Salute to the farm dog

By Gary Joiner

The last known living 9/11 search dog passed away this week near Houston. Bretagne (BRIHT’-nee), a golden retriever, was 16.

Bretagne and her handler, Denise Corliss, spent 10 days in Lower Manhattan after the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001, searching the rubble for human remains.

Published reports say about two dozen first responders on Monday lined the sidewalk leading to the veterinarian’s office in Cypress. They saluted Bretagne as she walked by for the final time.

The account reminds us of the special relationship we have with dogs. That special bond is alive and well on farms and ranches across Texas.

You know the dog I’m talking about. We hear the remarkable stories about them. Some stories make us laugh. Others make us pause and reflect. In the case of Bretagne’s final day and goodbye, it rekindles memories of a special dog in our own life that has passed on.

Farm dogs come in many breeds and sizes. Their work ranges from herding and corralling to guarding. They are an essential part of production. Some are only as  companions that offer good company. And that’s just fine. The ride in the pickup wouldn’t be the same without them.

The skills of a farm dog vary. It’s a mixed bag, just like the genetic background of some of the very best. One trait that’s never missing, though, is trust. And it goes both ways. Farm dogs are a trusted partner.

We salute the farm dog and all that they bring to the families of Texas agriculture. They are a key thread in the fabric of farming and ranching.

Gary Joiner

Gary Joiner is the senior associate director of Public Relations for Texas Farm Bureau.

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