Working Dogs

Stray pup is now part of family

By Country News

Jess Mahncke, from Picola, adores her sausage cross collie Izzy. She takes Izzy to her father-in-law's cattle farm in Nathalia almost every day. Jess came from England as a nanny and milked cows to stay.

How did you get Izzy?

I didn't want Izzy. I was driving home at four in the morning on Easter Sunday and I saw these eyes in the distance. I thought it was a fox but it was a puppy. I shook a bag of mini chocolate eggs to get her. She was riddled with fleas; I called my mum and said I didn't know what to do. My boss said no-one in the area owned a sausage dog, she was probably dumped.

What's her personality like?

She's so cute but I'm biased. She's quiet, protective and idolises my husband Stephen's dad, Bill Mahncke (Pa). She's very well behaved, there's no need for a leash and if I give her a sausage she wont eat it until I say so.

Does she listen to voice commands?

It's mostly my baby talk but with Pa it's more stern. She rounds up the animals on command. Her work clothes are her collar, she only wears them on weekdays. She follows Pa around all day when he's on the farm feeding horses. When Pa was fixing the irrigation pipes, he was digging one side, Izzy the other.

What's the best thing she's done?

She was in a car crash when Pa was driving but she was fine, she ran home. When she saw Pa again she didn't leave his side.

What's the worst thing she's done?

At our wedding she walked down the aisle with me and sat in the middle of the red carpet. Then she started eating a possum bone she found. She was so tired that night and kept sleeping on my train.Do you spend much time together?

It takes an hour to get here everyday but we don't want to leave her alone. If we leave the house I turn the TV on so she doesn't get lonely. Every time we go to bed she gets ham, she's spoilt. She sleeps on her own bed inside with a silk pillowcase and my dressing gown.

What would you do without her?

She's my family, I don't have family here. Every weekend I prioritise my time around her, I know she wants to spend time with us. I want to get a cat but I can't because I feel it will upset Izzy, she'll get jealous.