Sans Joey

Me and Joey

This month’s Mother Earth News has an article about livestock guardian dogs and it has me thinking about our pal Joey, who died in January.  I miss his big slobbering goofy self.  He was a great friend and protector for our goats.  He was dedicated to their safety and he never failed them.

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We’ve talked about it several times, but we’ve never replaced Joey.  I know we’re taking a risk and on the nights I hear the coyotes yipping and howling nearby, I especially worry about that. But we wanted to let some time pass and we’ve been reluctant to go through puppy training again.  Maybe we’ll get another guardian dog someday.  But for now at least, we’re going without.

According to the article terriers are good for keeping a farm free of possums, groundhogs and foxes.  I hadn’t realized that.  I’d like a farm free of possums, groundhogs and foxes, so maybe we ought to consider a terrier too.

Of course we’re not without a farm dog.  Our lab Ginny, graying though she is, has over the years proven her merit against possums, groundhogs, raccoons and even coyotes (although she prefers chasing squirrels and rabbits, despite having never managed to catch one).  Ginny has probably lost a step over the last few years though and she increasingly seems to prefer napping in the house to patrolling the farm.  But she still gets her game on when an unwelcome animal is around.

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Joey left us too soon.  I’m sorry he’s not still waiting for me at the barn each morning.

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Until he has a successor, if ever, we and Ginny will keep holding down the fort.

8 comments on “Sans Joey

  1. Of course this made me tear up.
    What lovely dogs. Joey’s face had that depth of expression that makes some dogs seem like more than dogs. I really don’t know what could be better than a dog, though. We have terrier mixes. Darwin is part wirehair and Charlie is part hound. We have no trouble with most critters. The occasional fox will grab a chicken, but the coyotes are never more than a barking pack in the distance.
    Thank you for sharing this. I write all the time about the goats, chickens, pigs, and general goings-on, but have never thought to tip my hat to the furry fellas who take up too much of my bed and continually ruin my slippers.

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    • Bill says:

      Thanks Laura. Of course I’m guilty of that too. I’ve been writing blog posts every day for years. I’ve written about goats, chickens, pigs, etc. many dozen times. The number of times I’ve written about our awesome dogs could probably be counted on one hand. They seem more like family members than mere farm animals. (But then, so do many of our “mere farm animals.”)
      Predators can be a real problem here and we’ve lost kids to coyotes, but never on Joey’s watch. He was an awesome creature.

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  2. Reblogged this on Wellspring Community and commented:
    We have a dog that looks almost exactly like the one in this picture. Lily has been such a blessing in our lives. She is part of our community.

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  3. I just love the photo of Joey with the kid. What a big heart he must have had. I can certainly understand how you must miss him…

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  4. Bob Braxton says:

    I have a first cousin (mother’s side of the family) who has a terrier and could tell you all about owning one. Rural area south of Graham, NC.

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  5. shoreacres says:

    That photo of Joey with the kid is just wonderful.

    My mom has told me about her grandfather’s terrier. They lived on a farm, too, with plenty of things to protect. Even after all those years, she still marveled at his noise to body weight ratio, and his absolutely fearless nature.

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