I just came in from helping Ed bury the pound rescue who'd been our loyal farm dog for the last 10 years. In a series of repeated attacks, she was pulverized by the dam of our new foal. It was obvious at a glance that poor Kasha was mortally wounded; rather than prolong her agony with a 30-minute drive to a vet clinic for euthanasia, Ed shot her with his rifle.
This sad episode serves to remind us of how powerful a mare can be when her protective maternal instinct kicks in. Gussie's known and accepted Kasha for years, and had no glaringly obvious reason to be provoked--the dog was merely wandering across the pasture, as she did several times every day on her rounds to patrol the ranch. Gussie's normally a kind and placid mare, one who's never shown an inkling--until today--that she might be capable of such fury. Yet something--the recent presence of nearby coyotes, perhaps, or a gathering spring storm--stimulated her to attack Kasha hard enough and often enough to make sure she wouldn't get up.
I'm going to remember this day whenever town-dwelling guests bring their dogs out for "romps in the country." If something like this could happen with a dog that a mare knows as well as the horse in the next stall...well, you can finish the thought on your own. I need to go back out now, and say a few words over the grave of a really good old dog.