A Dog’s Life This dy­namic ca­nine duo bring joy to their hu­mans.

One is large and the other is small, but both dogs are sized just right for this farm fam­ily.


Our pa­pil­lon, Tat­too, turned 15 in Au­gust. He was di­ag­nosed with con­ges­tive heart fail­ure three years ago, but he is still go­ing strong and loves the farm dog life. When I had more time to ride horses, he loved to ride with me. Last year I traded a horse for an old Gator; I drive Tat­too around the farm so he can keep an eye on me and be the farm su­per­vi­sor. De­pend­ing on the weather, I park Tat­too in the shade or sun and we herd horses, which he re­ally en­joys. In the fall I drive the auger wagon trac­tor, un­load­ing the com­bine and load­ing the semis. Tat­too has a bed in the trac­tor and he keeps watch from there. When we’re un­load­ing the com­bine on the go, and we near the end rows and the rab­bits come run­ning out—boy, does he want to get them! Tat­too is the boss and he keeps Max, our 7-year-old Ger­man shep­herd, in line. Max loves ev­ery­one, es­pe­cially chil­dren, and he greets peo­ple with a wag of the tail or a kiss. He has his Ca­nine Good Cit­i­zen cer­tifi­cate and soon I hope to have him cer­ti­fied as a ther­apy dog so we can visit schools and hospi­tals. We re­cently pur­chased a Can-Am UTV, and Max is sure we bought it for him. He rides along with John, my hus­band, to scout crops, check ir­ri­gation sys­tems and do gen­eral main­te­nance. Max adores wa­ter, so we have a wad­ing pool for him, and we take him to the lake or a creek when­ever pos­si­ble. He even likes to help wash equip­ment—as long as he gets sprayed. One day when Max was a puppy, I was in the house and kept hear­ing a weird sound. I went out to in­ves­ti­gate and found him tug­ging on a hose, try­ing to get it to work. In the win­ter, he comes in with ici­cles hang­ing on him and seems to think noth­ing of it. Max will re­trieve just about any­thing, es­pe­cially gi­ant sticks. He and Tat­too travel with us of­ten, and we’ve brought sticks home from nu­mer­ous states be­cause Max gets up­set if we leave them be­hind. Our boys ap­pre­ci­ate see­ing new things, so we visit a lot of places. They help us slow down and en­joy life.

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