The Four-Legged Friends Behind the Co-op’s Products: Abbey Rose of Cheshire Garden

I love shining a light on all the farmers and producers who provide a bounty of local food and locally made products to our community.  In this article, however, I move the spotlight over and down, from the business person to their four-legged friends — the working dogs, cats, and other animals who also make these local products possible.

In this article, we highlight Abbey (short for Abbey Rose), an eight-year-old golden retriever from Cheshire Garden in Winchester, NH.  Abbey provides regular comic relief to farmer Patti Powers as Patti creates preserves, mustards, and vinegars using her own organically grown heirloom berries, fruits, and herbs.

Now, back to Abbey’s role on the farm.  “Her favorite and most important job is making us laugh,” shared Patti.  “Usually by stealing something — like my kitchen towels if I’m working in the kitchen, or our pots if we’re working in the greenhouse, or a stack of berry baskets if we’re picking fruit.  She’s a natural-born comic and mischief-maker.”

In between her mischief-making, Abbey fills her day with other ‘tasks.’  Patti explained, “Abbey’s days begin with stretches, and loving rubs (and tick checks!) followed by breakfast and walks with [my husband] Ralph.  She checks the farm’s perimeter several times a day with both of us, ensuring that the old folks get some exercise and don’t miss taking some time just to enjoy being here. When the girls come to help pick berries, she follows them everywhere, often digging a hole where they’re working just to get a little more attention.”

Abbey does have a serious side. “She considers her most important job to be scaring away bunnies, chipmunks, and squirrels,” added Patti.  “But she’s not really very good at it because they’re always still here.”

While some might be perplexed by Abbey’s roles as a working dog at Cheshire Garden, Patti finds it perfectly suits her.  “We’ve had many, many dogs over the years, usually strays or rescues, who worked or hung out alongside us,” continued Patti. “ None were officially working breeds, but they all stayed by our sides as we worked and kept us company, and took us hiking or skiing to keep us fit, and made our lives richer by helping us take a little time to take deep breaths and look around and enjoy that very moment.”

How did Abbey Rose get her name? “From Abbey Road and our last female dog, Rosie,” explained Patti. “Abbey’s lucky since we’re older now and can’t work quite as hard as we once did.  She usually gets her way and gets more attention than the others. And since we know the pain of losing our friends, whose lives are too short, we’re happy to give her all the love she deserves.”

Learn more about Cheshire Garden.  Also, be sure to pick up a jar of her preserves the next time you shop at our co-op.  If you stop by Patti’s Farmstand, be sure to wave to Abbey.

Know of a farm animal I should highlight in a future article?  I’d love to hear from you! Please email me at [email protected].