Two sheepdogs protect entire flock of sheep from wildfire for 20 days

Tad and Sophie rewarded with steak and 'a good pat'

Lydia Smith
Thursday 31 August 2017 09:39
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Maremma sheepdogs have been used for decades to guard flocks
Maremma sheepdogs have been used for decades to guard flocks

A pair of sheepdogs protected an entire flock from wildfires in Canada for 20 days after their owners were evacuated from their home.

Lynn Landry was forced to leave her two maremma sheepdogs Tad and Sophie and her flock of 90 sheep at her ranch in British Columbia.

After watching the fires spread across the surrounding area, Ms Landry told PRI’s The World: “There was nothing we could do. We had to leave.”

The family left their home on 6 July, the day before the province declared a state of emergency.

The 2017 wildfire season is the worst in British Columbia’s history, with more than 1,000 fires razing nearly 9,000 sq km, according to the region’s Wildfire Service.

So far, the fires have cost the province $204 million (£125 million).

Ms Landry said she left out dog food, but feared the animals would not survive the fire.

Yet 20 days later, when the family were able to return home, they found the two dogs sitting in the field with the sheep.

Only one older sheep died but the rest managed to survive. The neighbours’ homes had burned down.

Ms Landry said: “They protected them from wildfires, but also from bears and coyotes. The sheep would never have survived without them.

She added the family rewarded the dogs with steak and “a good pat” and said the pair have settled back to their normal lives well.

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