Working Dogs

Three best mates are running the farm

By Jamieson Salter

It's a full house at the Payne family cattle farm in Strathmerton, with three best friends — Shocker the kelpie and cavaliers, Bobo and Bear — running the show. Owners, Kellie and Brendan adore their furry family and have framed photos of them decorating the house.

How did they get their names?

Shocker is Brendan's dog. When he was a puppy, Shocker came home one day and pulled clothes off the line and Brendan said ‘oh, you're a shocker'.

I got Bobo at a pet shop and was asked what to call him when registering him, and I just said Bo, the look of him suits the name.

When we got Bear I just decided to stick to the ‘B’ names, we got him from Bendigo and he was the only one in the litter. We thought we'd get a small dog, but he's 15 kg.

What are their personalities like?

Shocker wants to be the top dog but he's getting a bit old now. When Bo and Bear go on the tractor, he wants to be a part of it. He can't jump up anymore so you have to lift him.

Bo is an old soul, so many people thought he was so much older when he was a puppy. He's the best snorer, we're so used to it — we can't even hear it.

Bear lives up to his name because he climbs trees up to 15 feet off the ground, it's like he's a cat.

Do they like the farm?

They love the farm, they wouldn't survive suburbia.

Bear thinks he's a kelpie and one day we watched Brendan bring in a few sheep and Bear went and got one sheep left behind, whereas the other dogs were just walking.

Bobo and Bear always eat cow poo and roll around in it and they all get into afterbirth — which is just disgusting.

What do they eat?

Bear is allergic to lamb, chicken and beef which makes it pretty hard so they have a lot of turkey, duck and kangaroo.

What would you do without them?

I always say Bo was my first cavalier and he got me through tough times years ago. If something happens to him — which it will because he's got heart problems and syringomyelia — it will tear me apart.