Working Dogs

Three get job done on rabbits

By Country News

Marcus O’Dwyer, who runs the Kialla Christmas Tree Farm with his wife Fiona and three children Joe, Bridget and Lewis, has three canine companions to keep rabbits away from the Christmas trees they grow on the Kialla West property. Mr O’Dwyer and his family got Molly, Heidi and Olivia so they didn’t have to shoot the rabbits — and while their job is the same, the personalities differ and each dog has its own quirks.

What are their personalities like?

Heidi is the boss. If Molly was any more relaxed she’d be comatose and Olivia is all bark.

Why did you decide to get the three dogs?

We have a few rabbits come into the trees and are a problem when the trees are seedlings. Instead of shooting them we decided to get some dogs to keep them out. The (German short-haired) pointers sniff out the rabbits from under the big bushy Christmas trees and Olivia (miniature Dachshund) goes and hunts them out.

In what order did you get the dogs?

We got Molly (12 years old) originally but she’s now in the geriatric stage. So, we got Heidi as an apprentice and she’s now three. My son Joe got Olivia as a birthday present and she is 12 months old.

Do they have any quirks?

Molly has a hatred for tiger snakes. She’s had a tangle with two tiger snakes in the garden and its 2-0 at this stage but she hates reptiles. If Heidi is not let out of her kennel by 6 (am) she lets you know (by barking). Olivia stands at the window and lets you know when a car pulls up.

Do they like to travel?

Yeah. They love sitting on the back of the motorbike and the back of the ute as well.

What would you do without them?

It would be a lot quieter household and we would have nowhere near as much fun.

They are much loved by the family, especially Olivia, who sleeps inside. Joe loves her (Olivia) very much.

Words and pictures:

Rodney Woods