Winter Storm Elliott is coming
Toward the end of last year, we were preparing for a dramatic weather event of snow/ice coupled with a massive temperature drop. We watched the timelines with great concern for our animals at the farm, as the weathermen were forecasting 30 – 50 degree plummets in the temperature, with actual temperatures well below freezing.
A friend of mine that lives in Colorado shared this graphic – and we knew that a mess would be heading our way.
A lost dog
On Monday of that week, I was driving toward Elizabethtown and I spotted a large white dog that was running loose on the side of the road. She reminded me so much of our first Great Pyrenees (Patu) that I actually rolled down my window and talked to her for a minute. She seemed like she was just on an adventure, so I left and said several prayers that she would go home before the storm came through. Over the next several days, we received multiple Facebook messages from people that live in the vicinity of our farm, asking if this dog was ours.
Then on Wednesday, Brian’s daughter called to tell us the big Great Pyr we’ve been seeing running around was now laying – possibly injured or dead – at the end of the road. My heart broke. We quickly changed into farm clothes to see what we could do to help.
We pulled over, Brian jumped out of the car… and….
After trying unsuccessfully to convince her to get into the back of the car, I decided it would be easier if she would just walk the 1/2 mile with me down to the farm. We had a nice chat, I told her about the farm, and I promised that food and shelter would be waiting for her.
The poor thing was *completely* covered in cockle-burrs, and obviously in pain from them. Brian worked to remove them as long as she would let him, and then we tucked her safely into an unused lambing jug to ride out the coming weather.
I posted on our local lost & found pets page, hoping that her owners would be looking for her, too.
We prepped all our animals the best we could. We loaded extra hay, made sure all the water de-icers were in full service, and added some extra bedding in all the barns.
And while we were finishing up… the snow started and the temperature began dropping very quickly.
A makeshift windscreen (giant mesh tarp) in the goat barn helped to shield some of the snow and wind from the goats and the chickens. The storm was blowing from a different direction than anticipated, so we had to adjust our plans.
Meanwhile, we even had some snow angels that were happy to play in it! Emily just stood outside, while the snow started to cover everything. Even herself!
This is Annabelle, one of our other Great Pyrenees dogs. She *loves* the snow and cold.
We prayed extra hard over our farm… said goodnight, and then went to bed ourselves.
The next morning, it was… cold.
However, everyone on the farm was just fine! Including the sweet puppy that we nicknamed “Solee” – short for Solstice (which is the day she found us).
A few days later…
Brian worked tenderly with her every night to remove the burrs that she was completely covered in. We couldn’t get a harness on her, for fear those sharp spikes would dig straight into her. However, as soon as her belly and back were clear, we called the LaRue County Animal Clinic to make an appointment to scan her for a microchip.
Though the area she was in shared a fence line with our other two dogs, this was the first time they had been close enough together to say hello. It made me laugh to see Annabelle looking at me as if to say, “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!”
We didn’t realize how much bigger she was than our other girls, and it took a while to get the harness on her and adjusted.
We got Solee loaded without difficulty, and made the short trek up the road to the vet. After several minutes, the vet pronounced, “there is no chip.”
It was honestly a huge relief, as we had already completely fallen head over heels in love with this sweet girl. After still no response from the Facebook posting (which had over 100 shares and multiple comments), and now “no chip,” we decided that Solee was already home. That night I went to town and got her a collar and name tag. Sharna’s is blue, Annabelle’s is pink. And now Solee’s is purple. Brian put her collar on, and she was such a happy girl!! I truly believe she knew that meant she gets to stay with us.
Another road trip
Any new animals on our farm always go through a period of quarantine to try to lessen the risk of spreading disease. Since we knew nothing of Solee’s history, we took her to our own vet at E’town Animal Hospital for a full work up. When I signed in, I found out our sweet girl was already “famous on the internet,” as the staff had seen my Facebook post about her! She did great on the 30 minute ride, and loved standing on the tailgate – sniffing the air, and looking around.
However, she was a little bit nervous when we got inside. We had a complete workup done to be sure she was healthy – and bless her heart, she stayed snuggled up to my leg the entire time. The good news is she received a 100% clean bill of health!!! We updated her shots, and learned she is a whopping 102 lbs. That is a full 25 pounds heavier than our (very large) Annabelle!! No wonder we had to adjust the harness!!
When we got home, we opened access to the main fence, so that all the dogs could see each other, and get used to the new living arrangement. A lot of barking and growling and sniffing, and then everyone seemed to come to agreement that all is well.
When our Annabelle first came to the farm as a puppy, she stayed in the alpaca barn – and completely bonded as a guardian for our alpacas. Sharna is an equal opportunity guardian, and roams the entire farm. And now… Solee bonded with our sheep.
We even caught her whispering secrets!
The final test
The past few weeks, I’ve really been worrying about a final test for our precious girl, and it’s one she didn’t even know was coming. We have free range chickens, and she never showed the slightest irritation or aggression toward them – but the true test would be baby lambs, freshly born, lots of blood… and we didn’t know how she would react.
As a true testament to just how awesome she is, our first 2 lambs of the year were born on February 6, and Solee watched over them carefully from the perimeter. She let Rizzo do her thing, while she stood guard to be sure they wouldn’t be bothered.
One more thing
Our local TV station WAVE 3 posted this awesome graphic that brilliantly showed what “weather in Kentucky” is all about. Winter Storm Elliott to short sleeves and open windows, all in the span of a single week!!
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This Post Has 12 Comments
Oh what a heart warming story! I loved reading about your preparation for Winter Storm Elliott and the introduction of Solee! What a lucky pup to have found you and just in the nick of time too! I have a rescue pup too and they are really the best!
What a lucky pup!!! Very enjoyable read ❤️
My heart sank when I read the part when she was found injured but it was such a lovely read! It sounds like she found you on purpose and Solee is a lovely name!
Thank you for taking good care of this animals. 🤍
What a sweet heart! So glad the weather warmed up fast!
That is quite the temperature drop!! So happy you we able to rescue Solee before the weather came in. Seems like she fits perfect with your family.
Glad you weathered the storm well! And yay for a new member of the family. She fits right in.
What a lovely story. Thank you for introducing Solee. She is adorable.
What a remarkable life for you! I’ve Always loved farm life. It’s very clear you have big hearts for taking in sweet Solee.
Such a lovely goat, what an awesome experience..
This story is just amazing! Wow! Thank you so much for sharing. I love that this shows no matter where you live extraordinary things happen and we can love the life we live.