Belle… The Best Dog A Horse Could Ask For

Happy October to all my Farmgirl Friends!

This post is the second half of a story I began two weeks ago. So…. if you haven’t read the first half, you will want to read it first by going to that post here.

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Six week old Belle in the front yard at our previous house… trying to keep her out of the horse corral, only to have Promise come find her when we let her out for her evening run!  

When we last talked I told you Promise had a little something on her side that helped her finally adjust to her new home. That was Belle, our little Australian Shepherd dog. We bought her when we still lived in Utah – she was a tiny little 6 week old ball of fur. She immediately took a liking to Promise and would sneak into her corral every chance she had. We tried everything we could to keep her out. It was very worrisome – this big horse and this tiny little fluff ball at her feet. Promise was so tolerant, which was a surprise as she never liked sharing her space with anyone else before. The bond was immediate.

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Belle loves to lay on the top of the hilltop on our Tennessee farm where she can keep an eye on everything going on below!

When Belle was about six months old we moved to Tennessee. She had quite the life on our new farm, as she had all sorts of land to roam and she was the happiest dog you can even imagine.

Except that her horse was a mess. I already told you that water was a very big issue for Promise, as she was used to drinking fresh water in her trough and now all she had was pond water. And that also required that she leave the hilltop and walk a distance down to the pond. She was NOT going to leave that hilltop. So, I catered to it. If you can believe it I started hauling water from my daughter’s house a mile away to fill up a small trough. (We had no running water on the farm yet.) It was a huge undertaking, requiring numerous trips each day to keep the trough full. But I was so thankful she was drinking, I didn’t even comprehend the problem I was creating.

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Eldon working on the tool shed, Promise “helping” as usual!

 We were building a tool shed and every time my husband turned around, Promise was inside the shed with him.

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Promise standing watch as my husband worked on our house foundation.

About this time we began the excavation and earth work to put in utilities on our hilltop. Promise was a huge nuisance. She was still such a mess that she dogged our every step, standing directly behind us regardless of what we were doing. It actually became a safety issue.

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I heard a knock at the travel trailer door, opened it and guess who was there?

We were living in our travel trailer while we were building our home.  And this was a very common thing to be greeted by both Promise and Belle when we opened the door.

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Promise totally involved in the building process!

Every wall that went up on our house, Promise had to inspect it.  She was way too curious for her own good.  And we began to worry about her causing damage to our new home as well as to herself.  So we put up a temporary fence around the construction site and began the steps to wean her off of water on the hilltop.  My husband said, “Enough is enough. We’ve got to get this horse off the hill and get her drinking out of the pond and hanging out down there with the cows. No more watering her up here.”

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Our lovely pond under the cool shade trees.  (The cows loved it…. why didn’t Promise?)

Eldon would halter Promise and walk her down to the pond several times a day where she would stand and not drink. That old saying sure proved true: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink”! He would take her halter off and she would turn and run back up to the hilltop as fast as she could, Belle right with her. We gave up. It became a matter of either she will drink, or she won’t.

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Promise… stuck on the hilltop.

So… Belle took it in her own little doggie hands and began to lead Promise down to the pond. She would run a few steps ahead and give a little bark and whine, calling her horse. Promise would follow, then stop. Belle would run a few more steps and whine and Promise would follow. At first we could hardly believe what we were seeing. This went on for days until finally Belle managed to get Promise all the way to the pond! And with Belle coaxing her, Promise drank. And with Belle’s encouragement, Promise would spend a little more time each day down in the shade with the cows.

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Finally!  Promise content and happy grazing at the bottom of the hill by the pond.  

That was the beginning of Promise’s long journey into becoming a happy horse once again. It did not happen overnight. It actually took about two years before we knew she was back to her old happy self again.

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Those two are inseparable. Promise naps in the warm winter sunshine, Belle naps too.

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Promise gets excited and rips around the farm, Belle rips around with her.

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Our grand-daughter – her first riding lesson from Promise!

I’m so thankful that what Eldon said all those years ago proved true… “This horse has a lot of promise”!  And I’m even more thankful that she finally adjusted and is a happy horse that not only loves her Tennessee Hilltop… she loves the pond too!

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Belle… the best dog a horse could ask for!

It is not an exaggeration to say that Belle saved her life and I’m pretty sure Promise knows it!

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We love you, Promise.  

Until our gravel roads cross again… so long!

Dori

Leave a comment 50 Comments

  1. Deb Bosworth says:

    Bless her little horse heart… She must have been so homesick and fearful of her new surroundings… Imagine what she was thinking? What’s all this green stuff, and wide open space to run in, and why is my water so far away? She is the best horse a dog ( and a family) could ever have. Love , love , love, this! Thank you, Dori! Happy Fall!

    hugs, Deb ( beach farmgirl)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Dear Deb – Thank you for reading and commenting! And yes, she is the best horse for our family! Hugs to you my friend. – Dori –

  2. Linda Petersen says:

    Hi Dori! Thank you for sharing such a sweet story! I needed a little something to touch my heart today & this is the cherry on top of the cake.
    Have a lovely weekend :) .

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Linda – Thank you so much for your comment, I’m so glad this was a “cherry on top” kind of story! – Dori –

  3. Jan says:

    Just read your blog for the first time and loved it! So happy that Promise is happy again! What a special, loving relationship her and Belle have, beautiful!

  4. Bambi Miller says:

    Hi Dori,
    Love your story with Promise and Belle! I too have Aussies, and they are the best dogs ever! be it ranch, farm or urban living. I don’t know what I would do without mine. Your Tennessee ranch looks beautiful. Look forward to more of your stories :)

    Bambi

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Bambi – I think Aussie’s are one of the most amazing dogs. They do adapt so well to any lifestyle… I always say as long as they have a job to do, they are happy! – Dori –

  5. natalie says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Blessings on your family both human and animal.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Natalie – Aren’t we lucky to have animals that are part of our family too?! Thank you for reading! – Dori –

  6. Sandy says:

    Beautiful

  7. Jacque says:

    this is the sweetest “feel-good” story ever – those two are just adoreable – thanks for sharing :)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Jacque – I’m happy the story brought that “feel-good” feeling! We all need that sometimes don’t we?! :-) – Dori –

  8. bonnie b says:

    Lovely story! It’s always amazing to see how certain animals bond with each other.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Bonnie – Animals are pretty amazing how accepting they are of each other. We could learn a lot from them! – Dori –

  9. Kay (old cowgirl) Montoy says:

    What a wonderful ending to a truly inspiring story. Belle is one of those animals that is instinctlvely in tune with her friend. A good lesson for all of use to seek. Happy trails.
    Hugs,
    Kay

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Kay – There was a time when we were afraid there wouldn’t be a happy ending! It makes us tremendously thankful. – Dori –

      • Kay (old cowgirl) Montoy says:

        Dori,
        I already replied to the story and yet I see there might be more to it. Is it possible in you very busy schedule for a book about Promise and Belle? Even if you told it to a person who could co-write it with you?
        I would buy the book in a minute and I bet most of those who replied to your story would also. Most people love a good animal story.
        Hugs
        Kay

  10. Beverly says:

    What a heartwarming story Dori. The bond between Promise and Belle is amazing!! Oh by the way I LOVE the scenery surrounding your home. A little bit of heaven on earth. I hope you’ll post some photos of your beautiful home and surrounding scenery. Hugs!!!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Beverly – Thank you. Yes, I hope to write in more detail about our home and farm. We are so very thankful to live here! Thanks for reading and commenting. – Dori –

  11. cindy says:

    Great story!! I know that everybody has their own dog story, but I am going to put mine out there anyways. I have two dogs. One is a blue heeler and the other is a shih tzu. The shih tzu is scared to death of thunder. One day while we were sitting on the front porch (we live in the country) a loud clap of thunder hit overhead and it started raining. The shih tzu took off down the road. I watched and called her for a bit thinking she would turn around and come back but she did not. It was just about to get into the truck and go get her when the blue heeler took off down the road. She caught up with the little dog, barked at her a couple of times and then headed back to the house with the shih tzu following. Somehow they just know what is going on.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Cindy, – Oh, I love that story. And yes, you are right. Everyone has their own dog story – in some ways I was hesitant to write about Promise and Belle because I know there are stories out there that are just as special as ours. However, I was hoping that it would do just this… encourage others to talk about their special stories! Thank you for sharing. – Dori –

  12. Jodie says:

    Such a sweet story! Your hillside is stunning!!!

  13. Jan Sturgill says:

    What a wonderful story! I especially love the relationship that Belle and Promise have formed. Animals teaching humans about patience and encouragement…Sweet!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Jan – We could learn a lot about that unconditional love that animals have couldn’t we? As well as other things! – Dori –

  14. Emily says:

    Oh Dori, what a beautiful story of a dog and her friend, Promise. I know you all are so glad she adjusted to her new home. I love seeing both of them together. You can tell they love each other. Thank you for sharing their story.

    Take care.
    Emily

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Emily – We honestly felt we were going to lose her. It was a sad and scary time. A lot of things I didn’t write about because I didn’t have room! Thanks for reading! – Dori –

  15. Diana Henretty says:

    Hello from the Ozarks,
    Beautiful story and pictures, love your farm and your Belle.
    Have a cat named Izza-Bella on our place.
    The Ozarks are cold tonight, 35, some freezing spots!!
    Just lost our 18 yr. old Australian Sheep dog, how I miss him in every corner of our house and place, the best a friend could be!!
    Happy Fall To You All, Diana, Noel, Mo

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Diana – Oh, I’m so sorry you have lost such a faithful companion. I have never had the privilege of having a dog for 18 years. I cannot imagine how sad you must feel. (Time for a new puppy?!) – Dori –

  16. Peggy D says:

    Loved this story! We have horses, so I can relate. Now I want an Australian Shepherd, too! Also love The Red Feedsack blog and Keeping it Cozy.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Peggy – Australian Shepherds are amazing dogs (as they all are!!) – but they do love to keep busy and have a “job” to do. I think that is one of the things that Belle thrives on here at the farm… she takes care of so many things! – Dori –

      • Peggy D says:

        Yes, we have a Australian Cattle Dog/JRT mix now. She’s getting older (16), but in her younger days she always needed to be busy, working, herding horses, children, among other things. A tired dog is a good dog!

        • Dori Troutman says:

          Hi again, Peggy. I loved that: “A tired dog is a good dog”!!! SO TRUE!! – Dori –

  17. Marsha Ransom says:

    Dori, I loved reading about Promise’s transition from UT to TN! What an experience! I’m glad she got through it and can be there for your grandgirls! The picture of them with her is priceless!

  18. lyn moon says:

    What a wonderful sweet and heartfelt story. Isn’t it amazing how animals can communicate with each other. Only God could have created that.

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Lyn, I think we could learn a lot about communication from animals… oftentimes it doesn’t take “words”, just “deeds”! – Dori –

  19. donna says:

    Welcome Dori Animals are no different than people. Love your story. Great outcome. Had a doberman that attached to a cat in the same way,

  20. Betty Thompson says:

    I have loved horses since before I can remember. Never having had the opportunity to have one of my own, I was thrilled to read your lovely story about Promise. Thank you and keep us updated about her adventures.

  21. Colleen says:

    That was great reading and made my day! Thanks for writing and sharing a wonderful story. I’ve always had a special “spot” in my heart for animals. Sometimes that is not all that good but most of the the time I’m rewarded with something special. Have a wonderful Fall!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Colleen – thank you for reading! I have a soft spot for animals too. Could never live without them! – Dori –

  22. Oh Dori,
    This is the sweetest story! I was just on the edge of my seat, worrying about Promise and her outcome. Such a sweet bond between the two of them. Belle looks like a wise, sweet girl. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. Animal friendships are amazing. Farmgirl hugs, Nicole (Suburban Farmgirl Blogger)

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Nicole – You are so right… animal friendships are incredibly amazing. I watch even the deer and our cattle and sometimes I could swear they are friends! – Dori –

  23. There used to be a “whisper” button for communicating with the farmgirl without showing the post online, but I guess that is gone.

    I certainly did enjoy your article about moving to TN. I, too, was transplanted here, but it took me much longer than Promise to become native. I don’t know where you are in TN, but I’d like to. We are a family farm in southern TN, north of Huntsville, AL. We raise vegetables and strawberries, not livestock. We are on Facebook at: Dennison’s Family Farm.

    Enjoy the beautiful hills!

    • Dori Troutman says:

      Wayve, I buy strawberries from your farm stand in Fayetteville every week during strawberry season!!! I also think I sat across from you at the Farmers Market Bootcamp class last spring. I’m going to send you an email with our address so you can stop in and visit sometime! Merry Christmas to all of you at Dennison’s Family Farm! – Dori –

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