Beef farmer Charlie Brydon has been farming on his Gooram property for 10 years and has had his loyal companion Ned by his side for all that time. The 12-year-old kelpie originally came from Western Australia to Northern Victoria with his owner. Despite Ned not being the greatest worker, he makes up for it with his energy — and he spends a lot of time chasing swallows when on the farm.
Where did you get Ned from?
I got him from the South Perth pound. I was working in Perth at the time and saw this smart-looking dog in an ad in the paper. I went down to the pound on a Tuesday and I said, ‘‘could I pick him up on Friday?’’ They said, ‘‘we don’t hold dogs for anyone . . .’’ I went back on Friday and he was there. I popped him in the back of the four-wheel drive and thought he’d stay there but he then moved to the back seat, the front seat and then at my feet while I was driving and for the whole trip he did laps all the way round the car.
How did he get his name?
At the pound his name was Redmond. As a former lawyer, my mind clicked in and Redmond Barry came to mind as the judge who hanged Ned Kelly. I didn’t really like that name, so what was the alternative? Ned.
What’s his personality like?
He’s energetic, alert, a smart-alec and a larrikin. He’s quite a good watchdog. He’s also a sook. You’ll be driving along and his head will be on your shoulder out of nowhere.
He’s not a couch potato but can sleep for hours on the way to Canberra (where Mr Brydon’s wife lives and works).
What’s his working ability like?
I’d call him a friendly companion or useless farm dog. His working ability is non-existent.
Have you trained him?
I’ve tried (Mr Brydon chuckled). He obeys the basics and understands ‘sit’, ‘stay’; he doesn’t like it because it means I am going somewhere and he can’t come. He kind of understands ‘stay behind’.
His attention span is about 30 seconds to a minute and he’s off again.
What’s this habit he has involving swallows?
With his energy levels you wouldn’t know he was 12. He chases after swallows. He’ll run through the cattle, not paying much attention to them, chasing them (the birds). He’s never caught any. I think they are playing games with him.
Does he have any bad habits?
He always finds a way to lose his shire tag but he is microchipped so he can always be found.
What would you do without him?
I’d adapt and think about the next one — but he’s enough for me at the moment.