Muffin tops. They are not a good look. My half-sister Jill seems to have been eating a lot recently and she’s grown really quickly … outwards. From behind she’s got a bit of a swagger and I can see her tummy poking out either side. Jill has always been a ferreter of food. Even out in the paddock mustering she can’t contain herself. One minute she’ll be by my side, the next those short legs of hers are going like the road-runner’s in the opposite direction to the mob. Recently we were giving chase to a wily heifer along the creek. Well that beast was a cantankerous lass, side-stepping stumps and logs, ducking through the belah trees. I can tell you that it took some smart manouvering to get that heifer away from the banks of the creek and out of the scrub. Eventually we had her heading in the direction of the main mob of cattle when all of a sudden, Jill vanished.

dog2Don’t worry, I managed to get that animal back with the others. As for Jill, well she’d sniffed out a bird’s nest which had been blown from a tree in a windstorm. Having quickly gobbled up the tiny cracked eggs, she finished her snack with a mouthful of natural herbage.

‘What’s going on Jill?’

She licked her upper lip and turned away, ‘I was hungry’.

‘You’re always hungry,’ I chastised, ‘there’s a time for eating and a time for work, you know that.’

‘I can’t help it.’

‘Are you aiming to have your rations cut? Because if you keep eating, you’ll only get fatter and fat dogs can’t work.’ Well of course that made her cry. Trust a female to turn on the waterworks when the questioning gets tough. In response I suggested we head home, so we trotted through the bush and eventually we heard Nicole whistling. She picked us up in the ute but I knew that wouldn’t be the end of it. Jill was still sulking and the boss didn’t look very impressed.

So it was that night that I waited anxiously for David to return home. Nicole greeted him at the back door.

‘I’ve got bad news,’ she said calmly. ‘It’s about one of the dogs.’

I shuddered to hear what was coming next. Perhaps they were going to sell Jill. She’d been a bit of a none-performer the last few weeks and was eating us out of house and home.

‘What is it?’ David asked, ‘don’t tell me one of them had an accident out mustering?’

‘No, it’s worse. Jill’s with child.’


‘She’s in pup.’ Nicole confirmed.

‘Damn, who’s the father?’

Nicole shook her head, ‘I have no idea.’

Well I couldn’t believe it. I lay down on the back path and put my paws over my eyes. OMG, the shame of it. My own half-sister. What had she done?

David opened a beer, ‘It could have been Roger’, he suggested to Nicole.

ROGER. My eyes sprung open. ROGER. That orange piece of house-dog fluff from down the road. I thought of my unsuspecting half-sister and the canny Roger with his kennel-eyes and silky hair. I let out a low growl. A vision of Roger, skinned and being rotated above a fire filled my head.

‘Where are you going?’ Jill asked me. She’d been hiding under the house and she slunk out from underneath it.

‘Where am I going?’ I repeated, ‘to pick a fight’.

………….. To be continued.