Wonderful Walter – Times-Standard – Eureka Times-Standard

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A working pup named Walter has been chosen as the 2022 Humboldt County Farm Bureau “Dog of the Year.”
“I was blown away that Walt won the contest. I expected all the gorgeous border collies and lgd’s (livestock guardian dogs) would take the contest easily. I never expected a funny looking little mutt would win,” said Walter’s owner, Maddie Cameron of Bayside.
The local farm bureau kicked off its “Farm Dog of the Year” photo contest this year, with a goal of showcasing members’ canine companions and highlighting not only their importance on the farm, but the value they add to the happiness of their family, said Jeannie Fulton, executive director of the Humboldt County Farm Bureau.
“We had so much fun putting this contest together. Basically, we piggybacked on the American Farm Bureau Federation and California Farm Bureau’s contests. My first thought was to promote both of those campaigns, then decided that Humboldt County dogs and their families deserve some recognition closer to home,” Fulton said.
“Dogs are important to our lives in so many ways,” Fulton said. “They offer companionship, comfort, comedic relief, protection and sometimes more if they are a farm dog. Many farmers and ranchers would be hard pressed to get cattle work done without the help of their dog. These dogs are highly skilled and love what they do. These dogs thrive on having a job to do, they’re eager to get to work each day and revel in doing a job well done.”
Each contestant in the dog photo competition was allowed to enter up to five pictures of their canine companion and had to answer a series of related questions.
“The photos were fantastic,” Fulton said. “Some evoked laughter and some hit you right in the feels. … We had great diversity in the types of photos submitted, though all the dogs are of herding/working descent. Along with the photo submission they had to answer how the dog enriches the family, what duties the dog performs on the farm and finally why their dog should be chosen as ‘Top Dog.’ The answers were wonderful to read. You could feel the love these families have for their dogs. These dogs are not only loved, but respected.”
Fulton added: “Next time you see a farmer or rancher with a few dogs in the back of a dirty truck driving down the road, take a moment to recognize how hard they work and know that these dogs are valued. These are truly happy dogs to be able to do what they were bred to do and love to do each and every day. These working dogs can have many jobs — from gathering livestock in large areas or rough terrain that are hard on the humans and horses. They help move them to different pastures or bring them in for doctoring. Working dogs help find missing livestock, some protect livestock from predators  and some keep an eye on their humans. Many dogs are the only co-worker a farmer/rancher may have.”
A panel of four judges selected the content winners. In addition to Walter, honored pups included Ben, who belongs to the Hunt family; Daisy from the Hague family; and Dilly, who belongs to DeeDee McWhorter.
“The dogs were scored using a rubric, including quality of the photo composition, the dog’s attributes, its work ethic, its fierce factor and judge’s favorite. The top four dogs were very close in points.”
Contest prizes were donated by Premier Financial, Redwood Capital Bank, Brindle-N-Fawn, Nilsen Company and Petco. Dogs Ben and Daisy will receive prize packages from Nilsen Company and Petco. Dilly is taking home a prize package from Brindle-N-Fawn. Walter won $250 donated by Premier Financial and $250 donated by Redwood Capital Bank.
Cameron — who works for Green Diamond Resource Company doing wildlife surveys — has had Walter since he was 8 weeks old and he’s been working in the woods with her since he was about 5 months old. Walter will turn 5 years old in a few weeks.
“He’s a total mutt, but is mostly Australian shepherd and heeler,” Cameron said. “He’s got a lot of herding traits and often weaves back and forth behind me when he thinks I’m hiking too slow. … We mainly do northern spotted owl surveys, which involves a lot of night work. I work solo and he is my constant companion. He keeps me safe in the woods during night work, especially hiking. His favorite thing in the world is running with the ATV. He wears safety goggles … because he’s so excited that he often forgets to look where he’s going and has crashed into many a shrub. His self-appointed title is ‘motivational ATV barker,’ and he has a zeal for the job that is unrivaled.”
Walter also likes to have fun during off-hours and enjoys spending time with his family.
“He … loves carrying things and is a fetch addict with a passion for West Paw brand frisbees. He loves all people and is a pro-level snuggler,” Cameron said.
She added: “He’s a total goofball, with many quirks and skills. He is talented at finding deer and elk antlers, but also enjoys burying them. Although he is black and white, his life goal is to be a brown dog. Any mud pit or puddle is an opportunity and he has come close to his goal on many occasions.”
For more information about the Humboldt County Farm Bureau, go to https://www.humboldtcountyfarmbureau.com.
 
 
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