Invergordon’s Ian Watson made the switch from his family dairy farm to shearing 12 years ago because he was ‘‘sick of milking cows’’. He enjoys working for contractors Montgomery Shearing, and Country News caught him working with the team at Goulburn Valley Water’s north Shepparton farm. His trusted kelpie companion will help move the 8500 first cross ewes and lambs through the yards in 15 days.By Laura Griffin
What is your dog’s name and how old is she?
Her name is Jess and she’s six years old.
Did you get her as a pup?
Yes, I got her from a mate in Bairnsdale. She’s purebred.
Has she had pups?
She had her second litter — 10 pups — in mid-December. We kept one.
How would you describe her nature?
She’s got a good nature and likes to be busy. She’s a top worker. She’s definitely happiest when she’s working. She’s full-on. She’s a family pet too.
Does she respond to voice commands?
Can she cast?
She can cast, although her cast is pretty close. She is more of a yard dog than a paddock dog. She was born to back — that’s her passion. She started backing at four months.
And has she got a good bark?
Was she easy to train?
She was right there on it, and progressed. If they’ve got it, they’ve got it.
Does she ride on the bike or ute?
I don’t have a bike, but she’s always in the back of the ute.
Does she get on with other dogs?
She gets on well with most dogs, except she doesn’t like Labs or Maltese shih tzu crosses. My partner’s got two Maltese shih tzu crosses, and they clash every now and then. I think they annoy her.
Has she been in any accidents?
She nailed a fence once and we had to get her stitched up.
Does she have any quirks?
She steals the roustabouts’ lunches if they’re not quick enough.
What do you feed her?
Working dog food.
Where does she sleep?
She’s got a dog bed at the back door.
What would you do without her?
I would probably get another one, but with any luck she’ll be around for a few years yet.Pictures: Bianca Mibus
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