An Ode to the Barn Dog

Photo by Carmen Jacobson Photography
Photo by Carmen Jacobson Photography


We have spent some time over the last few months highlighting the significance that a heart horse can play in our lives, but today I thought we should switch gears, and talk about the barn dogs. I am lucky enough to have two dogs that absolutely LOVE being at the barn with me. Benny, is a 9-year-old corgi. He is often known as “bad corgi” and has been in the barn with me since the ripe old age of 8 weeks. Then there is Nora. She is an almost three year old mutt rescued from a village in northern Alaska.

When we adopted Nora, the plan was for Benny to continue his role as my barn dog, and for her to be my husband, Tom’s hunting and hiking buddy. But, less than 24 hours into having her in my life, she managed to get hurt. I was the one who scooped her up as she cried and squealed, and we have been attached at the hip ever since. Benny on the other hand realized that watching sports on the couch with dad, and helping him pack for, hunting and fishing trips was his calling in life. While I sometimes feel a little bit disappointed that Benny's loyalty has transferred from myself, to my husband, Nora is a better barn dog by a landslide. She LOVES people, comes when she's called, doesn't randomly disappear leaving me searching for her, and she's careful and sweet with the horses. Benny is well fiercely independent at the barn, disappearing frequently, and has been known to snap at and chase Wyatt away from his food.

Much like Wyatt, Nora is everything I didn't know I needed. As someone who works from home, and boards at a small private barn, I spend a lot of time alone, especially when Tom is away for TDYs. Nora is my constant companion. As I have worked through challenges with my health, grief from the loss of my horse Josh, and the loneliness of working from home, she is constantly by my side. Her little nose is even in my lap as I type this. When I have a bad day, she is always there to rest her head on my arm. I did not know I needed a little buddy like her, but her sweet snuggly personality always makes me feel better when I am having a bad day.

Her love for barn time is also so heartwarming. She loves to hang out and nap in the sun, or sit by the front door and watch for friends, both human, or animal. She and Wyatt are truly best friends. Wyatt has been known to gently groom her as he would another horse. While I think his love might be a bit aggressive for her tiny 45lb body, she patiently sits there, and lets him do it. She follows us around when we are walking to start or end our rides, and even has a game with Wyatt when he ride in the field where she darts away when he tosses his head at her, then comes back and they repeat the process over and over. The joy she finds in her barn time, makes my barn time even better. The barn has always been my safe place, my happy place, and I love that it brings her the same joy.

As equestrians we all are animal lovers. And while horses might be the animal that make our sport possible, our little barn buddies worm their ways into our hearts and end up just as important to us. Be it a barn dog, or barn cat they bring an added level of joy to our lives. We all think our fuzzy family members are the best, and none of us are wrong.