Our farm dogs are a not exactly the traditional sort, but nevertheless introducing:
MYRTLE: Treeing Walker Coonhound
(See more about the breed here) We adopted Myrtle from a shelter seven years ago. I was looking for a dog to keep my company during late night law school study sessions and began keeping an eye out at the local pet shelter. Myrtle just sort of fell into our laps. A country dog, stuck in the city. She seemed like a natural choice! The shelter vet determined she was about three at the time. She was in rough shape. She had a litter of pups just prior to be taken in. Her behaviors have never fully adapted away from those of a stray. Myrtle is everything one would expect from a hound dog. She is stubborn, stinky, and has never been too concerned with obedience or pleasing her master. She is, and always has been, Handy Husband’s dog. We love the girl, but she really is not that loveable!
Myrtle’s strengths as a farm dog include keeping the barn cats out of the yard, being a very strong deterrent to deer and other critters that would like to munch on the garden, and being a pretty strong deterrent of predators to the chickens. (In other words she stinks!) Myrtle is very fond of our goats and prefers their company to that of her humans. She also has a knack for getting into skunks, a tendency to wander, and an overall disregard for anything and everything I tell her to do.
MABEL: English Cocker Spaniel
(See more about the breed here) Mabel is still a puppy. She is seven months old. Like Myrtle, she too is very true to her breed characteristics. She loves her family and is as sweet a dog as you will ever meet at 100 miles an hour! Mabel is much more of a companion than a true farm dog. I have found in Mabel the friend that one hopes to find when they add a dog to the family. She does not contribute to farm life in any way I can think of, but she is certainly a member of our family and we love her. Raising a puppy has been both a reward and trying experience. The bond the girls and I have with Mabel is certainly significant. Oh but there are days, I wonder what I have gotten myself into.
Both our dogs sleep in the house every night. The puppy tends to stick pretty close to my side. She does chores with me and hangs around outside when I am. When I am in the house she is generally at my feet. Myrtle prefers to take her post on the front porch where she has a good vantage point to keep watch for the school bus and the UPS man. That said, she has never turned down her spot in front of the wood stove.
In the future we will probably consider a dog that serves a more traditional role here on the farm, but for now, I think two dogs will do.