The life of a farm dog is an open prairie made for adventures, it’s chasing coyotes and nutria, it’s protecting your family and the farm. It rarely involves fences he can’t climb through or creeks he can’t swim across. It’s pick-up bed rides with the wind on his face. It’s about that look and excitement when your farmer throws down their tailgate and yells, “Load up Boy”. It’s about chasing field mice all harvest and laying in that hot summer sun. Being a farm dog is a no boundary, leash free kind of freedom that…unfortunately, just can’t last forever.
Because being a farm dog also means getting old in those same fields and across those same acres that you ran across all your life. It means waiting for help when that tailgate goes down, because your days of jumping have turned into getting lifted up to go for an occasional ride. It’s saying goodbye to the miles and hello to just a simple walk to the shop and back. And when even that got too tough, it’s trusting your farmer to know when it’s time to say goodbye.
I got Yukon when he was two years old, I was lucky to get to spend 12 of his 14 years as his farmer. For a long time he took care of me, for a long time I took care of him and for the whole time we were inseparable. A few days ago, he looked at me as he struggled to get up off his pillow. And this time, even for me, he just couldn’t do it. All those fields, all those runs, many days off on adventures I’d never even know about; and here he was, needing my mercy, needing me to let him go.
The loss of a dog is heartbreaking, they are a part of your family, of your hearts and home. And Yukon or Kon as he was often called, was no different. He spent many of his days letting the kids jump all over him and he in turn loved them and protected them. I like to think that he held on just long enough to meet Miss Millie, to pass on a little love to her as she completed our family.
Yukon, it will be some time before I round the kitchen corner and don’t expect to see your dopey face looking back at me laying in the laundry room on your bed. And in those moments is when all of the good memories will come on back like yesterday. I’ll probably get a little and sometimes a lot sad, but in the end, just like when you were sitting right there with your floppy ears and sweet big eyes, you’ll make me smile and probably laugh. Because really what is a farm dog’s legacy worth if you can’t sit and have a nice good laugh about the best dog this farmer ever had.
As Hoot said when we laid you to rest, “Well, now Yukon can go and run with Diesel, I bet he likes that.” Yeah, I bet he really does.
Thanks for growing old with us Yukon Jack. Rest In Peace old boy.
April 2004 – April 2018.
A few good memories: