Pitchfork and Pen—Puppy Power! For the love of a farm dog

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I cannot think of any farm without at least one dog. Most have multiple dogs and cats.

Now I must confess, I’m a cat lover. We have many cats on our farm because they seem to know we will rescue them, take them in, and give them forever homes. There has to be a sign at the end of my drive visible only to cats that says, “She will feed you if you show up.”

But I also have four dogs that have come into our lives by the same path.

I love my cats. And I think my cats love me as well as the rest of the family. They enjoy being pet or held, but on their schedule. They reward us for caring for them by keeping mice, snakes, and other little varmints at bay.

Dogs are more than just a different species. They have a totally different mentality. They want nothing more than to please us and be with us.

The youngest of the four is a four year-old Great Dane that thinks she is a terrier. Raven wants to be a lap dog. There is also a rat terrier/dachshund cross by the name of Echo. My daughter loves this dog. I think the dog is not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she loves my daughter back. Vicky is a little black mutt and Bailey is a Catahoula leopard dog. Bailey loves to herd the mini horse. The horse loves to return chase so the two have a relationship that always amazes me.

These dogs want to be with us. They go fishing and swimming with us at the river or down at the pond. They follow us on the tractor or four wheeler. They want to be in our space all the time.

The girls protect the place, barking at visitors as well as coyotes. If I wake up because Raven or Bailey are barking, I go look. Most of time it’s just a coyote, but there is quite a bit of traffic on my road. While I try to think the best of people, in this day and age you just don’t know what might happen. Our farm dogs take their jobs of letting us know someone or something is at the house very seriously.

Recently, we adopted two little boy pups to add to our “pack.” They guys are about 10 screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-4-52-40-pmweeks old and about as Heinz 57 as you can get.

For as young as they are, they already are learning a few simple commands like “sit,” “kennel,” and the most important one, “Get Down!”

Cass has dubbed them Manny and Louis, from characters in the third Ice Age movie. Manny is a fluffy guy and twice as big as Louis. They are very sweet and funny, and already exhibiting that wonderful characteristic of loyalty. I wish, though, that Manny came with volume control, but that will come with time.

I don’t recommend having pets just to have them if you aren’t willing to take on the responsibility of their care. But if you love animals and want another member of the family who shows unconditional love in return, a dog is an amazing addition.

My family is a strong supporter of adopting rescue dogs, so if you are not set on a pure bred animal, there are many good dogs of all ages at shelters and pounds.

So my farm is complete with the “required” farm dogs, my heart is full of their love, and my hands gets a regular coating of doggie slobber. Life is good!

Read more from Tamara Hartl!

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