In the days leading up to November 4th, something wasn’t right. I guess you could say it was the calm before the storm. Except, there was nothing calm about them. No, in fact, they were very active.
“The week that this happened, that Monday, a neighbor said he had seen thirteen at one time, which is a lot of coyotes. You know, like two and three is a normal thing. One and two is, is normal. Seeing thirteen coyotes at one time, that was worrisome,” says John Wierwille, a Decatur Shepherd.
Worrisome indeed. Especially for John, owner of “Ewe Can Do It Naturally”. A Decatur based landscaping company whose workforce includes some ninety sheep. On the night of the attack, only six were on the property. According to Wierwille, Casper, as well as another dog were relative newcomers. He had recently acquired the dogs as a test run to see if they could live up to the task of guarding his sheep. Well, Casper quickly proved his value.
“He just charged him and I mean, it was, I think, maybe ten seconds. He had the first three dead,” says Wierville.
Courageous as it was, Casper’s efforts came with a heavy price. When the thirty-minute battle was over, most of the coyotes were dead, and Casper was nowhere to be found. Two days later, and badly wounded, he found his way home. The moment John laid eyes on him; he feared the worst.
“I thought we were gonna have to put him down,” says Wierville. “I didn’t think he’d make it another couple hours. He was terrible. It was, everything badly infected and he just had these huge wounds. I mean, just one of them on his side was like this. And the one on his neck was like that. And I thought one ear was torn off, but it was just matted back with blood. And you know, all the hair was gone and his tail was, you know, missing about half his tail and he wouldn’t even let us get close to his tail. And so the first thing was clean him up enough to be able to assess, you know, do we take him to a vet or not?”
Ultimately, the decision was made to take Casper to a vet. Multiple surgeries would follow, but his long road to recovery was just beginning. So were the medical bills. That’s when John turned to an old friend and an organization created for situations just like Casper’s.
“I think fifteen, sixteen days or so he was at the Emergency Vets. That’s a lot of money. And then he went to Lifeline, and you know, it’s a spay neuter clinic, right? But Dr. Susan Brosman, she and the team over there were just wonder workers,” says Wierville.
As an added bonus, not only did Lifeline Animal Project assist with Casper’s Road to Recovery, the group also launched a GoFundMe campaign to cover his medical bills. In total, they raised fifteen thousand dollars, more than the original goal. That extra money will now help save the life of another animal in the future.
“We thought we were gonna have to do skin grafts, all that, none of that. And he’s, you know, he moves around well and still loves to get dirty and loves to get cleaned; just loves to lay there and watch things and pay attention to everything going on. He’s doing well,” says Wierville.
According to Wierville, this tale just proves just how resilient and defensive the breed is when it comes to their flocks.
“They’re determined to stay with their animals,” says Wierville. “We couldn’t do our jobs without them, because I can’t be out with my sheep twenty-four hours a day, but the dogs are, and the dogs make a lot of the decisions if we try to coexist with coyotes, but you come across the fence and that’s where coexistence ends, especially for the coyotes, right? The dogs decide that’s it. They take care of those threats and it’s not just coyotes. They chase hawks off, they chase owls off. They chase people off. They’re just an incredibly important part of our business.”
By: Ray D’Alessio