Apart from being a loyal companion, dogs on working properties are most likely there to perform work functions – to care for, to herd or to control sheep or cattle. One reference I sourced, indicated that a good working dog can be worth as much as $40,000 per annum to a farm enterprise.
The Australian National Kennel Council lists 32 breeds of working dogs in Australia.
The research I did for ‘A Baby Denied’ was focussed on the calls that handlers used to direct the dogs at work. I used these in the story for herding the sheep and for keeping the dog out of the way when the protagonists were dealing with a potentially deadly reptile.
In that same story, Meggs, Danielle’s expensive red kelpie sheep dog, is hit by a car when she tries to herd a young child off the road and out of harm’s way. The image I had of Meggs is similar to the first pic in the Australian Geographic post. (Australian readers will recognise the allusion to Jimmy Bancks’ cartoon larrikin, Ginger Meggs.) We’ll mention Meggs again when we get to V is for Veterinarian.
Kelpie, collie, blues and all –
working like a dog.
Long days with sheep and cattle.