Two Best Friends of the Farm—The Dogs

It’s not a rare occurrence for my dad to look online at dogs. He’s always been on the hunt for the ultimate dog—a pal that can herd cows on call, leave cows be otherwise, avoid car tires, treat children kindly, and do all with great personality.

Our dogs are used to help herd the cattle and keep obnoxious bulls in check. The rest of their time is spent sparring with barn cats, lying in the sun, lying in the shade, hunting gophers, eating, entertaining the family, and roaming free across the farm.

Some farmers take time to train dogs. My dad trains a little, but mostly he hopes for dogs good enough to pick it up quickly.

We’ve had more than a few dogs throughout the years: Jake, Penny, Frank, Fly, Zoe, Jack, Boss, and probably more I can’t recall right now. They were border collies, heelers, hanging tree dogs, various crosses of those breeds.

Right now, we have two dogs, Missy and Mack.

This photo was taken during Missy’s early days with the family. She was running and playing in the yard, and finally she fell asleep from exhaustion. We thought how she lay on her back was funny then, but she still does it today. (The basketball is mini.)

We got Missy five years ago. My dad saw an advertisement on for Border Collie and Greater Mountain Swiss puppies. He was very excited; so my mom, youngest brother, and I went down to Salt Lake City to get our new puppy.

Now the tale of picking up Missy is a long one and probably not relevant, so I’ll spare you. All that’s important is we brought home an adorable black-and-white puppy, and we named her Missy after Missy Franklin (we got her around the time of the 2012 Summer Olympics).

While she has a vicious bark that scares away newcomers, the dog is great. She’s personable and smart, and she’s good at her job even though sometimes she’s too lazy to follow the four-wheeler down to the pasture. Missy is even allowed in the house quite a bit of the time, but the second she passes gas . . .

She has a fancy for food. Her favorites include cat food, Colossal Berry Crunch, spice cake, dog biscuits, and more.

Missy has had two batches of puppies, which we sold, and has faked pregnancy more than once. Twice she has found inanimate objects in our house and adopted them as puppies. I’m not kidding. She freaked out if you took them, and she would do all she could to get them to nurse—obviously not successfully. Her fake babies have included a stuffed penguin Rosco, a small Santa hat, and a kid’s meal stuffed squirrel thing.

She’s special.

From her second batch of puppies, we kept a male puppy. He had long, curly hair, and we loved him. (My dad, however, has never been a fan of the long hair thing—for good reason.)

There isn’t a happier dog, and while he’s not quite as obedient and smart as his mother, he’s working out well for us.

Unfortunately, he’s always filthy. Any mud or water—he’s in it, and his long hair keeps the evidence for a long time. But so it goes.

Mack is hiding in the grass down in the pasture.

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