In the quiet of the night, Casper, a 2-year-old Great Pyrenees, was standing vigilant over his flock of sheep at his home in Decatur, Georgia. He was their guardian, their protector, and he took his role very seriously. But on one fateful night in early November, his duty would be put to the ultimate test.
As Casper watched over his sheep, a pack of nearly a dozen coyotes approached, their eyes glowing in the darkness. These coyotes were cunning and dangerous predators, and they had their sights set on the defenseless sheep. But Casper was not one to back down from a challenge.
With a fierce determination, Casper leapt into action. He fought tooth and nail against the pack of coyotes, using all of his strength and skill to defend his flock. In the end, he emerged victorious, having killed a whopping eight coyotes and successfully saving all of the sheep in his care.
But the victory came at a steep price. Casper himself was badly injured in the process, sustaining gaping wounds to his neck and side, and losing his tail. The veterinary staff at Lifeline Animal Project, where Casper was taken for treatment, were initially worried that recovery might not be an option for the brave dog.
“How bad are these wounds, and is it something that can be fixed? Or is it something that is beyond fixing? You know, that is what makes the quality of life an issue,” said Katrina Coleman, a vet tech at Lifeline Animal Project.
But against all odds, Casper’s healing process exceeded expectations. He has recovered better than anyone could have imagined. His owner, John Weirville, was amazed by his dog’s strength and resilience.
“I can’t even explain how good it is to see him right now, because I felt like there was no way he was going to live when I saw him (after the attack),” Weirville said.
John Weirville is the owner of Ewe Can Do It Naturally, a landscaping business that utilizes the natural instincts of sheep to clear away brush from properties. He is also part of the Urban Shepherds, a nonprofit organization that promotes the grazing of sheep as a sustainable solution for managing landscaping. With his line of work, it’s not hard to see how valuable a dog like Casper is to him.
According to the Atlanta Coyote Project, it’s relatively common to spot coyotes wandering around the metro-Atlanta area, but it’s rare to see so many running together.
“This is extremely unusual behavior for coyotes, and we suspect that there might be extenuating circumstances,” said Chris Mowry, a professor of biology at Berry College.
Mowry, who works with the Atlanta Coyote Project to study the behavior of coyotes in the metro, said coyotes live in small family groups and they are rarely aggressive.
“In this particular situation, the only thing that makes sense is if there was a large litter this year and the pups hadn’t yet dispersed,” Mowry said. “This could potentially make sense if there are lots of resources available, which sounds like it might be the case in this area of Decatur.”
Casper’s healing process will take several more months. Lifeline Animal Project is generously donating their care to Casper, which would have cost Weirville more than $15,000. But despite the long road to recovery, Casper’s bravery and selflessness will never be forgotten. He is a true hero, a guardian of his flock, and a shining example of the unbreakable bond between man and dog.