Cattle dogs aren’t mere pets, they’re valuable working animals that can cost as much as $2,000 and render priceless service in their ranch duties.
And Cisco was a standout among cattle dogs, says a Colorado resident who knew him.
“The dog was worth at least two or three cowboys on horseback the way it could get cattle to go where they should. The dog was always ready, eager, willing and able to assist with moving cattle,” Morrison Heth told Cowboy State Daily.
He’s a neighbor of Donna and Greg Sykes, who lost Cisco to wolves from Colorado’s North Park pack March 13.
Donna said Cisco was, without a doubt, an invaluable asset to their cattle ranch, but he was so much more than that.
“Cisco was a much-loved and big part of our family. His loss left us with broken hearts,” she told Cowboy State Daily.
Blaze, the family pet dog of another of the Sykes’ neighbors, the Gollobiths, was attacked the next day and hurt so severely that he had to be euthanized, she said.
“They are also suffering and hurt from the loss,” Donna said.
No Small Thing
Since being reintroduced to the Yellowstone region in the mid-1990s, wolves have on several occasions killed dogs in Wyoming, including pets, hunting hounds and working cattle dogs, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reports.
The loss of a cattle dog is no small thing, Dennis Sun, a veteran Wyoming rancher and publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, told Cowboy State Daily. A well-trained cattle dog can cost as much as $2,000.
“Cattle dogs can make the difference between getting a job done or not,” he said. “They just make whatever you’re doing easier, especially the good dogs.”
He realizes the implications of Cisco’s death to his family and the ranch, both in practical and emotional terms.
“That was a bad situation there,” Sun said.
No Amount Of Money Can Replace Him
The North Park wolf pack was established in 2021 by wolves that migrated from Wyoming. The pack’s lead female traveled more than 400 miles from the Yellowstone region.
The North Park pack is Colorado’s only established wolf pack so far, but the state plans to reintroduce about 50 more wolves, starting by the end of this year.
A calf was reported killed in Jackson County, Colorado, by the North Park pack in December 2021. Several cattle have been reported killed by wolves in area since then. Colorado ranchers can apply for compensation for animals – including working cattle dogs – killed by wolves.