Tuesday, May 24, 2016

[written 5-10-16]

After Susan died (July 4th 2015) I was urged to wait at least a year before making any significant decisions, such as moving.  The year isn't quite up but I've decided to move to Sandpoint Idaho in order (among other motives) to be near two of my daughters, and two of my grandchildren.   While I've made the decision, I'm not going to have the help for the move for several months yet, possibly not until the Spring of 2017, but I have been looking at houses on Sandpoint's Century 21's web site and the properties that have the most appeal have 5 to 10 acres and are near forested areas where I can take the dogs hiking off leash – heading out for a hike without having to drive anywhere.  I initially quailed at the idea of managing the weeds on ten acres but was informed that owners of such properties have either goats or llamas (or both) for that purpose.  The only downside is that one must provide them with hay during the three months when it is too cold for weeds to grow.

Moving wasn't my first "significant" decision.  The first was to buy an Irish Terrier.  Susan would tell me I could buy whatever I liked but she always said that the Rhodesian Ridgeback was the only breed she could become attached to and I was way too indulgent to actually get an Irish Terrier until a month ago when I put my name on a list for a female which will be delivered to me in the last week of this month. I made that decision before deciding to move to Sandpoint; so I could forfeit my deposit and back out, but I have always wanted an Irish Terrier so I am going to get her.

My two daughters who live in Sandpoint and my son who lived there in the past warn of wild animals coming onto one's property.  The sort of property I'm attracted to is more likely to be visited by bear, moose, mountain lions, bob cats, coyotes, and even wolves than the closer-to-town areas they have lived in.  I am proficient with rifles and handguns so I am not worried about protecting our little pack on a hike – as long as I have enough warning which the dogs will provide.   Since Ben will be not quite six and my Irish Terrier (whom I plan to name Jessica after the Marvel super hero Jessica Jones who is small but tough) around one year old, I'm thinking that Jessica may be my first line of defense.  I'll also have Susan's six year old lap dog (23 ½ pound Duffy) who will bark a lot; so I'll have plenty of warning, but as far as a dog that will stop or confront a wild animal, I'll at least initially expect more from Jessica than Ben.  Ben is way too laid back and sociable, it seems to me, to seriously confront something like a bear.  I may be wrong and maybe Ben's size and Jessica's darting about will be enough to deter wild intruders (and maybe the wild animals will smell the dogs and stay away).  I checked the presence of wolves in Northern Idaho and it is against the law to shoot them unless they are going after farm or domestic animals. But will I be willing to rush out into the snow at night each time Duffy barks?  I may initially, but I'll hope they'll get the hang of things up there and only call me out for very good reasons (no harm in hoping even if my hope is unreasonable).

People in the Sandpoint region who have flocks of animals will get something like a Kangal to be with the sheep and protect them from such intruders, but I wouldn't want to take that step unless absolutely necessary.

Ben and Duffy have been hiking with me off leash a huge number of times.  They are used to coyotes.  Perhaps I'll have time to get Jessica used to them before we move to Sandpoint, and while there is a wolf presence there it has only been hikers thus far who have seen them.  Hunters complain about the depletion of deer and elk herds, but I didn't see any reference to wolves taking domestic animals quite yet.

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