Friday, July 17, 2009

How much is that doggy on the homestead?

Sixty-three percent of U.S. households own at least one dog according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2009-2010 National Pet Owners Survey. Daniel Freeman, one of the first homesteaders, was also one of the first homesteaders to own a dog. He had a dog for the same reasons people have dogs today, for protection and for company.

Freeman’s great granddaughter, Beverly S. Kaplan, in her book, Daniel and Agnes Freeman, Homesteaders (1971) talks about the first dog Daniel brought home to Agnes.

When Dan walked in, there was a merry twinkle in his eyes. He carried a sad-faced hound under his arm and handed it to Agnes. She set it on the floor promptly. It was neither proper nor sanitary to hold a dog.

file photo

I got that dog for your protection, Aggie. A man has no damn business living on the prairie without a dog.

At first Agnes was reluctant to keep the young pup but Daniel insisted

She’s just a pup yet,” Dan said in way of defending the long eared hound’s behavior. He loved dogs of any kind, any number or nature.

As time went on Agnes came to appreciate the sad-faced hound named Tanny.

Once the clearing was plowed, Agnes was less apprehensive about her surroundings. She could look out across twenty or thirty acres of open ground and see what might be coming, and she grew more dependent upon Tanny’s alert bay as the dog grew older, so she fell to her work more peacefully.

The Freemans kept dogs on their homestead throughout their lives.

The Daniel Freeman family exhibit at Homestead National Monument

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