A Man’s Best Friend

by Sue Armstrong

A Man’s Best Friend

The Farmer said he fell in love instantly. I wasn’t so keen but a couple of weekends visiting the farm gave me a fair idea of what life could be like in the country and next thing I knew I was living in the bush.

It didn’t seem to matter that the hair got a bit unruly and long. When I was on the quad bike rounding up sheep, it felt marvellous to have the wind in my hair. I didn’t do anything really, just hung on with my toes and yelled directions at the top of my voice. The sheep took off several times in the wrong direction. The Farmer was not impressed. But the kelpies with the help of The Farmer did all the work really and I was just window dressing. But hey, if a girl lives in the country she’s got to get into the spirit of things.

The dams are a bit low at the moment and sheep get bogged in the mud. The Farmer and I pulled one out of the bog yesterday. A rope tied around the sheep’s neck did the job and out the ewe popped like a cork out of a bottle, but by then I was stuck in the mud. The fun of dodging the farmer as he tried to pull me out seemed to make him mad for some reason. I thought farmer’s had a sense of humour. He threatened to pull me out with the rope which had me struggling out of the dam pronto and to add insult to injury he threw me in the back of the ute. The BACK mind you, not the front, and then when he got to the yards he chucked me in the cattle trough.

I’ve been at the farm for many years now and still love it. I know I am a little slower than I was but I took exception when The Farmer told me he was looking at getting “a contingency dog” for when I died. Well, he says a man’s got to plan ahead. He reckons he needs one who can get into his bed more easily at night.

But, I’ve come a long way since Balmain. I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve lived a lot. When I go, I want to be buried with all my old friends. There’s Tripod the three legged cat, Bonnie the Border Collie, Elle the Kelpie and others whose names I’ve forgotten. I look forward to lying in the sun beside them in their special spot behind the shed and chasing sheep around the top paddock in my dreams.

Background: A city dog, Nikki moved to the country and after a timid beginning joined in all the farm activities, albeit sometimes a thorn in the side of the boss when her efforts scattered sheep everywhere.

Many young farmers meet their future wives in the city. Young women who are articulate, well-educated and willing to move to the country and share the special, and oftentimes hard life of living in the bush.

Apologies to those who think this comparison is wrong, but I envisaged that a dog too has big changes in their life if they move from the city to the country.



In honour of our long haired Jack Russell. A Farm Dog through & through.

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