Working Dogs

Man’s Best Friend - Ange Grinter

By Madeleine Caccianiga

When Stuart Grinter opened his Kaarimba home to the then future Mrs Grinter Ange, he didn’t expect she would be bringing along a Jack Russell cross cavalier kelpie named Rodger. Now a family of five including Stuart’s two working dogs, Sargent and Dozer, the married couple run a cropping and first cross ewe farm. Ange answered the tough questions about the trio.

How do you and Rodger fit into the farm lifestyle?

Rodger tries to be a farm dog, but he is absolutely terrified of sheep. While we are out in the paddocks, he is either sitting on my feet or running behind the motorbike. He’s so funny - when we yell out “come behind” he will run with his nose to the back wheel of the motorbike. He knows that if he left and ran off, he would get in trouble, so “come behind” has got a new meaning with him, whereas the other two will run along the side or just in front.

Does Rodger get along with Sargent and Dozer?

He is best buddies with Dozer, the two of them play wrestle all the time and Rodger thinks he’s this big macho dog, but he’s really not. And Sargent is the geriatric of the family, so he mainly keeps to himself, but they all get along.

What breed are the dogs and how old are they?

Rodger is a bit of everything, his mother was a Jack Russell cross cavalier and we think his dad was a kelpie – he’s got short legs, a long body and big ears. He is five-years-old. Dozer will be two in December and is a kelpie cross huntaway and Sargent, he’s an old kelpie, he’s been here longer than me.  

What does your husband think of Rodger?

He says Rodger reminds him of the cartoon character Dumbo because his ears flap when he runs. There has also been comments about him being a mummy’s boy, which is true, but I love him and he’s my companion.  

Does Rodger have any funny habits?

He’s always entertaining and good quality. He’s quite chilled and a bit lazy. Throughout winter he will sleep in his kennel and then during summer he’ll sleep in an old tyre – so you’ll come home and there’ll be dust coming out from the tyre and this thump, thump, thump from his tail. Sometimes his belly rubs on the ground too, when he’s eaten too much.

What’s the best thing he has done?

He always lets us know if something is wrong or someone is here – he’s our own private security. He saved me from a snake once. It had come along into the yard while I was hanging out the washing and he barked and barked – saved my life.

Does he travel with you?

He loves it in the back of the ute. He sticks his head out the side and lets his ears flap in the wind.