A Dog’s Life

Pro­tect­ing the herd is job No. 1 for these gen­tle gi­ants.


These paws are on pa­trol pro­tect­ing the herd.

ere at Short Leg Farm, a lively herd of 42 goats fu­els my ar­ti­san soap and cheese business. I named my com­pany Gretta’s Goats in their honor. Hand-milk­ing more than three dozen goats is a de­mand­ing and hec­tic job, but luck­ily I have my two Great Pyre­nees dogs, Hazel and Ber­nice, to help keep ev­ery­one in line. I found this ca­nine duo on a Ten­nes­see goat farm when they were just pup­pies. Now the girls are 4 years old.

Hazel’s and Ber­nice’s job is to pro­tect the herd. Hazel is a born leader, and she is in charge. She is the first to spot a hawk or hear an odd noise. Ber­nice is her backup, and the two dogs pa­trol the pas­tures to­gether. Their big boom­ing barks keep coy­otes at bay. They’re also great at keep­ing the chick­ens on our farm safe.

These sis­ters are in­tel­li­gent, stoic and gen­tle with their charges. They are fo­cused on the goats’ well-be­ing, even wait­ing to eat un­til their goat friends have fin­ished their

Hmeal. Dur­ing kid­ding sea­son, the dogs are on high alert. If a mama goat is go­ing into la­bor, Hazel and Ber­nice silently sit nearby and watch to en­sure that ev­ery­thing is go­ing well. New kids like to nes­tle into the girls’ soft fur for naps, and they climb on top of the dogs as though they were fuzzy white moun­tains. Hazel and Ber­nice love their goats, and they whim­per when I have to move them away from the herd at times.

At night, when I walk around the farm to check on the an­i­mals, I typ­i­cally hap­pen upon the dogs curled up fast asleep with three of their goat bud­dies: Crou­ton, Honey and Tanzey. It is re­as­sur­ing to know that even while sleep­ing, Hazel and Ber­nice are work­ing to en­sure that the goats are se­cure.


Send us pho­tos of and sto­ries about your farm and ranch dogs: far­man­dranch­liv­ing.com/sub­mit

Ca­nine duo Hazel and Ber­nice work as a team in watch­ing over a herd of goats.

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