Matilda waltzed into Rosalie’s heart

By Jamie Salter

Rosalie Yule and her blue heeler Matilda have been inseparable for the past seven years, spending their days together on a Lockington farm. The name Matilda was given to the Australian cattle dog to reflect the popular song Waltzing Matilda.

How did you get Matilda?

She was advertised in the paper and I was looking for a heeler for a long time. She was about nine weeks old when I got her. I come from a country family and we've always found heelers are such loyal dogs.

Does she have any funny habits?

She talks on the phone. My daughter will ring from Bendigo and I put her on speaker, she knows her voice and barks back to her.

If my hands are full of groceries, she puts her paw in an opening and opens the door for me, that's pretty handy.

Does she travel with you?

We go to Bendigo in the car and she knows the McDonald's golden arches — she loves getting a soft serve.

What's the worst thing she's done?

She used to roam the farm alone and then she disappeared one day at four years old during summer, and I was thinking she had been bitten by a snake. The next day someone had spotted her quite a distance from home. She doesn’t roam the farm alone anymore, I often joke she's under house arrest. She comes for walks with me to do jobs around the farm like feeding the chooks or to get wood.

Is she well-behaved?

Until she was about two years old she was a whirlwind, she used to chew cords off and was really hard work.

She never went to puppy school but I can tell her to stay and if I go down the paddock for half-an-hour and come back, she’ll still be there.

Does she get along with other animals?

I’ve got three cats here and she’s lovely with them. Two feral cats were found in the workshop, their mother was dead and I took them in.

What would you do without her?

I hate the thought of it, I dread the day when I haven’t got her. I appreciate every day I spend with her.