Farm Dogs, Stray Dogs, and Pet Shelters

This is Choochoo, a farm dog that we bottle fed as a tiny puppy, after her mom died from milk fever. (She was one of 11 puppies!) Today, she's an incredibly friendly dog who watches over my in-laws' farm. This picture was taken by my sister-in-law, Melissa.

Today I pay tribute to the farm dog. A farm just isn’t a farm without a dog or two. Our family dog, Bear, is the best dog I’ve ever met. He lives outside; he actually refuses to come in the house. Even though I really wish he would at least come in a clean up the floor after my three kids throw half of their supper on it.

He's a mutt. But if I were to venture a guess I'd say border collie and lab cross.

I first met Bear about 8 years ago. He was Justin’s dog, and he was scared of me. It took him a very long time to let me pet him. Justin was the only one who could touch him. Of course, the fastest way to a dog’s heart is through his stomach, and after a few months, Bear decided I was all right. Bear is a very protective, vigilant dog. He barks at anything that is out of place to him….particularly the UPS or Fed Ex truck. He can be very intimidating, and when you live out in the country, that’s not a bad thing.

Bear intimidates a lot of people....but not Lucy! He's a total cream puff when it comes to the kids.

But there’s another side of Bear that not everyone gets to see. He is a very friendly, happy dog once you get to know him. He tolerates whatever the kids do to him. When Russell gets on and off the bus, Bear is right there waiting for him. He has even befriended our cat, Yoda. He’s starting to gray around his muzzle, and it makes me sad to think of the day we will lose him.

When you live on a farm, you get used to seeing stray dogs. Unfortunately, there are a lot of irresponsible people who will dump dogs at farms and place the job of doing the right thing on the people at the farm. I am not proud, nor am I ashamed to admit, that we have had to euthanize a stray or two for safety reasons. I cannot begin to describe the burning anger I have for the immoral individuals who put my family and others at risk by dumping a mean dog (or any dog for that matter) in the country.

Sometimes, a stray will show up that is friendly. And if it is a good fit, we will take it in. But, more commonly, we are stuck with finding a home for the dog. Which brings me to my final point, if you are a pet lover, please please please, directly support your local pet shelter. Avoid national organizations like the HSUS and ASPCA. Especially HSUS. When you donate to these organizations, you are not just supporting shelter pets. These organizations have active campaigns against American agriculture, often called “factory farms.” That’s right, you may think you are helping pets in need, but HSUS spends over 90% of its income on things like lobbyists and salaries. Very little of your donation trickles down to pet rescue efforts.

So, the next time you get one of those fancy solcitations from the Humane Society of the United States in the mail, rip it up and throw it away, then seek out your local pet shelter. Volunteer to foster a pet, or to work a few hours. Donate dog food or other supplies. Find out from the actual shelter what they are most in need of. Do good in a direct way. You will be rewarded far beyond your imagination, and you will actually be HELPING!

Like I said, he puts up with a lot. Even the cat. And being turned into a princess.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bruce king on March 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    The number for HSUS is 0.47% is spent on improving animal conditions. They are an anti agriculture, anti animal ownership and are not in any way affiated with your local animal shelters. They chose a deceptive name for their organization and run deceptive advertising on TV.

  2. Farm dogs are the best! We can’t let any dogs run loose here any more, but we used to always have a pair looking after the place and watching over the kids. One big lab cross used to prevent the kids from using the slide when they were too small. He would lie at the bottom or block the ladder, like a big, black babysitter.

  3. I found your blog through the dairymans wife andhave enjoy both. now when I try to go to the dairymans wife it says her blog has been removed. will she be back?

  4. diarymans wife is back on today.,

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