A story about dog loyalty for National Dog Day

Today is National Dog Day so I would like to share this story about how dogs can be extremely loyal and dutiful. I heard it on the radio program The World on Friday, August 25, 2017. It tells the story of two dogs of Lynn Landry, a sheep rancher in British Columbia, who was forced to evacuate due to raging forest fires.

Landry and her husband took their four border collies, but they had to leave behind their flock of 90 sheep and their Maremma sheepdogs, Tad and Sophie.

“There was nothing we could do,” says Landry. “We had to leave.”

Landry says Maremmas have been bred for generations to guard sheep. She says she knew if the dogs managed to survive the fire, they would never abandon their charges. So they left a 35-pound bag of dog food and hoped for the best.

The Landry’s weren’t able to come home for 20 days (except briefly to open the gates to let the sheep get water from the lake). When they finally returned, they saw their neighbors’ houses had burned down. There were still helicopters overhead, gathering water from the lake to douse small fires.

Despite all the activity and mayhem, who was sitting in the field? but Tad and Sophie, surrounded by the sheep.

You can listen to the story.

The Landrys clearly faced a heart-wrenching decision because I am sure that they saw Tad and Sophie as members of their family like the other four dogs. But they probably felt that the dogs were smart and this was the best chance of saving the sheep as well. While I am glad that the story had a happy ending, I must say that I am not sure that I could have left Tad and Sophie behind, though one cannot never completely put oneself in someone else’s extreme situation and predict how one might behave.


  1. says

    If it makes you feel better, it’s doubtful Tad and Sophie would have willingly left their charges. Work dogs take their responsibilities seriously. I’m glad they all came through.

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