May 2, 2022

Meet the M5 Dogs!

Meet the M5 Dogs!


I can always count on Dixie to be right behind, beside, or below me no matter where I go all day. She’s in the feed truck as soon as I crack that squeaky old Dodge door, she’s under my desk sleeping on a sheep pelt at the farm store. When she hears the jingle of my keys, she’s out the back door before I jump into my rig. She sleeps on the cushion of my old broken-in chair next to the fire with me at night until I get up to go to bed…. then she plops in my sock basket in my closet to settle in for the night.

I got her right after we moved here, when moving to the ranch meant we could get any animals we wanted! 🙂 I plucked Dixie up from a Craigslist ad apartment complex before Brian could even say the word “well…”

She was teeny tiny when I got her. The mother was a Yorkie and the owners claimed bred an all white Jack Russel. We were still moving out of our old house and she’d ride on my lap on the long drives to and from the Bay Area.

She tolerates most others, does not love little kids, and only lets Tess pick her up without a little growl… when I’m giving her the ‘don’t be mean!’ eyes. She’s fiercely loyal and thinks she can protect me from a 300 pound pig. She’s never forgotten the one that went after me while I was moving piglets and she gets between me and any momma pig now.

I’m her person. They say that’s the difference with humans and dogs. Humans usually can love and are loyal to a lot of people – but dogs might only have that one person. I’m lucky you picked me for that person, Dixie girl!

Beau & Bitsy

We got Beau first, shortly after we moved to the ranch – from a young girl who raised him as a pup for 4H. Bitsy was born on a farm in North Carolina and we got her right around Christmas about 4 years ago.

They are both Great Pyrenees (known also as livestock guardian dogs) and a fascinating breed. They patrol all night and would kill to protect the girls and much of our livestock… but they are big teddy bears and love their owners well. Tess climbs all over both of them and they don’t bat an eye.

Beau is five years older and the bigger male, but sometimes Bitsy has the alpha personality… she claims a food bowl first and no one is touching it!

They’ll stay at camp if we have guests and sleep outside their tent or come home and patrol the perimeter of our house all night, keeping an ear on the pastures. We’ve had tracker collars on them, and they’ll go miles into the mountains on the ranch and beyond. They also like to wander off the ranch to neighbors and sometimes as far as town!

It’s the hardest part about the breed without very tight fence lines surrounding the whole property (near impossible) but they are worth it and we are so lucky for what each of them bring to the ranch.


JJ picked out this sweet little grey faced Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland mix male for her birthday at the beginning of the year. JJ brought her best buds, Miles and Tinley, to help her choose her puppy and they all decided to name him MILO!

He eats like a bear and is always growing so fast. He is so mellow… unless there is a strange car or a howling in the pasture – then watch out!

The comments +

  1. NORMA says:

    I so enjoy following all the M5 doings. I have been to Fort Jones and Etna and it’s beautiful country. Thank you for sharing not only your success with your ranch but also for sharing your family.

    • Mary Heffernan says:

      aw, so fun! It is so beautiful here in the valley surrounded by mountains. Glad you were able to visit, Norma 🙂

  2. Cindy Hess says:

    Hi there Mary #1, your Dixie story runs deep ..And, since I have been following you all since day one (or there about) I , too, enjoyed riding shot gun with her every change I could. She is and was that “one” . you know that old question: who saved who? In this case, Dixie saved us, in story and a life well lived and loved. All the best out there to you and your hard working crew. -Cindy
    Crownsville Maryland

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