☰ menu   

Tails from the Farm


Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese farm dog Bella Claire

It’s usually the dairy animals—cows, sheep, goats—that get the star treatment in our pages. But they aren”t the only hairy, four-legged creatures close to cheesemakers’ hearts. Here we look at the dogs (and one rooster!) that herd livestock, greet visitors, or just entertain the staff at Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery, Bleating Heart Cheese, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company, and Bellwether Farms.

REDWOOD HILL FARM & CREAMERY

Sebastopol, Calif.

Smokey, a Labrador retriever–pit bull mix, passed away shortly after culture’s photo shoot. “In his younger days, he was head of gopher patrol on the farm,” farm manager Scott Bice remembers.

Smokey, a Labrador retriever–pit bull mix, passed away shortly after culture’s photo shoot. “In his younger days, he was head of gopher patrol on the farm,” farm manager Scott Bice remembers.

Nicole and Colton Bice named Olaf the rooster after the snowman in the movie Frozen. As a youngster, Olaf rode around the property on Nicole’s head.

Nicole and Colton Bice named Olaf the rooster after the snowman in the movie Frozen. As a youngster, Olaf rode around the property on Nicole’s head.

Redwood Hill owner Jennifer Lynn Bice poses with Gypsy, 8, who enjoys making rounds on the farm, “licking new baby goats and herding the free-range chickens,” she says.

Redwood Hill owner Jennifer Lynn Bice poses with Gypsy, 8, who enjoys making rounds on the farm, “licking new baby goats and herding the free-range chickens,” she says.

Members of the Bice family and creamery employees pose with pets and animals.

Members of the Bice family and creamery employees pose with pets and animals.

POINT REYES FARMSTEAD CHEESE COMPANY

Point Reyes Station, Calif.

Herd manager Brannon Areias adopted Bella Claire, now 7, from the pound. He was told she’s a black Labrador–border collie mix.

Herd manager Brannon Areias adopted Bella Claire, now 7, from the pound. He was told she’s a black Labrador–border collie mix.

Areias’s faithful companion—when he enters a building, she sits and waits outside—Bella also helps herd cows.

Areias’s faithful companion—when he enters a building, she sits and waits outside—Bella also helps herd cows.

BLEATING HEART CHEESE

Tomales, Calif.

Husband-and-wife creamery owners Seana Doughty and Dave Dalton walk dachshunds Jethro, 9, and Seymour, 8. “The wieners serve one purpose only: pure amusement,” Doughty says. “I wanted wiener dogs because they both look and act ridiculously funny.”

Husband-and-wife creamery owners Seana Doughty and Dave Dalton walk dachshunds Jethro, 9, and Seymour, 8. “The wieners serve one purpose only: pure amusement,” Doughty says. “I wanted wiener dogs because they both look and act ridiculously funny.”

One time, Seymour ate much of a wheel of sheep’s milk cheese that Doughty smuggled back from the French Pyrenees. “It was like 10 percent of his body weight, but he was fine,” she says.

One time, Seymour ate much of a wheel of sheep’s milk cheese that Doughty smuggled back from the French Pyrenees. “It was like 10 percent of his body weight, but he was fine,” she says.

BELLWETHER FARMS

Petaluma, Calif.

Farm owners and cheesemakers Liam and Diana Callahan with their Labrador retriever Ace, 3. (Their other dog, Abby, also 3, isn't pictured.) The couple hasn’t introduced the pups to the sheep—yet. “Basically, the dogs come to work with me and entertain all of us, take sun baths, dig for gophers, and bark at the neighbor’s goats,” Diana says.

Farm owners and cheesemakers Liam and Diana Callahan with their Labrador retriever Ace, 3. (Their other dog, Abby, also 3, isn’t pictured.) The couple hasn’t introduced the pups to the sheep—yet. “Basically, the dogs come to work with me and entertain all of us, take sun baths, dig for gophers, and bark at the neighbor’s goats,” Diana says.

Photographer Ellen Shershow Peña

Ellen Shershow Peña is a San Francisco Bay Area-based photographer who specializes in photographing dogs.