Trouble Died Today

Catherine de la Cruz wrote this about the death of Trouble, a Great Pyrenees who worked at the same job his anscestors have worked for thousands of years. I hope to add a picture of Trouble shortly.

Trouble died today. I didn't own him, and despite his bearing my kennel name, I didn't breed him. But I am very proud of him because for ten years he has been the visible symbol of livestock guardian dogs in central Sonoma County (CA).

Pompier Double Trouble was born on my daughter's ranch ten years ago, and at the age of four months, he and his father, Ch. Pompier Sno-Bear's Beau Bosc, went to protect the small sheep flock of Donna and Jerry Hlavac. Bosco showed his son the ropes and after a few months went back to his own sheep.

The only fence Trouble ever went through was between his sheep and the neighbor's sheep - neither farm lost any lambs while Trouble was on duty. He felt it his duty to warn the cars and trucks passing by on the busy highway that HE was in charge. Walkers who thought about petting the big white dog didn't think about it long - his deep bark and imposing presence convinced them he could bite if he really wanted to - though he never wanted to.

I took a friend and her child to visit Trouble's sheep one day; when he heard the child crying, Trouble raced across the field to check on the problem. He was satisfied only when I showed him the child - who stopped crying immediately - and spent the rest of our visit between the child and the other adults.

When I mention"dogs that live with the sheep", everyone immediately asks about "the white dog on Llano Road". Every morning as I drove along the foggy road, there was Trouble, lying in the corner of the field, watching his sheep. During his ten years of duty, Donna and Jerry never lost a single animal to predators - two- or four-legged.

Last Christmas, three-month old Pompier Vincera - Vinnie to his friends - went to live with the Hlavacs and learn from Trouble just as Trouble had learned from Bosco. A few weeks ago, I began seeing Vinnie in the corner of the field; Trouble remained near the barn.

Today, Trouble passed the shepherd's crook to his young pupil and took the path to the Rainbow Bridge. I will miss seeing that wonderful old dog in his green pasture with his black sheep. But tonight Vinnie barked as my car went by - and I know the pasture is still in good hands.

- Catherine de la Cruz

Benjamin G. Levy,

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