I got an email from my friend and neighbor Roger Sweet yesterday entitled “mystery creature.” He attached a photo from another neighbor’s game camera showing part of a large dog-like creature and asked if it might be Bravo.
As I was setting up a new grazing area for the sheep in the evening, I was thinking that I would write Roger a response saying that Bravo is always behind electric fencing, so there was no possibility that he could be the mystery creature. Then Bravo jumped over the fence and came running over to me with a big smile. I hadn’t turned on the electricity yet, so I led Bravo back to the enclosure with the sheep and ran over to turn on the fence charger. Moments later he was back, again with his adolescent Maremma smile. We repeated this game a couple more times until I was convinced it was a hopeless project to keep him in. It was raining and getting dark, and I was out of ideas; I’d try to deal with Bravo in the morning. And I was no longer clear that he wasn’t the mystery creature captured by the game camera more than a mile away from our farm.
This morning, Bravo was waiting for me in the enclosure with the sheep, as he has every morning since I started grazing rotations.
My guardian dog had demonstrated that the electronet couldn’t contain him but he nevertheless chose to return to his sheep. It’s clear that he’s developed a strong connection to his flock, but now I’m left to wonder what he does every night between dinner and breakfast. I’m trying to convince myself that the mystery creature is much too stocky to be Bravo, but can’t quite get over the ambiguity of the low-resolution image. I suppose I could get Bravo some kind of GPS tracking collar, or I could just imagine the nighttime adventures he might be having.