Working Dogs

Man’s Best friend - Cody Morcombe

By Madeleine Byron

Cody and Ellen Morcombe, from Kaarimba, don't own a farm of their own, but along with dog Delta they make their presence known at the family property down the road. The two-year-old border collie travels every day to work at the Grinter cropping and sheep farm, spending time in the tractor and channeling her inner sheep dog.

What breed is Delta and how did she come into your life?Cody: She is a two-year-old border collie and my grandfather picked her out of his last litter for us. We had requested a female with a black nose so she wouldn’t get sunburned, and that puppy was Delta.

What’s her personality like? Delta is very full-on and she loves people to give her a pat — she’s a very friendly dog. But the good thing about her is she switches off when she jumps into the tractor. She’ll sit on the floor of the cabin for several hours with me while I spray the crops.

Do you spend much time together? Yeah, she comes to work with me every day, which is maybe 2km down the road to my father-in-law’s property. She helps with the sheep and follows me around all day, and if she’s not with me she’ll be mucking around with the other dogs on the farm.

How does she work with the sheep?You can’t keep her away from the sheep. Her ears go up and she gets the shakes but she’s still in training. She’s pretty good though, she’ll look back at me and follow where I’m directing her to go, and obviously the more the time she has to spend with the sheep the better she’ll be.

Does she have any funny habits?She’s pretty funny with the hose when we’re trying to water the garden, she chases it around and if I put the big sprinkler out, she’ll chase that around too.She’s also known to sun-bake in the yard on her back; you’d think she was dead but she’s just warming her belly.

Does she have any annoying habits?Well, she’s not allowed inside because we let her in once when she was pretty young and she destroyed the house, so she was banished pretty quickly. And she’s not a fan of the lawn mower, broom or shovel. She’s really got it in for the push mower, she’ll bark and get in the way to the point we have to tie her up, and if you’re shovelling dirt she’ll bite at the dirt you’re shovelling.

What would you do without her?I’d miss her. She always gives me a laugh and provides a bit of entertainment throughout the day.