Smelly, but good to chew on.
It was four years ago now and I was happily playing in the yard at a Goondiwindi station with my brother and sister puppies (all red cattle dogs) when a ute pulled up at the homestead. The bloke from the ute chattered with the lady who owned the station then suddenly she grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and handed me to him, the bloke gave me a few pats then we jumped into his vehicle and off we went. This was the start of my new life with a fellow named Steve, a friendly sort of bloke who gave me plenty of food which I didn't even have to fight for. I soon had a collar fitted around my neck and a rope attached, this stopped me running around collecting stuff and digging holes everywhere. Steve decided to call me Sass, I liked that name,it sounded pretty flash. We went everywhere together and I soon realised it was my job to stay with Steve all the time and as well guard the ute when he disappeared into shops to pick up our food supplies. At this stage I was about three months old and had really sharp puppy teeth and needed to chew on things so when Steve left me in the ute alone I'd get to work and chew up anything laying about, especially phone chargers. The stormy looks directed my way when he returned were a bit frightening and the words far from friendly. When this happened I moved right over near the door in case all this ill feeling turned into something more aggressive and sit there quietly and put my best 'no body loves me look'. Steve would soon give me a pat and all would be well again. I worked out this is called 'man management', something to learn early in life if your going to survive. More rugby, greatLearning to 'stay there'Guarding the ute was fun and people passing by often stopped and looked in the window saying, look at the puppy, isn't she cute. Firstly I thought this was sort of nice but soon became sick of it so I'd pretend to be friendly and wait until they were really close to the window then suddenly launch an attack snapping and snarling showing them my sharp little teeth. The looks on their faces was priceless, silly grins vanished to be replaced by looks of shock and dismay as they hurried off, I loved doing that. Puppy days were pretty good fun but unfortunately the learning curve was fairly steep. Having realised I had to stick around and not stroll off following all the wonderful ground smells I spent less time on the rope, or chain now as the ropes were to easy to chew through. When Steve said 'stay there' and then disappear I used to worry something would happen to him and I'd never be fed again. Trying to be patient sitting there watching the spot I saw him last without becoming distracted was difficult. The boundary at that stage seemed to be the ropes going from the ground to the tent fly. On one occasion to fill in time while he was away I chewed through a couple of ropes then suddenly the house fell over. Just then Steve came around the corner so I rushed out to meet him wagging my tail as hard as I could go. Then he saw the damage I'd caused, dear oh dear the look on his face and the bad language, and wicked remarks directed at me was too much so I headed for the ute and took cover behind the front wheel and peeped out. Soon the house was up again and the dark looks had softened slightly so I crawled over to him and nudged his leg with my nose looking up trying to catch his eye and putting on my best friendly grin. He looked down mumbling something about red pups and never ever again then finally everything was back to normal again.
Me taking Steve for a walk at Winton.Guess what's for dinner.The bigger they are the harder they fall. Life at this stage seemed to broken into three phases, the fun times playing with Steve and prowling along river banks together, blissful sleeps in the sun and thirdly the major stuff-ups, such as when I launched myself at a lady passing by and latched onto her sarong which became stuck in my teeth and caused all sorts of embarrassing moments for Steve trying to get me untangled from the screaming semi-naked person. Another time was when I left the camp and tracked Steve down through the park to a toilet block and snuck in the door only to be yelled and and threatened to be severely kicked by some old codger but I couldn't get out because the door had clicked shut. Luckily Steve appeared from the shower coming to my defence telling the old bloke that if he kicked the pup he would get a thorough kicking as well. Next thing Steve slipped his fingers beneath my collar and I was marched home to the camp with my back legs peddling but only getting a toe hold every couple of yards, then on the chain I went with severe threats regarding my life if I didn't stay at the camp when told to.
Me, showing off down near the big smoke.Me and Steve, Melbourne Cup day WA.More cattle work today. I remember one day I was nearly put in the nick, it all started after a long road trip and Steve pulled up in town outside the store with the big W to gather more food. As always, the doors weren't locked and the windows were left down and I was in charge. The trouble was that I was busting for a wee so I hoped out the window and found a nice spot then went back to jump in again but I couldn't leap high enough and each time fell down flat on my back. I thought, I could be in a spot of bother here, I can't get back in the ute to guard it so I'd better find Steve so he knows I'm not doing my job. I took off and crossed the road and was tooted and yelled at by cars going way to fast but made it to the front doors. Looking through the doors I could see the building was huge with row after row of yummy food stacked from the floor to the ceiling. I had no idea where to go so I followed the best smelling lane where the meat and the bones were stacked on shelf after shelf just waiting to be eaten. Lots of people were pointing at me and laughing saying, look at the dog. I searched for Steve everywhere and turned down the second lane but there was no sign of him. By now everybody had stopped shopping and I was the main attraction then two people dressed in blue started to chase me. I legged it as fast as I could down the next lane running smack bang into a lady with a pram who started to scream. I looked ahead and one of the blue people was blocking my path but I easily swerved past them and turned down the next lane but loosing it on the corner and skidded straight into a stack of tins that fell on me and all over the place. This was getting pretty scary and for Gods sake I thought where the hell was Steve hiding. The blue people made another grab at me and some of the children had joined the chase as well. This was getting really dangerous and as I turned the last corner people were blocking my way but there was a small gap next to where the butter was kept so I dived through there and went flat strap towards the front of the shop. I put my claws out for extra grip to take the corner and lost it skidding straight into a pile of empty boxes. I couldn't work out why some people were laughing and having fun while others chased me down yelling abuse at me. Finally I made it to the doors and escaped, I shot over the road heading for the ute still going flat out and made an almighty leap at the window just managing to get my paws over the edge. I peddled like made with my back legs and finally made it. Safe at last as I looked back to see if they were still chasing me but they must have given up. Then I spotted Steve coming out of the door where the beer and wine was kept, hell, why didn't I look in there. Soon he was loading gear in the back and I was still panting after all the running about and he gave me a drink saying what a good little red dog I'd been. I put my best grin on and gave him a lick thinking, if he really knew what I'd been up to the friendly pat would have turned into a good scruffing.
Pretending to be a dingoMe, at Victoria River NT.Hey, look at me.Looking for possums. Life on the road attending shows was fun as we only worked two days a week, generally Friday and Saturday, the rest of the time we just played around until it was show time again. By now we were in the NT at Alice Springs, this is where I was attacked by a pack of dogs that suddenly appeared from a dry river bed called the Fink. The dogs looked really skinny and had patches of hair missing and torn ears, two of them had stumpy tails the same as my mother. They were the biggest mongrel looking dogs in Australia barking like mad and heading straight towards me so I bolted towards a big old river gum growing straight out from the bank of the river and ran up the trunk and turned to face them so I'd only have to fight one at a time. Luckily they stopped at the base and Steve came over laughing at me and yelling at the mongrels to shoot through, with lots of rude words mixed in of course. When the coast was clear I climbed down and we went back to our camp on the show ground which was close by the dog competition arena. The dogs hear are very posh and always have their hair done properly and are walked about on leads and even have their poo picked up in plastic bags. Steve said red cattle dogs from stations don't need that sort of special attention, especially the last bit.
This is what I do when Steve is workingChecking the dingo fence, Cameron Corner