Faithful dog knows what’s what

author avatar
Congupna dairy farmer Glenn Carmichael with Abbey.

Abbey is the ever-reliable kelpie who rounds up the herd on her own, escorts her master from the shed to the house at the end of the day, and is prone to the odd fit of howling. Glenn Carmichael runs a 200-cow dairy herd at Congupna, with the help of his four dogs and some other humans. Abbey is a 10-year-old, who lost her brother to a heart attack when he was young, and enjoys the company of Buddy, a mixed breed border collie/kelpie/shar pei cross.

Abbey is a kelpie. What’s the story with her colour?

Glenn: She’s a purebred kelpie whose mother was black and tan and the tan came through.

Abbey the kelpie at her Congupna dairy farm.

Any quirky behaviour?

When it’s cold, her teeth chatter. You’ll be walking along and hear a strange sound and you think: what the hell is that? It’s Abbey. She also howls at the moon. Sometimes I have to put me head out of the window and tell her to ‘shut up’.

What’s her role on the farm?

She’s a cattle dog on a dairy farm so she goes down the paddock and brings the cows in, usually with her mother, Milo, by themselves. Abbey will bring them up and wait at the gate for me to close it. You can get a shed through before they’ve all come up so it saves time.

Is she loyal?

After she brings the cows up she usually goes back to the house, but at night-time, about 6.30pm, she comes over to the shed and comes with me, back to the house.

Any extra-curricular activities?

She used to round up the chooks and get them into a circle, and just sit there for a while. I guess she’s just practising her herding.

Buddy is one of Abbey's friends.

Words and pictures: Geoff Adams