With the COVID-19 outbreak and panic-buying setting in, spare a thought for Peter and Natalie Durrant trying to feed nine canines as dog food runs scarce. The couple breeds and trains kelpies on their Merino property at Bunnaloo. Natalie was given the task of answering the tough questions.
Nine dogs? Why so many?
We’ve been as high as 15, but nine is much more manageable.
We have eight kelpies — Gilly, Chewy, Fern, Tez, Jelly, Shiloh, Butch and Meg — as well as the pet golden retriever, Keira. Fifteen-year-old Gilly is officially retired, Butch and Shiloh are fully trained, Jelly and Tez are on their way to being fully trained, while Fern, Chewy and Meg are under 12 months of age and learning the ropes. Keira spends her days looking beautiful on the back verandah and swimming in the dam. Oh, and she quite enjoys a kip in the hammock.
What is their favourite food?
You guessed it, lamb. Predominantly they eat dog nuts, which caused a bit of concern when non-essential services were told to close. The ensuing panic-buying meant dog food was a little hard to source as everybody rushed to buy dog food, chook pellets, beer and other seemingly essential items.
Which one is your favourite?
It’s like trying to choose between your children! Seriously, they all have their own personalities and quirks.
Butch is top dog and struts around looking, well, Butch-like. The only thing which lets down that image is his rampant tongue-licking when you give him a pat. Shiloh is top bitch and has the arrogance to go with it, although she’s not averse to a pat (even from Natalie who she usually ignores).
Little Fern is the ADHD child who drives you up the wall, but she’s so cute you just have to forgive her. Meg is the annoying child who pokes and pokes until she is put in her place, usually by the entire pack. Jelly is the class clown, bone collector and the one who loves to try and jump on you if she can get away with it and Chewy is the laid-back dude who just wants a pat.
Do they have any annoying habits?
Keira is a sucker for a good thong. Boots no, but that flimsy piece of rubber is no match for the salivating jaws of a golden retriever. Beware the visitor who forgets to place their thongs out of reach.