RIP Sadie Dog: 2001-2009

Sadie Babcock, a chocolate lab brought to Better Farm almost a decade ago as a rescue, died Saturday. She was 8 years old.

Lana Babcock sent her husband Mike out on her birthday about seven years ago for steaks. He came back after a stop at Jefferson County Dog Control's shelter with Sadie. Steaks could wait, Mike figured. Meanwhile, Sadie—hardly the lap dog Lana talked about one day getting—quickly established herself as the darling of Better Farm.

Sadie was a really good dog. She was independent, gentle, fiercely loyal, and fearless. She took chances, and had a wonderful sense of humor.

Sadie was a fixture in Redwood; which she traversed thousands of times alongside the farm's founder Steve Caldwell's wheelchair during his cruises around town. She never left his side, often continuing to walk with him even after 12 miles and bloodied paws. She famously stood by his side one chilly March day when Steve's wheelchair got stuck in mud. She did not leave him for the 5+ hours it took for them to be found; barking intermittently to draw attention to them.

Sadie took other dogs under her wing. She had the ability to draw calm out of nervous puppies; a sense of adventure out of conservative dogs; and rambunctiousness out of pups used to fenced-in yards and docile owners. She was a wild one, too: quilled by a number of porcupines, attacked by muskrats, hit by several schoolbuses while chasing cars down Cottage Hill Road. She could disappear for hours or days, and always found her way home. She had the life other dogs envy.

Sadie passed away Saturday morning after sustaining significant injuries to her stomach and leg the evening before. The source of her wounds is unknown; but we like to think she spent her final healthy moments romping around in her usual way, stirring up the mysterious, sniffing out the unusual, and having the time of her life.

We'll miss you, Sadie. You are probably the best dog ever.

Your family at Better Farm


Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.