The many dogs of White Oak Pastures

The internet loves dogs, and so do we. Dogs play several vital roles in the organism that is White Oak Pastures, as companions, livestock guardians, and herding dogs. We couldn’t operate our farm without them. Here’s to the many dogs of White Oak Pastures and all the ways they contribute, in loving memory of our most loyal friend, Ox.

Companion dogs
If you’ve ever visited our farm, surely you were greeted by this cast of characters when you arrived. They’re our very own welcoming committee, and they love tagging along during farm tours and gathering with visitors in our on-farm dining pavilion. Their family tree looks like a southern family reunion. Meet Cud, Regal, OJ, and Roxi.

Livestock guardian dogs
Livestock guardian dogs have been bred for thousands of years to sense danger and protect livestock from predators, and we have enormous gratitude for their role. But all dogs don’t get treated the same on a farm. If you’re not very careful with guardian dog puppies, they will bond to the person who’s feeding and playing with them instead of bonding with the species you want them to guard. To avoid this, we focus on keeping puppies in close proximity to the species they are supposed to protect. We keep them fed and watered, but show very little social attention, which isn’t easy when they’re this cute!

Herding dogs
Used for moving animals in a controlled manner, you want herding dogs to bond to the herdsman or woman, so the dogs can specifically follow their directions and do their bidding. These dogs are both companions and tireless workers that are capable of performing the work of several people. Like livestock guardian dogs, their instinctual relationship with livestock is one that has evolved over thousands of years.

Our dogs don’t mind working hard all day, knowing a never-ending feast of meat and organs fresh from our processing abattoirs awaits them. Our dogs eat ground beef, ground chicken, ground pork, and anything else they find on the ground. They also enjoy the pet chews we make out of everything from chicken feet to cattle noses, and even hides, as part of our commitment to following a zero-waste model. Whether a companion, guardian, or herding dog, living on a farm is a pretty good gig, and we are grateful for all of them.

 

Categories: Animal Welfare | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “The many dogs of White Oak Pastures

  1. Barbara

    What happened to OX?

    • Angela Huffman

      Sadly, he had kidney failure. He was loved until the very last second.

      • Barbara

        OH, I’m so sorry. I met him when he was a puppy and he was so gracious and loving. 😦

  2. Angela Huffman

    Thank you, Barbara! Everyone who met him immediately fell in love. We will miss his sweet presence, but know he will never stop protecting the farm.

  3. Suzanne Wilson

    My husband and I had our first visit to White Oak Pastures for Valentine’s Weekend this year. It was a lovely stay. We met Ox, and I fell in love. We are saddened to hear of his passing.

    • Angela Huffman

      Thank you, Suzanne. He was the best leader of our welcoming committee. Thank you for spending time with him and loving him. We hope you’ll come back and visit us soon!

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