A fan­tas­tic farm­hand

Twelve- year- old Con­nor is the lat­est in a long line of bor­die col­lies for John and Karen Wheeler of Opos­sum Bay.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS -

John, please tell us about your his­tory with bor­der col­lies.

Our fam­ily has al­ways had bor­der col­lies as work­ing dogs on our farm at Opos­sum Bay be­cause of their high level of in­tel­li­gence.

From mem­ory, Con­nor must be the ninth bor­der col­lie we’ve had in the fam­ily. They’re just won­der­ful com­pan­ions, su­per- in­tel­li­gent, friendly, loyal and they never wan­der.

Is Con­nor much good on the farm?

When he was much younger he used to help my fa­ther herd his ducks when it was feed­ing time, un­til one of the drakes didn’t like the look of him and bit him on the bot­tom.

Af­ter that, he hung up his boots and moved into more su­per­vi­sory roles that could be done from a dis­tance. He’s great com­pany on the farm when I’m out there work­ing and he helps with the odd bit of ver­min con­trol.

Nowa­days, his main re­spon­si­bil­ity is fetch­ing the pa­per from the bot­tom of the drive­way each morn­ing be­cause he knows he gets break­fast af­ter­wards.

The only prob­lem with that is the pa­per ar­rives quite early and Con­nor likes his break­fast, so if we are still sleep­ing he’ll walk around with the news­pa­per in his mouth and bang it against our win­dow – and if that fails, he’ll thump it on the front steps un­til one of us get up to feed him.

We’re blessed with a lot of open space around here, which must be great for Con­nor. He’s a well- be­haved dog and doesn’t wan­der, so he’s got free rein of the place.

He’ll stay within the fence line of our prop­erty as long as we are there, and even when we take him walk­ing we don’t need to have him on a leash be­cause he is so obe­di­ent.

When we walk along the road and a car is com­ing we tell him to sit as it passes. Many lo­cal res­i­dents say they’re al­most be­mused, he just sits there pa­tiently un­til they drive past, then con­tin­ues walk­ing along­side us.

What’s great about hav­ing Con­nor?

He’s just a great com­pan­ion to both of us. I work away a bit so he’s fan­tas­tic com­pany for Karen. It doesn’t mat­ter what we are do­ing: as long as we’re do­ing some­thing with him, he’s happy.

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