A Dog’s Life

While this farm dog may be re­tired, she re­fuses to slow down.


Her name is Josephine, but we just call her

Jo. That was my line when­ever we walked into the ther­apy vis­its we went on. Jo was cer­ti­fied by Ther­apy Dogs In­ter­na­tional, and to­gether we vis­ited nurs­ing homes and as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties. A few times, we went to the lo­cal col­lege so stu­dents could visit with a dog dur­ing fi­nals.

Through the years, Jo has held many jobs, from ther­apy dog to 4-H dog to all-around farm dog. She is 10 now and re­tired from ther­apy work, but don’t tell her that. She’s taken care of kit­tens and helped me find many lost chick­ens, al­ways know­ing what I mean when I ask her to “find it.” She loves the farm life and thinks all of the an­i­mals on our hobby farm be­long to her. (She is also a su­perb mouse hunter.)

When we met her lit­ter, the first puppy to catch my eye was a tri­col­ored male. I pet­ted him and he stayed with me for a bit, but then he went back to play with his sib­lings. As I got up, I al­most tripped over a fe­male puppy who had been sit­ting be­tween my feet. I got the male’s at­ten­tion again, but again he went off to play— and again the fe­male was at my feet. It was Jo, the runt of the lit­ter. She found me, and bring­ing her home was the best de­ci­sion I could have made.

As she grew, so did her in­ter­est in an­i­mals—af­ter all, she is an Aussie. She started mak­ing it her job to fol­low me around as I fed the other an­i­mals, com­ing into each pen and check­ing on them as if she were count­ing them and mak­ing sure every­body was OK.

Once, af­ter be­ing gone all day, we got home to find that one of the chicken pens was open and four lit­tle ban­tam chick­ens were miss­ing. We found one right away, but the oth­ers were nowhere to be seen. With Jo help­ing, we searched the whole farm. When I asked her to “find it,” she started sniff­ing around. Then she stopped at a pine tree and barked. We looked all around the tree and couldn’t find any chick­ens, but Jo wouldn’t leave the tree. Fi­nally, I looked up. Sure enough, at the top of the pine were two ban­tams. The fourth chicken came back two days later.

Jo has slowed down through the years, but she is al­ways up for rides in the truck and walks through the pas­ture. And she still has the skill to find any an­i­mals that might be lost. I’m sure glad she found me.

JO”) JOSEPHINE (“ Shep­herd BREED: Aus­tralian AGE: 10 years CO HOME: Avon­dale, dog, re­tired JOB: Ther­apy lost chick­ens STRENGTH: Lo­cat­ing

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