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Sheep midwife duties fall on trusty Tank.

Our son began raising sheep about two years ago, and he knew he needed some dogs to help with this task. He proceeded to buy a Great Pyrenees sheep dog, who was a big bundle of white for when he arrived. In discussing what to name him, our grandson said he looked just like a tank because he was so big and squared off, even as a puppy. So Tank became his name.

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When Tank was about six months old, one of the ewes went into labor one day when my husband, Tommy, was mowing in the pasture where they were grazing. She was out away from the flock by herself, and my husband didn't realize that she was in labor. But Tank did. He was with her, and started following my husband, staying between the mower and the ewe. Eventually Tank's behavior helped Tommy realize that the ewe was in labor, and he went to another section to mow.

The little lamb made its appearance in about an hour, and we were surprised when Tank assisted after the birth. He cleaned up the lamb, almost pushing the mother to one side, and he cleaned up the mama as well. This was her first lamb, and it was his first delivery. For those of you who have raised sheep and been around sheep dogs, this is not anything new to you. But to us, here in east Texas, the sheep dogs are quite inspiring and amazing. We were in awe of Tank's instinctual abilities.

Since that first time, Tank has "delivered" several more lambs for us, and he is protective of the whole flock. He is a sweet-tempered dog and gentle with family members, but don't mess with his "babies"--he watches them closely and protects them.

Alice West

Center, Texas

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Title Annotation:PETTING ZOO
Author:West, Alice
Publication:Grit
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2006
Words:303
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