Working Dogs

Perfect Partners

By Country News

The kids have left home but busy dairy farmers David and Christine Poort from Katandra are not short of company, with two dogs and a cat that are great mates and regularly help to put a smile on their owners’ faces. Christine takes up the story.

Which is which?

Nikita is the German shepherd, she’s three years old, and Cracker is the border collie, she’s two.

How did you get Nikita?

I lost another shepherd, Roxy, who had died. About 18 months later when we went back into dairying the time was right to get another one. We saw an ad in the Trading Post and bought her from St Albans (in Melbourne) and she was the last in a litter of 12 and the only female.

Why that breed?

They are very loyal and protective. It’s in their nature, she’s a one-person dog. She’ll do anything for me, I’m the one who feeds her. Like today with (photographer) Simon, she wouldn’t get on the bike for David because she takes her commands from me.

Where did Cracker come from?

Again, I’d lost another dog, a border collie-cross who had kidney disease. It’s horrible losing them. We got Cracker from a breeder in Echuca and we had the pick of the litter.

How did you come up with their names?

Nikita already had her name because she was 12 weeks old so we thought we’d stick with it. As a pup we were wondering what to call Cracker and I used to say ‘‘she cracks me up’’ — and there was her name.

Is Cracker a working dog?

She tries to be but we haven’t trained her. She follows the cows up then she’s halfway up the middle of them and they’re licking her. But it’s not a big herd so we don’t really need a working dog.

So you’d class them more as companions?

For sure. They go everywhere with us on the farm and on the bikes; Cracker loves to chase birds — willie wagtails in the trees or birds on the channel banks. They come camping and horse riding with me. I also go power walking and if I go outside in my sneakers they both go berserk and get really excited because they know we’re going out walking.

How has their health been?

They had a vet check the other day and they are healthy as healthy. But they walked in the vet’s door and both wrapped around my legs — they thought there was something up.

What’s the thing you like most about them? Nikita first.

Gee I’ve never been asked that. I love how she’s right by your side all the time. She’s just my dog — I love her.

And Cracker?

Cracker’s just got character. If she could talk you’d just be amazed by what she’d say. And they are both very well behaved when we go camping and that sort of thing. I’m a proud mother.