“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies’ you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:1-6 (ESV)
“On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have set watchmen; All the day and all the night they shall never be silent You who put the Lord in remembrance, take no rest, and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth.” Isaiah 62:6-7 (ESV)
The following is an excerpt from my book, “Inspirations from the Funny Farm.” I’ve been thinking about my sweet Daisy May, and the lessons she taught me. She was a true friend to the very end, and I loved her.
The best farm dog we ever had was Daisy May. I loved that girl in a big way. She was a Great Pyrenees. After we began raising chickens, we tried several dog breeds before we found Daisy May. I did my research, and many people told me that the Great Pyrenees breed was the way to go as far as farm protection. However, my research results made me think that this was not the breed for us. I read on-line that these dogs roamed, and by roam, I mean they wandered far away from home even into another county, and owners reported that they frequently had to go and pick their dogs up miles from their home. Well, I didn’t want any part of that. I also was told by other owners that these dogs were not social animals, and that they were strictly herd animals. They were to reside with the animals and tend the animals, and they were not “people” animals. That was another strike against this breed.
However, one day, my husband traded an Eastern Wild turkey for a great big ball of white fluff with a cute little pink nose. She was adorable, and she was a people dog. I knew that we were supposed to pen her up with the animals and house her with them, at least that is what the research said I should do. We named her Daisy May. This was a name that she quickly outgrew as she grew into a massive, beautiful 100 pound ball of white fluff. She didn’t look like a meek little friendly Daisy May, but rather she looked like a beautiful lion with a long flowing white mane. She was a true beauty.
She was our pet, but she was a working pet. She had a job. Her job was to protect our animals. We did not train her for this job. She never even spent one day in canine school, and neither my husband nor I ever spent even one day training her. She truly had a natural born instinct to be a protector for our animals. Prior to her arrival on our 80 acre farm, multiple predatory animals visited, and we lost animals on several occasions. One day I came home from work and found 29 dead chickens that were killed by a pack of local dogs. After Daisy May came to live at Hodge Lodge, we never lost another chicken or any other animal to a predatory animal.
We pinned her up with the chickens the first couple of days, but then we felt sorry for her, and let her out. I worried that she would roam off our property, but she never did. She roamed all over our eighty acres, but she never stepped a foot in the road, and she never left our home. She knew from day one that she had a job, and her job was to protect Hodge Critter Lodge. Under her fine supervision, we acquired a great menagerie of animals. She never tried to harm a feather or hair on one single critter head. I talk to all my animals, and Daisy May was no exception. She seemed to really understand me, and whenever we brought a new feathered or furry family member home, I showed the new critter to Daisy May, and would say, “Daisy, this is one of ours.” She seemed to understand me, and she would guard that animal as if it had lived here forever. One Spring, we had new baby chicks, and we were letting them bounce around the yard. Our Yorkie, Diego, was a puppy at the time. He was bouncing around and playing a little too roughly with the young chicks. Daisy May loved Diego, but she also knew her job was to protect the chicks. She gently plopped her giant front paw on Diego’s head as if to say, “that’s enough little buddy. Leave the chicks alone.”
She slept a lot during the day and roamed our property at night. She reminded me of a night watchman keeping guard. She barked occasionally and made sure that all the locals knew she was on duty and Hodge Lodge was secure. She didn’t just protect the animals; she also kept a watchful eye over her humans. I could walk anywhere I wanted at night without a worry in the world because I had my great big old sheepdog with me. While Jeff worked overseas, I felt perfectly safe under Daisy May’s watchful eye. I’m a natural born country girl and walking outdoors during the dark of night has never bothered me. I can remember hearing a noise and walking out onto the porch to explore only to have my body physically pushed back into the house by my great big old sheepdog. It was if she was telling me, “I got this, Mama. Go back inside and let me do my job.”
We lost our sweet Daisy May a couple of years ago. She died protecting one of our cows that was calving. Wild dogs were trying to attack the calf, and Daisy May gave her life doing what she did best: protecting our farm. I have put a lot of thought into Daisy May and being a sheepdog, and I have arrived at the conclusion that I want to be a sheepdog just like Daisy May. Sheepdogs are bred to protect sheep. Sheep are not very smart critters, and they really don’t realize when they are in danger. Sheepdogs, however, recognize danger, and they instinctively know what to do to protect the sheep from the danger. Therefore, farmers put sheepdogs in with their sheep to protect the sheep from predators. When a sheep dog is on duty, the sheep are safe. In the world of Daisy May there are sheep, and in her case the sheep consisted of actual sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, deer, pigs, and so many other animals, and then there are the wolves, and in her case the wolves consisted of any predatory animal that decided to visit Hodge Lodge. Our animals may not recognize danger, but Daisy May always kept a watchful eye over them to keep them safe from harm.
As Christians, we can fall into one of these three categories. There are people who are sheep who are part of the flock of the great Shepherd, Christ, or who are new in their faith, or even those who haven’t yet come to know Christ as their savior. And then there are the wolves. The wolves are those people that try to draw the sheep away from the great Shepherd. This would include anyone who is working against Christ and trying to make a person doubt their faith or doing things to try to persuade a person to do things that are not Christ-like. The wolves work very hard to keep Christians from being all that they can be for Christ, and sometimes, the Christians, also known as the sheep, don’t recognize the danger of the wolves or perhaps the sheep are not prepared to handle the threat of danger. Finally, there are the sheepdogs. Sheepdogs are those people who stand in the gap. The sheepdog stands between the sheep and the wolves. It is our duty as Christians to stand in that gap. The wolves try diligently to draw the sheep away from the Shepherd, and we must stand in as sheepdogs to prevent this from happening. Many times, we will feel ill equipped, and we won’t feel like we are strong enough to be a sheepdog, and we just want to be a sheep. But as a sheepdog, we help lift other Christians who will become stronger in their faith and relationship with Christ, and in turn, that person will encourage us and help us to become stronger. I pray that I can be a great sheepdog like Daisy May one day. I want to stand in the gap and protect people from the evil in this world. I want to help strengthen fellow Christians, but I also want to spread the gospel to others. Yes, I want to be a sheepdog when I grow up!