Furever faithful: An ode to farm dogs

• By Jennifer Whitlock •

national dog day
Image courtesy Texas Farm Bureau

I’m a firm believer in every family owning a four-legged furry pet. They teach us so many life lessons: responsibility, unconditional forgiveness, loyalty and the joy to be found in each day.

Although we know there are some #TeamCat fans, there’s just something special about a farm dog.

They come in different colors and different breeds. And their skills vary, of course. But farm dogs have a lot to offer…

Work ethic

Have you ever seen a farm dog work? When a heeler moves cattle or a Great Pyrenees defends its flock, it’s clear that’s what the dog was born to do.


Farm dogs take their job seriously. Whether it’s protecting livestock from predators or securing the home turf from outsiders, they’re always on guard duty.


Being a farmer or a rancher means lots of long hours out in the field. It can get lonely, but thankfully, many of us are able to roam far and wide with our trusty sidekick, the farm dog, riding shotgun.

Countless farm dogs respond with great glee to the command to “load up.” No task is too small or too big to not benefit from a little furry sidekick support.

Even scientific research insights provided by Purina show interacting with pets can provide health benefits. After spending just 20 minutes with a dog, people experienced a significant increase in levels of oxytocin, a hormone that plays a role in moderating stress. This was also associated with a decrease in heart rate and an increase in self-reported sense of well-being.

Dogs, what would we do without them?

‘Paw’some friends

The lolling tongue and happy panting of a dog who just herded the last cow through the gate.

The head nudges for pats.

The contented little snores in the evening.

All are part and parcel of the joy of owning a farm dog.

Thank you, from one who’s been lucky enough to call a farm dog “mine.”

Jennifer Whitlock is a field editor with the Texas Farm Bureau.

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