The Most Unlikely Farm Dog Ever

Last year was a rough year for dogs. Our half-Great Dane Sophie and our border collie Robin passed away. Both were nearly16 years old, not bad for large dogs. We still miss them a lot. Robin’s death left a hole in the farm too large to ever fill.

Since it was my turn to choose the next dog, I proclaimed we would wait one year. There’s nothing wrong with being a one-dog family. 

But what breed? We no longer need a border collie, since the sheep know how to move from paddock to paddock. Also, Robin had more energy than I knew what to do with. I loved the look of Golden Doodles, but they are very expensive. We would, of course, go with a large dog.  She said, with a disdainful sniff, “We don’t think much of little dogs.”

Last month, eight months into the one-year plan, Molly began acting odd. She grew afraid of her water dish, and would bark and bark until one of us stood next to her while she drank. She wouldn’t eat right away. She was turning into this 55-pound freakish dog.

“Maybe she needs another dog,”  I said, and thus slid down the slippery slope by looking at petfinder.com.

It’s so sad how many dogs need new homes, given up by divorcing families or elderly or people unwilling to fix their dog’s behavioral problems. Somehow, in my search, this face showed up:

Oy. This is not a Golden Doodle. This is not a large dog. Be gone with you.

But the face haunted me. He was a five-year-old Tibetan terrier mix whose elderly owner could no longer care for him. 

Oy. Be gone with you. Stop appearing behind my eyeballs whenever I close my eyes.

Seriously. We’re not small dog people, whatever that means.

But I emailed with questions. I called with questions. Then we drove 70 miles to meet him. He was an energetic little cutie. Who could not fall for that face? He’s 25 pounds, and built like a little B&W tank.

We brought him home with us. His name is Teddy (came with the name, so we thought it’d be easier to not change names) 

 Molly is not wild about him, but she’s no longer freaked out by the water bowl, and eats her food right away. And the two dogs were caught actually playing one evening, so things will work out just fine. Here they are watching the llamas to ensure those wild, leggy animals won’t attack.

Teddy has never had boundaries before, and has clearly always been the alpha animal in the house.  Sorry, Teddy, but in our house, the humans are the alphas. We are slowly, and gently,  showing him that he doesn’t always get his way. Egads!, his facial expression exclaims. But I’ve always done what I want.

A few more months, and he’ll get the hang of things. Now that he’s been here 3 weeks, he’s starting to relax, and is such a funny boy. 

10 thoughts on “The Most Unlikely Farm Dog Ever”

  1. Aw! I’m so glad a smaller dog found you. And it sounds like he has a LARGE personality, lol. He’s perfect. And yes, you’re correct. Only a frozen heart could reject such a face as Teddy’s! 🙂

  2. OMG, that face! That would have been SO hard to resist. I got a chuckle out of Molly’s expression in the picture of them near the window. “MAH-om, do we have to keep him?”

  3. Mama Pea—If Molly could roll her eyes, I’m sure she would. She’s such a little cop. Whenever I scold Teddy, Molly’s right there glaring at him, pushing at his back as if to say ‘Pay attention! Don’t make us have to scold you again!’

  4. Too adorable! And sometimes those faces tell us all we could ever need to know, and our preconceived notions go flying out the window (which is why, instead of corgis or poodles or their ilk as we’d discussed, we have two 60 lb dogs). Congrats on the newcomer!


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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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Minnesota State Arts Board grant

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.