By Terry Golson

Penny is the barn manager’s dog. There are other dogs at the barn, too. There are beds for each of them.

I’m not sure why Penny chooses which place to nap.


But I’m sure she has her reasons.


My animals are always letting me know that they don’t necessarily agree with what I think is best for them. Providing choices – even as seemingly basic as dog beds of various types and in a few places – lets them communicate with us.

Years ago, my hens let me know that they had preferences about where they prefer to have their waterer set out. I always have a water dispenser inside of the coop. In the winter, it is set on a heater so there’s good, fresh water all of the time. The hens seemed perfectly satisfied with that arrangement.


But, one summer, I set an additional waterer outside in the shade. From then on, they ignored the inside fount. Chickens would rather drink outdoors. Who knew?

You know if you give them the opportunity to tell you.

Scooter’s decisions are far more obvious than Penny’s. Where there’s warmth, there’s the little dog. These days, it’s too cold for him to hang out at the barn with me, but that’s okay. He has many good places to bide his time while he waits for me to come home.

What choices have you given your animals, and what have they told you?

6 thoughts on “Choices

  • Shaste

    The stalls in our barn all have runs attached allowing the horses to choose whether they are indoors or out even when stalled. Many of our horses choose to be outside even when (to me) the weather is terrible. Some will hide in their stalls if there is even so much as a sprinkle. Most will do their potties outside, keeping their stalls (where they are fed) clean. Choices!

    • Terry Golson Post author

      Yes! To each their own. One of the horses at my barn hates bugs so much that he stands at the gate looking miserable, asking to come in – even though he has a fly sheet, neck sheet and mask. Tonka can be right next door, and not bothered at all.

  • Rebecca Stedman

    Great story and pictures. Love seeing Scooter!
    Happy Halloween
    Pip and Caper still my wallpaper when I open my IPAD or computer. They are outfitted in their Halloween finery. Get such joy seeing them every morning!

    • Terry Golson Post author

      Amazing how two furry goats can spread joy wherever they go and to whomever they meet – even when they’re getting into trouble! It’s good to hear they still make you happy.

  • Rachael

    My chickens have indoor perches and outdoor perches. In the winter they choose to perch indoors to sleep. In the summer they choose to perch outdoors to sleep.

    Also – just want to thank you for your blog. I always get so much out of reading your thoughtful and insightful posts. And hopefully, as a result, so do my horses!

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