Man’s Best Friend Earns Top Honors at AFBF’s 100th Convention

Joe Sheeran and AFBF Farm Dog of the Year, Woody. ( Purina )

Four-legged Woody saved the day when Joe Sheeran’s life flashed before his eyes. Pinned beneath a cow, he thought it was all over until his 8-month-old Australian Shepherd came to his rescue.

“She was on top of me, trying to kill me,” Sheeran explained to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). “Luckily, the little dog I told to stay right there came to the rescue. Woody got in that cow’s face and I was able to get up and walk off.

“If he wasn’t there I wouldn’t be here today.”

Woody spends much of his days on the farm herding cattle, sheep and ducks—a constant companion to Sheeran. He’s now eight years old and has a full resume of top honors in stock dog competitions around the nation.

“We’ve always had Australian Shepherds, but none like Woody,” Sheeran said. “He’s a very competitive and we’ve gone all over the country with him to stock dog trials. He’s taken it to the top and achieved about as much as you can achieve in stock dog trials.”

Now Woody has one more trophy to add: Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year. In addition to the trophy, his family received $5,000 in prize money, a basket of Purina products and a year’s worth of Purina dog food. Purina is the sponsor of this year’s prizes.

“You can’t beat an Australian Shepherd as a general farm dog,” he said. “I don’t really have to tell him a lot he understands the job and will just go do it.”

The AFBF contest awards the four runners-up with $1,000, a trophy and a basket of Purina products. This year’s runners-up include:

  • Clue, owned by Andrew and Cindy Deak of Florida
  • Shine, owned by Denny and Donna Ashcraft of Kansas
  • Finn, owned by Tim and Lisa Molinero of New Hampshire
  • Flint, owned by Rhett and Beth Crandall of Utah

Winners are selected based on their helpfulness to the famers and their family, playfulness and the role dogs play to make life better on and off the farm. To submit dogs to the contest, Farm Bureau members send in responses to a questionnaire, photos and video clips.