If Hemi the Virginia border collie could talk, he’d have a lot to say. He is one of 10 dogs across the U.S. selected for the 2020 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest created by the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite farm dog on social media by Jan. 17 to select the People’s Choice Pup. The winner will be announced in January at the AFBF Annual Convention in Austin, Texas.
“Hemi is one of those critters we wish could talk because of the stories he could tell,” said Judy Tammi, one of Hemi’s owners. Tammi and her husband, Leo, are sheep farmers in Augusta County who rely on dogs to help with the farm operation.
One day Hemi disappeared. Leo Tammi sent another dog to finish his job and chastised Hemi when he later reappeared, not realizing he had sustained significant injuries to his abdomen. Puncture wounds suggested it was an animal attack.
“He’s an honest dog. You give him a job to do, he goes at it with all his heart and all his soul. He’s been an amazing companion here on the farm,” Tammi said about 14-year-old Hemi, who is now retired. “When you have a working relationship with one of these dogs, it’s an extension of yourself. You depend on them for every job that needs to be done around the farm, and Hemi has been a totally honest dog.”
AFBF began the contest to celebrate farm dogs who work alongside their people.
The contest is sponsored by Purina, and the grand prize is a year’s supply of Purina dry dog food and $5,000 in travel costs for the dog’s family to attend the AFBF convention. Runners-up will win $1,000 in prize money. The People’s Choice Pup will receive a $50 gift card and a Purina gift basket.