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.
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.
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.
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.
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.