Tatura cattle and sheep farmer Ross Stammers has five different properties, and his Kelpie, Smokey, who is nearly six, get plenty of work. Smokey had the basics down pat when Mr Stammers got him from his son, Joshua, but with multiple properties Smokey sometimes gets himself in trouble. The one-time 'Mr November' hasn't let his fame get ahead of his work or his loyalty. Smokey is the definition of man's best friend, something surprised his owner.
How did you become the owner of Smokey?
(When Mr Stammers was without a dog) One of my sons, Joshua, said, ‘‘You can’t have Mum chasing the sheep,’’ so he gave me one of his dogs. He hadn’t had a lot of work (at the time).
What’s his personality like?
He’s a nice-natured dog. He’s a real character. He loves being with me. For a dog I haven’t had since a pup he is one out of the box for loyalty. He wouldn’t work with anyone else now.
What’s his working ability like?
He has a lot of energy. He’s that excited to get to work that if there are no cars coming I let him off (the ute). It slows him down a bit. If I forget, I say to Julie (Ross’ wife) ‘‘Damn! I didn’t give him a run.’’
When he is in the shearing shed he always wants to be on the shearing board and wants to help out all the time. He does what we need him to do. I’m not going to say he’s super.
And I hear Smokey’s famous?
Julie: He was Mr November in the 2016 Sharman Stone calendar.
How does he get on with other animals?
No worries with that. He likes going to the shed and looking at the cats — he’ll stalk them. He wouldn’t hurt them, he just likes looking at them.
Does he love to travel?
He loves the ute and motorbike. He likes them both but I’d have to say the ute (is his favourite). He runs straight to the ute in the morning. I don’t take him into town — he gets plenty of miles on the back of the ute.
What does he eat?
He has dog pellets and a few treats from the house. Julie will say, ‘‘Give that to the dog,’’ and he thinks his Christmases have all come at once.
What would you do without him?
I don’t know. There would be a fair bit of running.
Words and pictures: Rodney Woods