The English Shepherd and the Mother Pig

A farmer's life is long hours and hard labor. My grandparents had many afarm animals, none of which they considered a pet--even their two dogs. When the family moved to Ponca, Nebraska, they left behind one dog and took the other, a young English Shepherd pup named Poodle.  Still, my grandfather complained incessently about what trouble it was taking a dog on the road.

After the move JoAnn, at three years old, was playing outside with her older sister and brother near the pigpen.  People think of pigs as harmlessly taking mud baths and eating garbage, but farmers know they can be dangerous.  Pigs can weigh up to 800 pounds and will eat meat if they can (my grandparents owned a pig that caught and ate chickens).  On this particular day one of the pigs, an old sow who had just had piglets, was lying asleep in the pen.  Her babies were tiny, cute and irresistible to a three-year-old.  JoAnn went into the pen and grabbed one.  Of course it began squealing immediately.  The mother sow, fiercely protective, jumped to her feet to attack little JoAnn.

But out of nowhere came Poodle. Leaping into the pig's pen he grabbed the old sow by her ear. Around and around they whirled, the sow bellowing, Poodle snarling, and children screaming.  Poodle held so fast the sow couldn't shake him. Then my grandparents came running out of the house and rescued JoAnn.  Only after she was pulled form the pen did Poodle let go of the Sow's ear.

After that day my grandfather always said how happy he was to have brought Poodle with them to Ponca, Nebraska.