Heart of a Homestead Dog

Heart of a Homestead Dog

Many articles online offer advice about suitable dogs for a homestead lifestyle. Everything from what breed to consider, its purpose, how to train, and factual details that go on forever.

It’s great to have so much information available but I’ve found many of these articles repetitive and quite frankly rather tiresome.

Our homestead dog Dixie sort of fell into our lap, we didn’t know her breed when we brought her home and it didn’t matter.

The Heart of a Homestead Dog

Dixie was a rescue, she was born in a horse barn from a large liter of pups and it was her ears and sweet little face that caught our attention.

We had just uprooted our kids to the countryside and promised them another dog after we settled. Needless to say, Dixie sort of made her way into our hearts because she was bursting with energy and love.

She’s brought forward a whole new meaning to the heart of a homestead dog.

Puppy dixie

Those Big Floppy Ears

With those big floppy ears, it was difficult to really figure out what mix she might be and after doing some research we discovered Dixie would grow into a large coon hound mix.

That would be a hunting dog, not the best option for a homestead or farm lifestyle.

With plans for raising chickens and all sorts of animals we weren’t sure how a hunting dog would work because she was determined to eat everything placed in front of her.  This included the bricks on our fireplace.

Dixie on the farm

Everything Worked out

The thing is everything worked out, Dixie discovered what belonged and what didn’t.  Her ability to protect was amazing and because of her our animals were always safe from predators.

Every day she put 100% forward and I often wondered, “where in the world does she get her energy?” For 30 minutes day or night she would bark at an object nonstop.   This became music to my ears because she barked in the style of a melody.

Even after the kids moved on and Lucky passed, she held her head high and looked at me as if to say, “I’ve got this covered.”

I believe this is because she had so much to live for.  She loved life and the farm but she also loved our new place.  When we moved here full time she finally got to experience her true calling, a hunting dog and protector.

Dixie Sniffing at Quail Grove

She’s the Heart of the Land

I can’t even begin to share how amazing it’s been to watch Dixie enjoy Quail Grove.  Everyone who meets her says, “This dog is living a dream life.”  Robert and I would smile because they didn’t know the half of it.

From trips to the lake, splashing in the creek, rolling in mud, hunting in the fields, bringing home bones and more bones this dog truly had experiences that reach beyond remarkable.

She is the heart of the land and that’s what a homestead dog should be.

A Strong will to Please

Through all her strengths and weaknesses, Dixie’s biggest passion surfaced through pleasing her pack.

She’s a dog filled with devotion and even though she intimidates almost everyone who comes in her path, it’s those who give her a chance that experienced her vitality to please.

Dixie is in paradise at Quail Grove

A True Country Dog

Dixie is a true country dog who brought our family more joy than I ever thought possible.  It never mattered where she came from or what her breed was.  We knew from the time we met her she would be a handful, we also knew she would be family.

As our pack leader, her sweet soul taught me how to smile and wave, enjoy the moment and discover bliss in the simple thing’s.

Sometimes I think Dixie understood us all better than we understood ourselves.

So, when you take away the breed and all the factual details we ended up discovering a homestead dog with a heart, is the key element for a great dog.


In Closing:  Dixie passed a few days ago.  I wrote this piece while she was living and it holds true, the heart of a homestead dog is the key element for a great dog. 

Her paw prints are still fresh in the soil, reminding me she’s now running free with Lucky through the clouds of paradise.

I want to thank Sulphur River Veterinary for their patience, care and for NOT putting Dixie through unnecessary tests. Denise Fowler DVM is amazing and her staff is simply the best.  

And thank you to Alice, a friend who brought Dixie into our lives.

The Heart of a Homestead Dog, there's more than just guarding that matters #Homestead, #Dogs, #homesteadDog


  1. mickie mclaughlin says:

    Such a sad posting today. Our furry friends have a way of taking up residence in our every day lives and hearts. Tears for you today.

    1. Carole says:

      Yes they sure do take up residence in our hearts. I’m focusing on she had an amazing life and the best part she truly did enjoy each day she was blessed with.

  2. Karen says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a faithful friend. I know Dixie held such a special place in the heart of her people and will be deeply missed. She surely had a wonderful life and the way she impacted those around her will be a lasting reminder of just how amazing and wonderful she was. You remain in my prayers, sweet friend.

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks Karen – it feels weird here right now thought I even heard her bark yesterday while I was moving gravel. Yes Dixie was truly a one of a kind and this has been difficult even for Robert. She was family… Thanks for your prayers I can feel them…

  3. I am so terribly sad for you. On the one hand you had the best dog who had a great life, but it’s hard to see them go. No matter how many times I’ve been there when my dogs pass away, I never get used to it.

    You gave Dixie a wonderful life though and she knew she was loved. There’s no greater gift than that.

    Hugs to you, my dear friend. To you and Robert.

    1. Carole says:

      That’s what I hold onto – that she had a great life. Watching her shut down so fast was sad and I agree you never get use to letting them go. Thank you for reminding me today we gave her a wonderful life. It helps…

  4. Patti says:

    Sorry for your loss Carole. I know you gave Dixie and great home full of love and she gave it right back.

    1. Carole says:

      Yes there was a lot of love shared and it was an awesome 9 years.

  5. Dewena says:

    I’m crying for Dixie, a dog I never met but now feel I know. I also know, many times, the hole that is in your heart now. I know how much you’ll miss this sweet girl. She must have been really special.

    1. Carole says:

      Yes definitely special, kind of feels like she’s still with me as I travel outdoors. It’s quiet here but there is something in the air that’s calming too…

  6. Cathy Reineke says:

    Bless your heart! Family pets have a way of taking a big chunk of our hearts with them! Thank you for sharing her with us in such a lovely tribute! Prayers of comfort and peace! Cathy from Idaho

    1. Carole says:

      Yes family pets and I think this is why this was so hard… The memories include all of us. Thank you for your prayers.

  7. Christine says:

    I knew this heartbreaking news would come, and yet I prayed it wouldn’t be for a very long time. There are no words, my dear friend, except thank you. Thank you for saving Dixie all those years ago, and providing her with a wonderful, happy home, and all the love that a dog could ever want or need. And thank you for sharing her story. You and Robert will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Blessings and hugs.

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks CD – I’ve been working outside, moving beds into one area that will make a neat garden space. A place to reflect and look out at all the wonderful places where Dixie loved to explore. Hope to have it done by the end of the week. Thanks for your prayers and all those blessings.

  8. Lisa says:

    Dixie was a beautiful dog. I’ve always been attracted to the hound types. So sorry for your loss.

    1. Carole says:

      Yes she was beautiful inside and out.

  9. Penny says:

    My heart sank and the tears started for a “furry friend” I never met, but felt I knew, though you and reading about her.
    My goodness, I feel your sadness and thankfulness in having such a wonderful “furry friend”.
    I love my “best buddy” and I know the day this happens to me, I will be devastated too.
    So today we give thanks to the wonderful times and memories, the endless unconditional “love” our “furry friends” give us every day of their lives. Dixie will always be there with you both in some way, every day. Look up and you will see her looking down when you feel sad. ?

    1. Carole says:

      You know, I’m focusing on she’s no longer in pain and she had a great life. Then I think… she wouldn’t want me to shed tears because when Lucky passed I remember her nudging at me and doing something silly to get me to smile. So this week I started a new outdoor project that I hope to have finished today so I can share it on the blog Friday. I moved my garden beds into this new space and created a relaxing happy place. A place that inspires beauty and a place where I can sit and reflect and be thankful. Thank you for your sweet words means a lot.

  10. lynn says:

    Oh Carole, I am so very sorry. I know how big a role Dixie played in your world and I also know that there is a Dixie-sized hole in your heart. We love our 4-legged babies so fiercely, they are so loyal and loving, and it is truly heartbreaking when they leave us. I do know that you are comforted that Dixie is no longer in pain or discomfort and that she knew that she was much loved by your family.

    Keeping you in my thoughts during this difficult times.

    Hugs, Lynn

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks Lynn – Loyal and loving is the perfect description. I am focusing she’s no longer in pain because she stopped eating at one point and then I made her homemade chicken soup which she loved but after a few days of that she just didn’t have the energy to keep up. I’ve never had a dog this large before and I was amazed at her strength, it’s clear she was fighting this cancer thing long before we even realized and she just continued to enjoy life and wag her tail. Hugs are good thanks! Carole

  11. daisy says:

    Rest assured that you and Dixie are forever bonded. She will no doubt be watching over you and Robert for the rest of your days.
    Big hugs…daisy

    1. Carole says:

      Thanks daisy – The sun is rising at the moment and there’s an owl outside singing their melody… Made me think, if Dixie was out there right now she’d be barking at it to be quiet. Yes defiantly bonded, every where I look there’s a visual reminder. It’s suppose to rain today so I’m guessing her paw prints will fade but her stash of bones will always remain.

  12. Susan says:

    I am sorry for your loss and your tribute was beautiful. It had to have truly reflected Dixie’s life and impact. Can’t imagine a life without furry friends. Take care and enjoy the memories she left for you.

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Susan – fury friends are the best aren’t they…

  13. Jemma says:

    Hello Carole,
    I am saddened to hear of Dixie’s passing, but what a life this girl had with you by her side. I remember when you nearly lost her a few years back and how your heart ached. I am so thankful that she was able to embark on this homesteading adventure with you. I know she had the time of her life.
    Thank you for visiting me and wishing us well as we embark on a new chapter in the later years of our life.
    Blessings and Hugs,

    1. Carole says:

      Thank you Jemma – she did have an amazing life especially out here. Nothing better than fresh country air to give life absolute purpose. Dixie definitely left her imprint and that brings us great comfort. I really do hope you enjoy Colorado looks like y’all found a great space. -Carole

  14. Jane Peet says:

    good morning, Carole!

    my heart is broken for you…so sorry! I only know being a fur baby mama so my heart goes out to you and your family Thank you for sharing a bit about Dixie. I loved reading about her.

    love & hugs


    1. Carole says:

      Awe Jane I’ve missed you… Dixie is just so easy to write about and glad you enjoyed this piece. I won’t lie… this has been difficult. It’s so quiet without her and I don’t have anybody to share leftovers with. Her approach to life was inspiring and full of grit. Yes I’m missing her…

  15. Charlene Dryman says:

    So sorry. We have a dog like her. Our is having a hard time walking now and my hubby will lose it when she passes away. I lost my 18 yr old cat. It’s heart breaking. Our animals are such a big part of our lives. What would we do with out them.

    1. Carole says:

      It’s never easy the best thing I’ve found with aging and ill dogs is to make them as comfortable as possible. I’ve decided to carry Dixie in my heart as a reminder there is goodness all around.

Comments are closed.