My husband and I have had an on-going conversation recently about the animals in our life. Specifically, the horses and dogs that are just a notch above the rest. Those pets that cross the line and become part of our family. The horses that we trust with our small children and our own reliable old mounts. Those horses that we find ourselves turning to when we need to get the job done.

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And our dogs. The ones who wriggle their way into our hearts. Like this big guy. Jake is our very large Australian Shepherd who has become everyone’s favorite around here. He’s big and tough, enjoys working cattle and following us if we are horseback all day. Jake is the favorite among the kids because he will run after them on their bikes, wrestle with them in the front yard or just be their pillow when they both need a rest.

Jake has also figured out how to live happily with our cats. We often find him napping with two or three cats curled up around him. Strangely enough, he is also happy to share his food with his feline friends.

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Yep, they’re all part of my family.

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