Through ups and downs, farm dogs are faithful

Published 2:01 pm Saturday, April 22, 2023

By Harold Brummett

Denmark Star Route 

There cannot be a farm without a dog. The farm is not complete, not finished, not whole without a dog. 

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People work with horses and cows, live with cats, and keep chickens and bees. Dogs are different. While dogs are 99.9% wolf, the other fragment belongs to humans. 

A few years ago, a grave was uncovered where 14,000 years ago, someone decided to spend eternity with his dog. No doubt the relationship with dogs goes back much farther than 14,000 years and sometimes one wonders who has changed who in this symbiotic relationship. 

James Wesley Hardin came to the farm after the demise of his brother Milo. Milo left us far too soon in an accident and so Wes (as we call him) came to take his brother’s place. 

Wes and Milo’s breed and lineage is unknown and unimportant. Both Milo and Wes were pound puppies, mongrels you might say.  Wes no doubt owns the place and takes his duties seriously. We attached the moniker of James Wesley Hardin as deference to a famous Texas outlaw.

Wes has attended (treated at) Mississippi State School of Veterinary Medicine twice. Once for an overdose of medicine another when he ingested a large amount of zinc put out for the fruit trees to take up. 

Wes has been snake bit twice, rolled over by an automobile, bitten by squirrels, possums, raccoons, rats and mice. Wes allows guineas, chickens and other fowl to roam the property and protects them as long as they give him his due respect as Lord Protector Defender of the Realm.

 Wes has his chair in the living room, the same chair that Perry owned. Perry was a middle-aged terrier that came to us after his owner moved into an assisted living home. Perry did not allow any other dog in his chair and Wes respected Perry’s wishes. Perry passed away after years of living a farm dog life – his own kind of retirement and assisted living. Wes took the chair after Perry even though it is a bit small for him.

 A man told me the other day about his dog. When the dog died of old age it hurt so with grief he would not take up another dog. I told the man that it hurts when a friend passes, but I would not give up the time spent or the memories gathered. 

The pain of loss is payment for the joy given and always seems to be collected with interest. Wes is like me, he is in good shape for the shape he is in. I am thankful for each adventure we share.

Wes sleeps inside most nights. Some nights he sleeps on the porch with occasional forays around the house and into the pasture. Coyotes sing, yip and howl and Wes sometimes joins in. I imagine an invitation to rejoin the wild is sung by the coyotes and Wes responds with a sense of duty to his people.  

When Wes sleeps outside on the porch the window next to my bed is slightly ajar. If there is a sound of distress or call for help, my duty is to assist the Lord Protector if called upon.

Mark Twain said, “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”

Write to Harold Brummett at