David and his loyal shadow

By Country News

A retired cattle dog keeps a retired cattle farmer company in Kyabram.

What’s her name?


How old is she?

About 9.

What breed is she?

A kelpie cross Smithfield.

Where did you get her from?

My daughter Robyn (Liverton), who now runs the family farm, has been breeding kelpies since she was young, and Judy was one of them.

How did she get the Smithfield breed in her?

One of the dogs went stray.

Right — and Judy was the outcome. Do you get a lot of people asking about her breed?

Yes, all the time. She’s just such a different dog, I reckon. Different to any other dog I’ve ever had. She’s a very friendly dog, but she’s also a complete waste of a dog.

Oh no. Why do you say that?

Well, she was only young when I left the farm and all she wants to do is work. She will always want to work when I am out at the farm — but she’s not allowed. 

How come?

Because the other dogs are working, that’s their job, Judy would just spoil it or muck them up. But if Robyn is away and I have to shift some cattle, Judy will shift them for me. She would have been a top cattle dog. She works the chooks in the backyard if they get out. 

Does Judy always fight for people’s attention?

Judy nuzzles Alexandra’s hand and places her paw on Alexandra’s knee.

Oh yes, if there are people about she just won’t leave them alone. 

Does she do what she is told?

Sometimes — but not if there are people about. I can only wonder what would happen if I got into a blue or something — whether she would look after me or not.

She would probably just ask your offender for a pat.

That’s it. 

What else does she enjoy now she is off the farm?

She demands a walk in the morning and in the evening. 

She must be good company.

Oh, she’s never away from me — wherever I go, she follows. She never leaves me once I go out the front door, she will always be behind me. She is almost a nuisance. 

You could say she is your shadow.

Absolutely. A few years ago I told her to stay home when I went out — but it wasn’t long until Valda got a phone call from the police. She had followed me up until the police station and stopped to go in and tell the police she was lost. 

You’re lucky she did. What would you do without your dog?

I would be lost. You see she is good for me because she demands her walk. I often think if I didn’t have Judy I would be sitting down not wanting to walk, saying I was too tired. She motivates me. Don’t ya Judy?

Words: Alexandra Bathman

Pictures: Holly Curtis