The question I guess boils down to do you WANT or NEED a dog either on the farm or in your life. How do you know and if so how do you decide which one or what kind.
The easy thing for me to do at this point would be for me to spend some time expanding or expounding, whichever one is appropriate, on the subject. I’m not. I can’t and would not dream of trying to tell you how to make a decision on something this important in your life. To both you and the dog. The Dog?, you ask. If so you may have already answered the question as to whether to have one or not. Why would I say that? There are several reasons actually. Most (Hobby) farms probably don’t really need a dog for any function on the property that can’t be handled just as well without one and if concern for the which and what dog isn’t and active concern in your mind it probably will not be a good experience for either you or the dog.
Why would I say that! Why so much emphasis on what is good for the dog? It may take a little time and in my case probably some rambling to help you understand. If you have followed this site and taken the time to “hopefully” enjoy some of the previous articles I have posted you may have run into. The Hobby Farm Dogs That Helped Raise The Boy That Grew Up There! Here is one about one of the dogs in my life.
But let me try. It seems there has always been dogs in my life except for short periods. Then came the issue of which and what kind. Those are questions I have thought on a few times and even wondered on occasion; Did we choose the dog or did the dog choose us? Or was it just fate or destiny if we care to go that far. The only way I can approach this subject is with experiences from my own life. These I know to be real. Keep in mind too that most of the dogs in my younger life up to oh say about 20 were all strays that found me or our family.
We currently have a Boxer. Buddy by name. Having lost a Springer Spaniel we had due to age and very poor health. After a period of time to get accustomed to loss of her and allow ourselves to grieve that loss we decided we were ready for another dog. A time to grieve? Yes!! If you allow them to they will become a very important part of your life.
A Boxer? A medium to large breed originally bred to herd livestock. Primarily sheep I think. We had a Boxer prior to Buddy. The choosing of the breed? That Pauline and I still disagree on, who decided on the breed but we looked for and found one through a rescue group but he was in Tampa Fl. a long drive for us on a maybe. About 3 hours across state.
They sent him across state for us to meet. A young dog, about a year old. Raised by a single older man who had died and his family took the smaller dog he had but didn’t feel they had room for him to. They are an active breed especially when young and like a lot of attention.
While in FL we had only rabbits for livestock and we did not want him herding them needles to say. Now he and I both had our own opinion as to how some things should be handled but after a while a meeting of the minds came about and things leveled off from there. For example he stopped taking off to herd the cows on the farm of our daughters neighbor, who has a large farm, every time we went to visit them. I quit expecting him to just sit or lay around while I wanted to read for a while. He enjoyed traveling with us but did not like being in a cage. After a while he wasn’t. I expected him to come when I called. After some time and work he did. Soon I could not move without Jack there by my side whether I wanted him there or not. It wasn’t long before I wanted him there most of the time. When we bought our little Hobby Farm and began acquiring animals he still wanted to herd them. Even the chickens. That did not always work out well. He never was a lot of help in that respect but then I never put forth the effort to learn how to teach him how to do it as I wanted it done.
Leaned up against my leg while I was working on an old pickup I had then just slid down to a prone position. When I looked down to tease him for being in the way he was laying with his head on my foot. Already dead. I am not sure who it hurt the most but I think it was me. He had already done his hurting but mine had just started.
A year. A year and a half? Maybe two years later I had a project going and as is par for the course for me I did not have all that I needed so it is off to town we go. About a half mile down the road, just a few hundred feet past a neighbors house on the left side of the road stands a young male Boxer. I wonder when they got him I thought. All I’ve ever seen there is a couple of the smaller breeds. He looked rather lost hungry and confused, (yes they do show emotion) and watched me very closely all the way by. My thinking also was I wonder if they know he is out. He could get hit by a car out here right in a curve and we travel pretty fast along here. Not only that but several people had inquired into buying Jack off of us when he was alive, someone might pick him up. For two days as I was back and forth to town for whatever there he was. In there same spot. Just watching me go by. Looking more and more hungry and forlorn each time.
End of day on day two we were sitting on our porch having our afternoon drink. Pauline had inquired if he was still there my last trip into town. Yes. She got a phone call and stepped into the house and I decided to go check on him one more time.
He was still there just standing there trembling and looking half starved. I stopped got and stepped up to him a little nervous myself. Hey about 50 lbs. of strange dog and a lot of teeth. I may not be smart but I’m not completely stupid. Stooping down I wrap my arms around his chest and rump, which puts his face and mouth right next to mine stand up with him and immediately determine he has met a skunk. Didn’t take a lot of reasoning either. Hope he will stay in the back of the truck. Can’t go in the cab smelling like that.
Back to the house. He stayed in the truck. Picked him up carried him onto the porch and put him down about the same time Pauline finishes her call and comes back out. She looks at him and then me and says are you sure. Being a person of quick replies I respond , NO. She cautiously walks up to him hand extended to give him a chance to check her out and says Hi Buddy.
He has been Buddy ever since. Even total strangers walk up and call him by name right off.
It was early Friday evening and we did actually contact any type of help for him we could think of but everyone was closed or not answering so we kept him. Surprised?
So it was off to town to pick up the tomato juice to wash him in that is supposed to kill the skunk smell. For my money we would have been better off making Bloody Marys. A week maybe ten days later its off to the Vet. We had decided by this time that he would fit in and yes we had actually tried to find out if anyone was looking for him. I guess we were ready for another dog after all. Heart Worms and a little damage to one eye from the skunk. That and an approximate age of 12 to 18 months and probably pure bred not that that made any difference to us by that time. Yeah it cost a few bucks but he sure has been worth it to us.
I have at times been angry at whoever had him before and just dropped him off like a bag of trash but I don’t know their circumstances at the time either.
Were we ready for another dog and just did not know it? Were we looking for him? Was he looking for another family? Or was it just fate or coincidence that put us together.
You decide. As for us we are glad either way.
See you next time; Bob