What’s a farmer without a faithful canine sidekick? If our years of Favorite Farm Dogs are any indication, he or she would be a lonely one — because Illinois farmers love their dogs. And those dogs are pretty incredible.
Is your farm dog tops? We’re willing to bet it is. Make sure your dog gets his or her day by nominating them for our 2019 Favorite Farm Dog Contest. To enter your dog, use the app below to submit your favorite photo and an essay sharing your dog’s best stories and exactly why he or she should be our 2019 Favorite Farm Dog. Please limit essays to 300 words.
In your essay, tell us just what makes your dog the perfect canine candidate. Entries are due March 25.
The winning dog's owner will receive a complete photo shoot of their dog on the farm, on the job and with and without family members, plus a 16-by-20-inch Modern Metals wall art featuring their favorite farm dog photo, complete with the winning credentials. In addition, the first-place farm dog will receive $100; second place will win $75; and third place will receive $50.
And don’t forget the real prize: neighborhood glory for your four-legged friend.
Last year’s winner, 3-year-old Roxie, lives with her owner, Barb Helmink, on their Teutopolis, Ill., farm. Roxie won for her plucky ability to join Barb morning and night for chores, barking to move dairy steers back from the feed bunk so Barb can feed.
But Roxie’s had an even more important job on the farm: faithful companion and listening ear. After Barb’s husband, Joe, died suddenly three years ago, her daughter Beth brought Roxie home for her. Turns out, Roxie was just what Barb needed.
“You can talk to a dog about all kinds of things,” Barb says. Roxie follows Barb to the garden throughout the summer, lying in cool soil as she waits. When the gardening and the chores are done, they sit for a spell in the swing that Joe built.
“We sit in the swing and we just talk,” Barb says. “She’s sure been good for me!”
In 2017, Colby, an Australian shepherd from Rosamond, Ill., won first prize for his ability to herd cattle as easily as he snuggles poults —a calm and gentle soul who’s eager to please and quick to obey. Owners Missy and Dustin Cothern entered Colby.
“They say you only get one good dog in life, and I believe it. That’s Colby for us,” Dustin says.
Prairie Farmer’s Favorite Farm Dog Contest began in 2000, and ever since, editors and judges at the magazine have weighed the qualifications and debated the merits of talented working dogs, terrific companion animals and guardians of the farm. We examine photos and read essays and are reminded again and again that a good farm dog is truly a farm family’s best friend.
So, whether your dog is your companion, protector, family or best friend, be sure to send your favorite stories and best photo our way by March 25. Send digital entries using the form below. Applicants must be 14 or older. All photos become property of Prairie Farmer and will not be returned.