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Kelpies enjoy five-star treatment

By Sophie Baldwin

Bailey Brooks loves his two dogs, Bella and Rusty. The two kelpies are very much part of the day-to-day life on the Brooks family dairy farm at Strathmerton and they spend a fair bit of their day following Bailey around as he goes about his daily chores. The highlight of their day is the trip on the buggy to get the cows up, where they happily perch next to Bailey and enjoy the pleasant experience of getting the cows up from the comfort of a seat instead of running.

Tell us a bit about your dogs, Bailey.

Bella is coming up to three years old. She came from a lady in Strathmerton. She is a purebred kelpie and a really good dog when she chooses to listen.

I got Rusty for Christmas last year also from a lady in Strathmerton — he is coming up to nine months old. I think he is going to be a pretty good dog even though I haven't spent a lot of time training him yet.

Why do you have kelpies?

I like to have my own dogs because they are good company to have around and I hope to sell a few pups down the track to make a bit of extra money. We have always had dogs and Dad had blue heelers, but I wanted something different to get the cows up.

Are they very good workers?

They are good around the cows and they both hop up in the buggy next to me when I go to get the cows up. Dad doesn't really like it too much, but I treat them pretty well. Bella is the boss dog and it took her a bit to get used to Rusty, but she seems to be okay with him now. She was on heat recently and he has been annoying her a lot, but I am hoping he has got her in pup now and I will have some pups soon.

Do they know any tricks?

They know sit and get up on the bike, but that is about it. Bella is more the boss dog and Rusty listens to her sometimes.

They have a pretty fancy above-ground kennel Bailey, where did that come from?

I was at clearing sale and saw it and I said to Dad we should buy it. It cost me $35 and has been really good. I put some old carpet in there to keep them warm in winter. I lock them up every night, so I know they are safe and not running around. Bella doesn't really like going in there at night, but Rusty doesn't seem to mind.

You are only young Bailey, how do you like working on the farm?

It's pretty good. I really like looking after the calves but not the milking side so much. I am interested in beef and I have 14 Speckle Park cross heifers and a bull that I bought. I am going to join the Speckles back to Speckles. I also have two Hereford cross cows and two calves. I am slowly building up my beef herd to take over the farm because I might not be a dairy farmer.