Working Dogs

Mates you just can’t do without

By Country News

When Don Sofra roams around his Wunghnu farm, it’s often with threeyear-old German shorthaired pointer Elektra and five-year-old kelpie Dog by his side. The loyal pooches, who can be found splashing around in water during the warmer months, are determined to be involved in every aspect of the farm, their owner says. The latest in a long line of much-loved farm dogs for Mr Sofra’s family, he says life on the farm is hard to imagine without them.

Tell me a little about your dogs. How did they get their names?

Well, Elektra was already named when we got her at 16 weeks. And with Dog, I couldn’t really come up with a name. I liked Dog off Footrot Flats and a mate suggested it and I thought ‘oh, yeah’.

Do they listen to you much?

They do come when you call them, normally they’re all right but in the paddock they get a bit distracted.

Are they helpful at all on the farm?

Dog doesn’t do a hell of a lot but he’s good. And Elektra is meant to be a hunting dog but thinks she’s a cattledog so she normally gets in the way. Some days she’s not very helpful.

They like the water, he goes in the water trough and she’ll go in after him or into the channel if there’s water. We don’t do a lot of cattle work which is why he’s as fat as he is.

What do they eat normally?

Dog only gets pellets, believe it or not. I’m not sure what he gets into at night, I’m not sure if he’s got a stash of something somewhere because he keeps very well considering we’ve been trying to cut his food back.

Doesn’t really look like it’s working.

It’s not working, no!

Have they got any favourite foods?

They get into chicken frames and they both love that.

How are they behaved generally?

These two are pretty good. We’ve had some other dogs that have done some silly things but these two are pretty well behaved. They’re good.

Do they tend to follow you around?

When you drive out the gate they stay behind if you don’t take them. But if you do leave them behind to go out to the paddock they hear your voice and hear you moving the cattle and they’ll cut across the paddock so you just take them with you, there’s no point leaving them behind. Usually if I go off in the truck he’ll sit on the bridge and when you come back he’s still sitting there.

What would you do without them?

Oh, you’d be lost without them, wouldn’t you? They’re your mates.

Words and pictures:

Alana Christensen