Linda and Tut Doane, right, of Braintree are presented with a lifetime membership award by Dave Martin, center, president of Vermont Sheep and Goat Association on May 3. (Herald / Seth Butler)

First U.S. Shetland Sheep Farmers Receive Award


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The Doanes were the first people to bring Shetland sheep into the U.S., and have raised many kinds of sheep over the years.

Although the Doanes retired last year, and no longer have any sheep, Jane Van Landhingham, of the Vermont Sheep and Goat Association, said they have continued to be a valued resource for the community.

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“It really was clear that we needed to honor these wonderful people,” said Van Landingham. “They made it possible for so many people to have Shetlands.”

“It’s hard to explain how I feel [about receiving an award],” said Linda Doane, “because it seems rather odd to get an award for something you love doing.”

The Doanes purchased their first sheep in 1980, and in 1986, were able to bring the first Shetlands to the U.S.

“We wanted [Shetlands] for their fiber,” said Doane, “but they’re also very smart and a lot of fun!”

Dave Martin, president of the Vermont Sheep and Goat Association, presented the award to the Doanes at an intimate gathering in their living room.

Doane said that although she knows they made the right decision in retiring, she misses the sheep a lot.

“My grandfather retired when he was 72—I’m 75, so I beat him,” laughed Doane.

Tut Doane said that even without sheep on the farm, they plan to continue sharing their knowledge, and he said he hopes that they’ll be able to partner with schools to help educate students about farming. “It’s a little tricky without animals on the farm,” he said, “but I love working with high schoolers, so I think we’ll be able to figure something out.”

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