The concept of companion animals, for many of us not involved with livestock, usually brings to mind service animals, such as seeing-eye dogs and animals trained to assist people with epilepsy or the disabilities such as deafness. Some recent trends for these kinds of service animals have extended to Capuchin monkeys and miniature horses. Some snakes and birds are also in use as therapeutic animals for emotional health.
Livestock farmers have long understood that there is a consideration for companion animals to their stock. A single horse, for example, will have a calmer demeanor if it has a companion. Of course, another horse or pony would work, but smaller animals such as a goat, dog or cat can provide companionship. Some breeds are better suited than others.
Livestock protection also is a consideration that results in mixing animals. Many breeds of working dogs are available.
Shelley Hutcheson of Twiggety Farm in Roane County has been training Heidi, a Great Pyrenees, to become a working guard dog for her goats. Llamas and donkeys have also demonstrated guard status for a flock. Perhaps that was the thought behind the camel we saw on our trip to Vermont, as camels and llamas are related.
The US Department of Agriculture has collected some information about various animals. Go to this link to read information.