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Companion Animals

March 27, 2012

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.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 27, 2012 1:06 pm

    I love this!

    • March 27, 2012 1:25 pm

      thanks. The camel of course caught our eye on our drive and we doubled back so I HAD to check into why a camel would be used as a companion to sheep. I really could not find much on the web, just a reference to llamas and that camels are related.

      • March 27, 2012 3:44 pm

        You must have been short of time because I can just picture you popping up at the farmhouse to ask why. 😉

      • March 28, 2012 10:00 am

        You know me. LOL. We were pressing on…..had already missed our window of opportunity to tour the Ben&Jerry’s ice cream factory and were just very ready to get to Burlington. There was a guy coming back to his car who had gone and asked (another reason I did not want to invade the farm space) and he said they told him it was a companion animal.

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