Farm Progress

Today, check out four more standout stories from some dynamic farm dogs that earned very honorable mentions.

Holly Spangler, Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer

April 20, 2018

5 Min Read
PHOTOGENIC: The judges loved how stately Leya kept watch during this snowfall.

Earlier this week, we introduced you to Prairie Farmer’s 2018 Favorite Farm Dogs: Roxie, Chanee and Copper. Today, check out four more standout stories from some dynamic Illinois farm dogs that earned very honorable mentions.

Most Photogenic: Leya
Leya, a 2-year-old American Kennel Club-registered golden retriever (pictured above), lives on our rural family centennial farm. She is very talented as she can “shake” your hand, play dead, and above all, lives up to her breed name “retriever.” While the family plays baseball in the front yard, Leya enjoys chasing fly balls and fielding ground balls. Leya is one of four golden retrievers on the Williams Family Farm, but she is by far the most photogenic, loving and playful canine of them all.
Garrett Williams, Noble

Dynamic Duo: Dakota and Cabela
Well, we couldn’t choose just one of our two girls! Four-year-old Dakota and 6-year-old Cabela are a joyous part of our Edwards family. They have become staples to our business, Edwards Apple Orchard West. They greet guests with wagging tails and wiggling butts. For our family, they are a reminder to us to take a break during our daily work. They follow us out to our orchard of 8,000 trees, and they stay alongside us. Whenever we need a mini-break, they’re right there, ready to take our mind off the cold, or the tiredness of our bodies. They recharge our spirits multiple times a day, every day. They’re the best because they bring a smile to our customers’faces, as well as ours, every day. We would not be what we are today, as a business or family, without them.
Kristin Edwards, Winnebago

DYNAMIC DUO: Dakota and Cabela are greeters-in-chief at their family’s operation, Edwards Apple Orchard West.

Farmwife’s Friend: Daisy
Farmers need a certain kind of dog. Often this is a hard-working dog that opens gates, kills varmints and instinctively herds livestock. Daisy, our golden retriever, wasn’t that dog.

Farmer’s wives need a certain kind of dog: one that knows the value of companionship, lends a sympathetic ear, understands tears and loves without judging — and Daisy was precisely THAT kind of dog.

She was my friend and confidant. I was so grateful to have another heartbeat in the house on those long evenings when my husband planted, sprayed or harvested until the wee hours of the morning. She made me laugh, too. She had a rug in front of the sink in the kitchen on which she was instructed to stay, but she just wanted to be in the middle of any action or conversation. With her rear firmly planted on that rug, she scooched her way over to the kitchen table to achieve just that! I didn’t have the heart to order her to go back.

She taught me about raising another living thing, and I am sure she knew it was “time” when we left for the hospital to have our baby, even though we thought it was a false alarm. After we brought our son home, he was crying and inconsolable. I looked at Daisy and said, “Don’t worry. It’ll get better … until he starts pulling your hair.” She let out a moan that let me know she understood every word.

My sweet girl died just a few days later at only a year and a half, of an apparent heart defect. Even in death, she taught us not to take each other or the time we have together for granted. People that say, “They’re just dogs,” never had a dog like Daisy!
Heather Mohr, Burnside


FARMWIFE’S FRIEND: For Heather Mohr, her dog Daisy was a welcome heartbeat in the home when her farmer was in the field.

Comeback Kid: Monty
If dogs could truly talk, Monty, our 12-year-old Catahoula, could really tell some good stories! Once he was mistaken for a stray and picked up by a passerby when he was following his farmer “dad” on the tractor — only to be reunited through social media days later. Or there was the time he loaded himself in a cattle hauler’s stock trailer and went missing for four days in the hot summer. He is always on an exciting adventure! Monty’s life has been far from ordinary, with many wild and crazy stories of his adventures.

Monty has been with me for 12 years, adopted the day I moved back home to take over the family farm after my father’s passing. Monty has seen his fair share of animals on the farm, but has the most gentle spirit, and is very patient and loyal to our family and our children. He is our protector, our guardian, companion and a huge part of our family.

Most recently we noticed him slowing down and found out that he has bone cancer. We had his leg amputated in December to take away his pain, and to repay him with the same loyalty and respect he has shown us over the years. Surgery was rough, but he recovered well and is now rocking the farm life as a tri-pawed! He is back in the swing of things, still guarding gates and fences from the curious cattle and wrestling with his dog brother, Jedd. He spends afternoons lying in the sun, chasing the cows and following me around the farm. Evenings are spent protecting and playing with his two human sisters. Monty deserves more than just being nominated for the Favorite Farm Dog, because Monty is our favorite farm dog.
David Ernst, New Douglas


COMEBACK KID: Twelve-year-old Monty has seen some adventures in his day, including wild rides and even cancer. Today, he’s rocking life as a “tri-pawed” canine.


About the Author(s)

Holly Spangler

Senior Editor, Prairie Farmer, Farm Progress

Holly Spangler has covered Illinois agriculture for more than two decades, bringing meaningful production agriculture experience to the magazine’s coverage. She currently serves as editor of Prairie Farmer magazine and Executive Editor for Farm Progress, managing editorial staff at six magazines throughout the eastern Corn Belt. She began her career with Prairie Farmer just before graduating from the University of Illinois in agricultural communications.

An award-winning writer and photographer, Holly is past president of the American Agricultural Editors Association. In 2015, she became only the 10th U.S. agricultural journalist to earn the Writer of Merit designation and is a five-time winner of the top writing award for editorial opinion in U.S. agriculture. She was named an AAEA Master Writer in 2005. In 2011, Holly was one of 10 recipients worldwide to receive the IFAJ-Alltech Young Leaders in Ag Journalism award. She currently serves on the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation, the U of I Agricultural Communications Advisory committee, and is an advisory board member for the U of I College of ACES Research Station at Monmouth. Her work in agricultural media has been recognized by the Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Corn, Illinois Council on Agricultural Education and MidAmerica Croplife Association.

Holly and her husband, John, farm in western Illinois where they raise corn, soybeans and beef cattle on 2,500 acres. Their operation includes 125 head of commercial cows in a cow/calf operation. The family farm includes John’s parents and their three children.

Holly frequently speaks to a variety of groups and organizations, sharing the heart, soul and science of agriculture. She and her husband are active in state and local farm organizations. They serve with their local 4-H and FFA programs, their school district, and are active in their church's youth and music ministries.

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