time for his first snake of the year, having been practising on lizards this past month (he chomped a rather good-sized wide headed lizard last week). True to form, when I went out there, I saw Bonzo sat there barking like mad at a coiled-up hissing and rather pee’d-off 1.5 metre (est.) long dark green grass snake. Both refused to back down, and there is no way I could drag Bonzo away by his collar or chain, so I opted for chucking rocks at our visitor of the Serpentes order, which eventually worked as I persuaded it to slither off elsewhere, back into the long grass. Of course, no camera with me at the time.
Now this is Brian, our resident rooster on the block. Some of you may recall his ramblings through his letters to Aunty Gill on a fellow blogger’s site. Anyway, young Brian is now a full-on big rooster, complete with an attitude to match. After a recent spate of daytime fox visits which has dwindled our free-range numbers, Brian has become seriously protective of his stock – although I think his own personal survival tactics may also be about having learnt how to run faster than his ladies when the fox appears!
So a new type of bark was heard this week A rather loud, angry and some might say panicky type of bark. Hmm, had to go investigate that one, especially as it was accompanied by a heck of a lot of chook-squawking – but distinctly different to the ruckus of a fox-attack.
What I found was stranger than I had imagined…
I am guessing that one of the chooks had been wandering through the long grass (which I am slowly cutting back this week), and ‘popped out’ right into Bonzo’s large chain circle. Eyeing up a free lunch, he probably reckoned on a stealth attack, as is his right in his ‘zone’. However, it seems that Brian wasn’t gonna put up with that either, and went for Bonzo (!).
By the time I arrived, I found Bonzo, who is no small or timid pooch, not by a long shot, cowering down and barking furiously, as Brian the rooster was perched ON BONZO’S BACK pecking away at the back of his head (!!!). Well, that was a first, a rooster in a full-on defense attack on a big dog. A fair bit of telling off pursued, and I separated prey and poacher (whichever was which), and calm soon returned. Again, I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.
Oh, what a stressful week for Mr Bonzo.