I truly believe dogs are a man’s (or woman’s) best friend. We can learn a lot from dogs – the true concepts of loyalty, living in the moment, never holding a grudge, and loving unconditionally. Our dogs, Pepper, Jake and Duke, are very important members of our family. I can’t imagine life without dogs.

If you are considering getting a dog (or cat), I encourage you to adopt from a shelter or other rescue organization. Pets in shelters are wonderful and lovable, and deserve a good home. A great resource for locating adoptable animals at animal shelters and rescue groups is at www.Petfinder.com.

Adopting from a shelter is a win-win, for pets and people! 


I enjoy showing off my ‘best friends’:

Pepper is our oldest dog. She is a 12-year-old Australian Shepard, and is truly the best dog ever. She listens very well, and makes sure our other dogs ‘stay in line’. When Pepper was younger, she enjoyed running and following my dad and brother to our other farm about a half-mile away. She also loved jumping in the box of the pick-up truck, or right in the front seat if it was cold outside, and she would be right alongside my dad when he was sorting or moving cattle.


Jake is Pepper’s son. He’s always full of energy and loves everyone.  No matter the time of day, he greets us at the front door, sometimes with a big hug! Jake is very good with young children and knows how to act so he doesn’t hurt them. A cross between an Australian Shepard and Golden Retriever, Jake is a very beautiful dog. Like his mom, Pepper, Jake follows my dad and brother to our neighboring farm. Sometimes Jake splits his time between two homes; he likes to stay overnight at the neighboring farm every now and then. A couple summers ago my dad bought an ATV. Jake rides on the seat or jumps into the back to hitch a ride in the box. He absolutely loves farm life – climbing a stack of square bales (or a manure pile), and riding in the tractor, until he sees a rabbit to chase!

Last but surely not least is Duke, a 4 year old ShihPoo. My mom swore her whole life she would never have a dog in her house – but lo and behold, guess where Duke lives now! Duke does his best to be a farm dog and rides in the tractor and pick-up. 




Kayla Degner was born and raised in rural Lytton, Iowa, on a diversified grain and livestock family farm. She currently attends Iowa State University studying Agricultural Communications.
Kayla has a strong interest in agriculture advocacy. Contact her at [email protected].