This Farm Guarded by Bear

If you stop to visit us here at Red Roof Acres and are received with a growl from 10 pounds of attitude with an overbite, please know it’s not his fault (and that no teeth will follow).

The critter in question is a Toy Poodle/Jack Russell terrier mix named Bear whose only mission in life has been to protect me, whether from cancer, humans or horses. So even when you try to assure him you mean no harm, he will still regard you with suspicion. Please don’t take it personally.

puppy in lap

Bear in my lap on the first day of his arrival. It was love at first sight.

Bear came to us two years ago when he was six weeks old.

puppy and patient

Here we are doing a mind meld during a nap.

I was at the same age of breast cancer treatment, with all the ensuing baldness, barfiness and boniness. Despite being at the prime puppy-wiggle stage, Bear would somehow contain himself and be motionless when I needed to nap.

We tried to socialize him as much as possible, but cancer treatment is not conducive to getting out much.  So Bear’s perception of the world became skewed, and even now, two years later, although my hair and energy have both returned, my wellbeing apparently remains his raison d’être.

This became more apparent than ever once we moved to the farm.

That adorable face!

That adorable face!

puppy and patient

Two years ago. Here we are on a good day.


I would like to think it’s just the way he’s sitting, but Vincent, left, gained a lot of weight during the cats’ month of being house bound. That’s Piper on the right.

When we first arrived, we had just the dogs and cats with us. Vincent and Piper, the felines, were quarantined to the house for a full month while birds mocked them through the windows.

cat at window

Look at the top of the bell outside the window: A bird knows that Vincent can’t reach it.

Bear and Chiko, our 10-year-old Australian Terrier, discovered that deer (so plentiful on this


Every day at dusk and dawn, deer can be found in our back yard.

island! but that’s another blog) amble into the back yard every morning and every evening, and of course deserved to be chased away at full speed. The deer spring effortlessly over the fence and afterward, the dogs crash in the house with the surety of a job well done.

dogs and cat nap

After a full day exploring the farm, the dogs and Vincent enjoy a siesta together.

Then we brought the horses home, a wonderful venture as we had always boarded them before and were looking forward to having them live just steps from our door.

Bear, who had never spent time with the horses before, was not pleased at all, especially since his relationship with them got off to a very bad start.

You see, when the horses first arrived, we would bring them out of their pen in order to feed them their supplements (vitamins), and one day Matt had pulled my mare, Neela, and her colt, Quill, out first. That left Yukon, Matt’s gelding, alone in the pen, and to a horse, alone means death. So Yukon, a tall, heavily-built Friesian cross, became very anxious, trotting up and down the pen with long, pounding strides.

Halter in hand, I stepped into the pen to bring the gelding out, and stood my ground as he began to trot quickly toward me. Yukon is a giant teddy bear, and I knew he’d stop. Yet before he did I heard a low growl to my right, and turned my head just in time to see Bear spring between the boards of the fence to the horse’s pen and plant himself directly in front of me and in Yukon’s path, barking and snarling ferociously, bravely pitting himself against 1,500 pounds of horse in order to protect his mom.

dog growling at horse

Bear and Yukon got off to a bad start, and apparently my little dog holds a very big grudge.

I was deeply touched. Yukon was unconcerned. Bear was evicted from the horse pen, from which he has been banned. To this day, he loathes Yukon, to the point where I have to give Bear the firm instruction of “leave it!” for his own protection. We’re working on him being more agreeable. He’s making progress.

Meanwhile, if he does happen to bark at you, please know there’s no bite that accompanies it, and that it’s only done for love.

dog watching colt

Bear manages to behave himself while watching Quill the colt eat.

One thought on “This Farm Guarded by Bear

  1. Hello Amy and Matt! I’m enjoying reading your blog and reliving our wonderful stay at your inn in my head! You are great hosts and we appreciated your hospitality. I love reading about all of your menagerie’s history….the videos of the water buffalo are priceless. They truly are gentle giants. Best you both this fall and winter. I’ll check back periodically to hear updates on the forthcoming foal and baby buffalo..

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