Working Dogs

Maggie’s part of the family

By Country News

Working as a truck driver, Tongala’s Andrew Reid loves nothing more than returning to his 30 ha hobby farm and spending time with his family and one-year-old kelpie Maggie. Maggie is the perfect family dog; she loves hanging out with Mr Reid’s three children — Jordan, 9, Mia, 6, and Lana, 3. Timid in nature, Maggie works hard to keep the cows in line, showing them who is the real boss of the paddocks.

How did she get her name?

My son and I are Collingwood supporters so we named her after the Magpies.

When did you get her?

We got her nearly two years ago for the kids when we moved out here from town. She is a pure kelpie but she has white on her chest and they don’t normally have that.

How does she get along with the family?

She is really good with the kids even when they punish her (tell her off). She’s always with them when they’re outside. My youngest one says she is her best friend and my son thinks she is his dog.

She loves being with the family and always sits on the mat at the front door. We moved the mat out of the doorway, so we didn’t have to step over her, and put down a new one — but she always comes back so she can look through the door.

How does she go with other animals?

We have two cats and her best friend is our 12-month-old ginger cat named Ninja. When she lies on the mat, Ninja lays on top of her and claws her — which she seems to like — and then chases her around.

How does she go on the farm?

She’s still learning but she’s getting a lot better. She’s a good cattle dog, especially when I get on the motorbike and put on my gumboots, she knows it’s time to get to work. She loves to travel about 100 yards in front and run around.

She makes it easier to move the cattle around but sometimes gets confused when me and my son are both giving her instructions. She’s a bit timid with the calves but she’s got a good bark and can be aggressive when she needs to be.

Has she been in any trouble?

She ate rat bait at the start of the year, a couple of days before we went away to Darwin. I noticed she was lethargic and coughed up a bit of blood and the vet said another day and she would’ve been in trouble. My parents had to look after her and give her medicine four times a day.

I also ran over her with a small tractor and feed cart when she was six months old. She was sore for a couple of days but turned out fine.

What does she like to eat?

She eats dry food and all of our kitchen scraps and eats the kids’ toast crusts in the morning. She shares the scraps with our cats but doesn’t let them get many.

What would you do without her?

I don’t know, she is part of the family and makes things easier around here.

Words and pictures:

Ash Witoslawski