Thursday, March 14, 2013

Homestead Dogs

Helen, a companion and enforcer of the farm rules. 

In our case, dogs are an integral part of the homestead farm. They serve as companions, teach one to take life as it comes, help keep us grounded in reality, plus earn their keep as active workers.

Collie Wobbles, our working Border Collie
What sort of working dogs are used in Hawaii? Well that depends upon the job needing to be done.  Many farmers and ranchers use watch-guard dogs. Cattle working dogs are common. Sheep herding dogs are also common. And hunting dogs are seen everywhere.

Our farm uses dogs for watch-guard duty. With the advent of the drug "ice", theft became a real concern. Dogs deter theft, for real! Another job the these dogs perform is keeping feral pigs off the farm. Pigs can ruin your garden in one night. So keeping pigs away is real important to us. Willie, our German Shepherd, also alerts us to wondering livestock. Many a time he has told us about cattle that have escaped neighboring pastures.

A Border Collie is a good farm dog for us, too. Our collie is now elderly but is still capable of holding the sheep. Many a time she helped move sheep to new pasture and helped return wayward sheep to the farm. I'm going to be really sad when she finally goes. Replacing her will be difficult because it takes a lot of time to train a new dog. But a sheep working dog is important to our homestead, so we will always have one.

So in our situation, dogs are really useful on the farm. We actually have more than two.....a bunch of freeloaders that needed homes. They were good dogs that didn't deserve to die, so since we had the room, we allowed them to join the farm family. A bunch of reject hunting dogs. Happy go lucky freeloaders!

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