Take Your Dog to Work Day!
By Ann Thelen
For 20 years, the first Friday after Father's Day has been celebrated as National Take Your Dog to Work Day®. Founded by Pet Sitters International, it was created to celebrate the wonderful companions dogs make and encourage their adoption.
On June 22, workplaces galore will experience the joy of four-legged, fur babies running in the hallways, cozying up to their favorite cubicle mate – affectionately known as their dog-mom or dog-dad – or greeting store visitors. On the farm, every day is "Take Your Dog to Work Day!" Not only do these extended family members provide companionship in the cab of a tractor or entertainment and exercise with an endless game of fetch, but many of the pups also play an important role in farm operations.
Make no bones about it, farm dogs hold a special place in the hearts of families from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River and every county in between. Meet a few of our favorite Iowa farm pups!
Snickers — a fitting name for the Chocolate Lab — belongs to the Van Manen family near Kellogg. He loves to take part in farm activities with the entire family. You might see Snickers riding on a four-wheeler across the farm, hopping in the tractor cab and making the rounds for morning and evening chores.
Snickers is considered part of the Van Manen family. Their farm has been passed down from generation to generation for more than 90 years. Today, they grow corn and soybeans, while also caring for Holstein cows and pigs.
The Van Manen children, Jacob and Emily, started their own sweet corn business at a young age. The business has helped them learn how to grow and sell food — and a true appreciation for all the time, patience and hard work that goes into the process. While we all enjoy the summertime staple, less than 1 percent of corn acres in Iowa are devoted to growing sweet corn. Most of the corn you see from the road is field corn, which is used to make fuel, feed, food and thousands of other everyday products.
Jag is an Australian Shepherd who was adopted from a shelter by Brady McClenathan and now helps on the farm near Brooklyn. While Jag is a hard worker, he also doesn’t mind stopping to be pet every now and then either!
He especially enjoys it when Katie Lang, an area veterinarian who specializes in large animal care – such as cattle, sheep and horses – along with family pets like cats and dogs comes out for farm visits. Whether big or small, Lang loves helping her four-legged patients while providing peace of mind for their owners.
"I was interested in dogs and cats when I was little. I went to a community college that had an agriculture program, and I found that I really loved it," Katie said about discovering her passion for helping livestock. "I like the diversity of the job. No day is ever the same, and I like being a small-town, rural vet because I get to build personal relationships with my patients and their owners. I can call them by name and they will know me when I say ‘hi’ in a grocery store."
From providing medicine to assisting with births to suturing cuts, vets are an important contact for farmers, just as they are for families with pets. That makes for busy days for Katie and her family, but she enjoys what she does.
Bryzzo is a French Bulldog that helps out on the Brenneman Pork farm in Washington. Bryzzo is an avid Chicago Cubs fan whose name is inspired by baseball players Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo!
While Bryzzo may be “top dog on campus,” pigs are the real MVP at Brenneman’s. Started by Rob and Char Brenneman in 1980, their farm is truly a family affair with a focus on animal care and safety. Their state-of-the-art swine facilities include a feed mill, top veterinarians, research facilities, truck wash bays, filtered air systems and a host of other biosecurity measures.
The goal? “We never want a pig to have a bad day,” says Rob.