It was with trepidation that I listened to Jill whine. The tone wasn’t familiar. My half-sister usually fluctuated between the high pitched barking of a demanding female, ‘look at me’ or the more nasal, whimpering, ‘give me some’. Either way I’d grown used to her ways, but last week it was different. Jill sounded scared, and with good reason… the babies were coming. It happened late in the evening. Jill took off and settled herself under an old rain water tank and promptly delivered three pups, then she ran away, startled by the shock of them, no doubt. I edged nervously towards the mewling animals, one eye closed, ready to regret my brief bonding session with the orange fluff-ball from down the road. But it was dark and in spite of my misgivings I edged closer. I had to see who the father was. There was no doubt that if Jill had fallen prey to Roger there was no chance of a happy ending. This would be our Romeo and Juliet saga, without the dramatic death scene! Their off-spring would undoubtedly be sold. I’d heard Nicole talking on the phone to the local vet and it seemed there was an interest in pups of mixed breeding (isn’t that saying it politely). At best the newest additions to the property could expect a couple of months with their mother before being whisked away to new owners.

20140525_173912But to my amazement the pups looked like kelpies. I nudged one on its back and it rolled over awkwardly. Yep, definitely kelpies, although the smallest one was a smoky colour. So engrossed had I been studying the little fellows I didn’t hear Nicole and David.

‘They’re kelpies,’ David stated, squatting beside me.

‘Jack?’ Nicole queried.

I barked in defence, ‘It wasn’t me, honest.’

Nicole looked unimpressed.

‘It could have been that sheep dog from down the road,’ David suggested.

‘Definitely the sheep dog,’ I barked.

‘At least it wasn’t the fluff-ball,’ Nicole commented.

‘I’m with you on that,’ David agreed.

I was starting to feel sorry for Roger!

20140526_073049The two-leggeds picked up the puppies and carried them back to the house. Jill was already there having giving birth to another three in the time we’d been away. Two were still-born. I must admit when I saw their little bodies I shed a tear, that was until Jill lay down on her side and began to feed her four children.

‘Really,’ I said to her, ‘breast-feeding, in public.’ I haven’t lived a secluded life but there is only so much a dog can be witness to in one night. Jill didn’t answer, actually she looked a bit tired. Since then it’s all been about regular feeds and grooming and plaintive cries when Jill leaves the ‘nest’. In the interim, I’ve moved my swag to another kennel that’s a bit further away. It’s not that I don’t like puppies, it’s just that, well they’re not very interesting at the moment. It might be different when they get a bit older. In the meantime was I glad we were branding cattle last week.