Over acres of farmland in Pear River County, Ryan and Amanda Seals raise their three children, 35 goats, a few chickens, four guinea pigs and a duck that follows them everywhere across the property. All under the watchful eye of Max, their four-year-old Great Pyrenees.

“We decided to raise goats about five and a half years ago,” Amanda said. “Not long into this venture, we actually lost a baby goat one night to a coyote. It just broke the children’s hearts. We knew we had to do something about it, so we got Max, and he’s been here ever since.”

Max takes it easy during the day in the Mississippi heat, but it’s at night when he earns his keep.

“What’s neat about the Pyrenees breed is they’re considered to be nocturnal,” Amanda said. “You can pull in the driveway at night, and he’s alert, he’s looking, he’s walking around the perimeter, and he’s doing his job protecting these goats.”

Max is the second recipient of the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation Farm Dog of the Year contest, led by the State Women’s Leadership Committee. As soon as Amanda heard about the competition, she knew she had to nominate Max.

“I read the (magazine) article about the farm dog winner last year, and I thought, you know what, Max does a good job. He needs some recognition,” Amanda said.

Max alerts the Seals of all different kinds of intruders to their property. The Seals children have learned when Max starts barking, they better go see what he has cornered.

“He’s just a nice, big dog,” said Sawyer, the eldest of the three Seals children. “Every time there’s a snake or a turtle or anything that’s not supposed to be in the goat pen, he barks at it and keeps it in one place until we come see what it is.”

For Max, the farm life seems to be his dream come true. He’s got lots of land to roam, ponds to cool off in, and a loving family. Still, he has a mind of his own.

“He’s just a good natured dog,” Amanda said. “Now that does not mean he does everything I tell him. I fully believe he knows what I’m saying, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to do it.”

Although they may be a little partial, the Seals can think of no better dog for Farm Dog of the Year title.

“We think this award is so special,” Amanda said. “We’re so proud of him. It’s just really neat to have developed a bond with him and watch him grow to do what I feel like God send him here to do – protect.”

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