Agriculture + Lifestyle

Vote for Casper for People's Choice Pup

Posted on November 27, 2023 5:16 PM

Each year, the American Farm Bureau Federation holds a competition to recognize and honor farm dogs around the country for their commitment to their farm and farm families.  The top dog is named Farm Dog of the Year, voted on by a panel of judges. They also crown the People's Choice Pup, which is voted on by YOU!

Help us recognize Georgia's very own Casper the Dog by voting him as this year's People's Choice Pup!

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You may recognize Casper from his news coverage earlier in the year. He heroically saved a flock of sheep from more than a dozen coyotes.

As part of the submission process, Casper's owner, John Wierwille recently reflected on what makes Casper special and why he deserves consideration as the People's Choice Pup. 

How Does Casper Enrich Your Life?

Casper is everywhere, all the time. He moves from place to place on the farm with purpose. He checks on the ducks and then the chickens and then any sheep that are in his enclosure and then he comes to check on us. He even checks on the trains that go by every few hours. He is alway guarding all of us whether it is a quiet night or a night disrupted by owls, foxes, coyotes, or our resident homeless guy. On top of everything else, he has set an incredible example of commitment and courage for all of us and many others.

How does he support you on the farm?

Casper is my partner. Like all of our livestock dogs, Casper is eyes and ears and protector for our property, be that livestock or land or otherwise. He revels in this work. When there are new lambs, Casper circles them and sidles up to them and lets them know he is there. He checks on his sheep over and over again each day. He is also a big fan of the ducks who reciprocate the love. They sleep together every night. He notices things that I do not sometimes and he lets me know about them. Is there a threat? He will let me know. Is there an injury? Again, he will let me know. In addition, of course, Casper is just a good companion, whether at the farm, on the truck, or out at job sites.

What activities on the farm does Casper participate in?

Casper's primary responsibility is the home pasture. That means he moves around our property and protects us and our animals and our products and equipment from thieves and predators. When Casper has been around, nothing has been killed or stolen. He is very good at letting us - and the whole neighborhood - know that something is amiss. We lease our sheep out to clear brush and send them all around the city, though, so he also has a role as a protector on other sites from time to time and we sometimes take him out to hunt down/chase coyotes that have approached job sites.

What non-farm-work activities do you and your dog do together for recreation?

Honestly, we do not have a lot of time for non-farm-work activities. We do hang out on the patio with bottle lambs and Casper is always excited to see baby chicks and ducklings. Mostly, we stay busy with farm work.

Describe your commitment to responsible dog ownership (safety practices, current vaccinations, proper nutrition and care, etc.).

We have six livestock guardian dogs and we consider their care as important as caring for human co-workers. We consider good food and regular vet visits, keeping all vaccines updated, and grooming every three months essential to keeping the dogs happy and healthy. Most importantly, if there is any indication of active predators, our dogs only work in teams of two.