Missouri non-profit trains dogs to assist farmers with disabilities

1 year 1 month 3 weeks ago Monday, March 27 2017 Mar 27, 2017 Monday, March 27, 2017 5:37:00 PM CDT March 27, 2017 in News
By: Nora Faris, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

GRANT CITY - Ranching can be a rough-and-tumble job. For Missouri farmer Sheila Hunt, it got even harder after she developed multiple autoimmune syndrome, a condition that can cause chronic fatigue, pain and joint discomfort.

"Ranching by itself can be painful," Hunt said. "With my condition, it started to get really tough."

Thanks to a Missouri non-profit that provides service dogs for farmers with disabilities, Hunt's daily task of corralling sheep and cattle became a little less rough and a little more "ruff."

P.H.A.R.M. Dog USA raises, trains and places dogs with farmers who have physical challenges or health problems that can make farming difficult. The organization's name stands for Pets Helping Agriculture in Rural Missouri. The group also places dogs with farmers in other states.

Through the program, Hunt received a black and white border collie — a dog named Sue. 

She became Sheila's shadow. Sue tags along on chores, keeping sheep away from Hunt as she fills feeding troughs. 

"When we go in there to feed of a morning, I don't get knocked around by the sheep," Hunt said. "Then I've got extra energy to get throughout the day."

Alda Owen, a farmer from DeKalb County, said her dog, Sweet Baby Jo, helped her see life in a new light.

Owen, who is legally blind, got her P.H.A.R.M. Dog pup after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I still get tired. I still hurt. I still get angry about cancer," Owen said. "But with the P.H.A.R.M. Dog program, I can talk to people who've got so much more on their plate than I do."

She said her dog helps her handle her livestock, but more importantly, her dog helps her handle life's challenges. 

"For the past five years, she's been my eyes, my ears, my energy, my inspiration that I can go out and do everything I need to do," Owen said.

Bobby Miller of Plattsburg volunteers with the P.H.A.R.M. Dog program, training dogs to work with farmers and their livestock.

He said the dogs make better farmhands than most people.

"I've never gone out to my pen to get my dog when he looked at me and said, 'Not today' or "I've got a hangover' or 'I feel bad,'" Miller said. "I've never had him ask me for a raise or for a day off. The only thing the dogs want is to be with you and to work, and you can't beat that." 

The P.H.A.R.M. Dog program was recently featured in "Loyal", a National Geographic Society book containing stories about inspirational dogs and their owners. 

Jackie Allenbrand, founder of P.H.A.R.M. Dog USA, said she hopes the national spotlight will encourage new sponsorships and support for the program so it can continue to provide farmers with dogs that heel and heal. 

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
CAMDEN COUNTY - The Missouri State Highway Patrol has released the identities of the three people killed and the two... More >>
10 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 6:42:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Children in Columbia have a chance to get paid to play. Columbia Parks and Recreation started its... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 6:10:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
HAVANA (AP) — The Latest on the crash in Cuba of a passenger jet with 113 people on board (all... More >>
11 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 5:23:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Over 90 people showed up at the Burr Oak Brewery for an afternoon of puppies, yoga and beer... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 4:50:00 PM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Although it is nowhere near Halloween, some Columbia runners faced their fears by participating in a zombie-themed 5K... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 11:12:00 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The city of Columbia has been ranked a top-ten affordable college town to live in by realtor.com. Factors... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 10:41:00 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Mississippi River is above flood stage at several northeast Missouri locations, but forecasters do... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 9:29:44 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in Continuous News
(CNN) -- And they're married! Britain's Prince Harry and US actress Meghan Markle were wed Saturday at Windsor... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, May 19 2018 May 19, 2018 Saturday, May 19, 2018 7:09:00 AM CDT May 19, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- The United states is experiencing one of the lowest birth rates in 30 years, according to the Centers for... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 9:08:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Attorney General Josh Hawley says attorneys helping Gov. Eric Greitens through impeachment proceedings are acting improperly. "By... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 8:34:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The annual Backyard Concert Series kicks off Saturday evening at the Jefferson Landing Historic site. Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 6:45:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY –Missourians will soon be able to keep a little more money from their paychecks, after a state House... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 6:33:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
MADISON (AP) — A Columbia man will likely spend the rest of his life in prison for a shooting death... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:40:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
WARSAW (AP) — Authorities say the police chief of a western Missouri town was wounded after a 16-year-old boy shot... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:24:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led Legislature approved tax cuts for both individuals and corporations Friday and sent a gas-tax... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:18:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Local veterans return home from combat having experienced things average citizens could not even imagine. Douglas Wilbur,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 4:17:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – A permanent fix begins this weekend on a main Jefferson City road that has been bogged down... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 3:58:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA- Former officer Rob Sanders' case against the city came to a close Friday. For the last seven years, Sanders... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 18 2018 May 18, 2018 Friday, May 18, 2018 3:54:00 PM CDT May 18, 2018 in Top Stories
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 64°
6am 62°
7am 63°
8am 66°
9am 68°