Red dog- The dog with a 1000 lives!


This particular evenin we all took off to Warren to go shootin pigs and as we were flyin across a paddock Red dog was hangin out the window as she usually did and we hit a tree stump that was hidden in the grass sendin the vehicle skywards the bloke drivin obviously didn't see it the vehicle come very close to rollin over and on the tilt Red dog fell out the window and no one really seen it happen as the vehicle veered off she went straight under the back wheels i think?

After we pulled up she was cryin in pain and was limpin back to the car in the pitch black i picked her up in the spot light the closer she got the less she limped she had a bit of bark missin off her face and a sore leg/ paw i checked the color of her gums for shock looked her over in-case she had internal injuries besides that she was ok the vehicle on the other hand was not as the impact pushed the front diff back rippin all the springs from their hangers the owner wasn't to happy at all obviously, we were about 10 km out in the back blocks in the pitch black so carryin a hand held spot light and takin it in turns carrin a bloody 650 cca battery we walked back to the main road and hitched it back to town, that was Red dogs first life used up.  

                                                                                           Red dog's second life

When i was living in far north qld in a small tin mining town called Irvinebank, we were all sitting out the back havin a BBQ and a few home brews and old Red dog was cleanin up the bones where i was livin it was very rare vehicles drove by there was very little to no activity on the old dirt track on the outskirts of town that was known locally as "madsville"

Our neighbours were some distance away and from time to time their chooks free ranging would wander all the way up near our shack Red dog would instinctively bail em all up and push em up the top of the block and keep an eye on em when we had chooks and on the day this is what she done, her aim was to get em up the back even though they were not our chooks.

For a dog with exceptional intelligence she had little to no road sense at all and was a real goose when it come to traffic as she was not used to it she took off like a shot after the chooks right down the end of the drive way on the other side of the track we were all havin such a good time we didn't take to much notice at all next thing i heard the scrabbling of tyres on the dirt it was heavy breakin Red dog had ran straight out under a Toyota landcruiser that was traveling around 80 Kph I jumped up and ran down the drive as quick as i could expecting the worse.

The vehicle stopped i knew the bloke just cant remember who it was now? anyway Red dog was nowhere to be seen I didn't want to look under the vehicle as i had these visions of her all wrapped around the tail shaft after about a minute of sheer panic I heard some movement in the long grass it was Red dog!! she had a slight limp and a swathe of fur about 100 mm wide right down her back was missin and her ear was bleedin, what had happened is the tattered jaggered old number plate affixed to the bottom rail of the bull bar had taken all the fur off her back in some parts where it hit the vertebra it was bleedin but thank god she was alright, after some time the fur grew back a darker color to the rest of her chocolate brown coat and she was nick named "Pepe Le- pew" as she looked like a skunk!! so ......... that was Red dogs second life gone.


                                                                                                   The trip home

Pete the Red dog and I were headin back home after a week from one of our favorite secret barra fishin spots on the west coast of Cape york with the freezer full of Barra fillets, it had been a very hot rough n dusty trip I remember sayin to Pete "I can't remember the corrugations ever bein worse than this trip" it didn't matter what speed ya sat on it shook the land cruiser which felt like to pieces as sometimes ya can sit on a set speed and can sometimes iron them out accordin to the distance apart they are, anyway we were all pretty burnt out so decided to rest up a while in Cooktown.

We had just left the car park where the jetty is at the bottom of the main drag in restin up for an hour or two as we had to get home that night as we had commitments the followin day we headed up the main street dusty and dirty and the last leg of the journey couldn't happen quick enough.

It was around 2am in the mornin as we headed south and at that time of the mornin the temp was still around 30c and very humid all the windows were fully down except the two rear ones were half way to try and keep cool and after hundreds of kilometers of dust and heat we just couldn't seem to get any comfort from it.

Red dog was in her one and only position in the vehicle and that was between the two bucket seats in the front, she stood on a large custom made console with her two front paws and stretched her back legs out onto the back seat that way she could see out the windscreen and look for roos, cattle etc in the spotlights if anything was picked up in the lights she would literally tap dance on the lid of the console with excitement as we drew closer and closer, as we passed she would jump into the back seat and run to whatever side rear window she spotted the animal as we passed it and jump up and rest her two front paws on the top of the door and push her chest against the window for balance and stick her head out the window whist still doin the tap dance.

On this particular night I was sittin on around 110 kph when the spotlights picked up a mob of cattle crossin the road up ahead about 600m as there a fair bit of un- fenced stock in the area, Red had already picked up on it and went into the "Red dog shuffle" as I got closer i slowed down in case any stragglers walked out from behind a tree at the last second.

As we passed and I slowly started regaining my original speed i had reached about 100Kph and I heard a scrabbling sound of claws commin from the back sometimes Red would get that excited her claws would slip on the top of the door but this time it sounded different? even before I could think the worse Pete yelled "Red's gone out the fkn window" this put a horrible chill down my spine knowin the speed we were travelin at and the road bein bitumen I slammed the brakes on nearly sendin Pete through the windscreen as he was not wearin a seat belt.

I really thought this was the last time I would see Red as there is no way she could of survived that fall at that speed as she went face first out the window no doubt, I just wanted to keep drivin and pretend it never happened, i hooked a U turn and headed back in her direction expectin the worse we kept drivin and said to Pete "we have gone to far it's gotta be back that way where she went out pointin south" it was agonizing not knowin where she was I drove back and forth which seemed like hours tryin to get some sort of mental reference as to where she fell we had now been lookin for her for around 20 minutes or so and I knew as each minute passed there was less and less chance of findin her in one piece and alive and there was no way i was headin home without her dead or alive.

I drove back to look for my skid marks and once again try and get a reference, I couldn't think straight so I sat for awhile to collect my thoughts and try and nut it out then it occurred to me maybe she was knocked out? regained consciousness and was that dazed she either headed off into the scrub East or West or along the road in the opposite direction not knowin where we were as it was pitch black? so at that time i had no other ideas so decided we just head in the direction it happened and keep drivin after I put my 20 ltr water container on the side off the road as a marker.

After 5Km or so 8 i picked up on some movement 100m ahead then i seen the eye reflection in the spotlights I knew it was Red dog as I had seen that a million times before, she was headin in the opposite direction as we approached she knew it was us by the sound of the vehicle and ya could see a half hearted effort at a tail wag i immediately thought "well that's one part not broken"

We pulled up and I couldn't get outta the car fast enough once again she had survived yet another potentially fatal accident, she had a deep gash above her right eye that needed stitchin it was pretty deep, one on the back of her head, she tore three of her pads off and took all the skin off her elbows and pulled pretty much every muscle and tendon in her body she was in a bit of pain that was obvious but nothin life threatening and she was so happy to see me and I her,I picked her up and carried her over to the back door to load her in the back when ........................... I noticed both the back windows were all the way down!!! I hadn't noticed it before or after the event as that was the last thing on my mind.

I called Pete over and said "who wound the windows all the way down when I have told ya a thousand times not to?" he simply responded "I forgot" has anyone ever had that feelin where you can envisage yaself grabbin an individual by the throat and crushin their larynx cuttin off their oxygen supply and watchin em slowly pass away? yeah me either :-) but it did cross my mind briefly.

I couldn't believe Pete had been so bloody stupid as to of opened up the windows all the way down, poor old Red dog's eyesight at night is a lot better than ours but being a window and in the pitch black and the excitement and anticipating the window as it always is (half up)all these chain of events nearly lead to her death.

Anyway after nearly throttlin Pete on the side of the road i wrapped the poor old wounded Red dog up in her favourite blanket and headed for home, when I arrived home she would not get outta the back as she was to sore it had all set in now so i carried her to her bed (she had her own bed just like you and I) where she remained for a couple of days her eye healed very quickly and she was fine and back to her old self in no time totally oblivious to the fact she had used up yet another life!!  



An old pic of Red dog when she was around 12 months old, her nose used to burn badly when she was young (note the zinc cream) this pic (above) the first time she had ever seen a yabby she was super inquisitive. 

Another pic of her with one of the few Pythons that free ranged around the house up north, it didn't matter how many times she seen them as each time was a new experience to her, the spotted python was no worries as well as the Black headed python and Carpet python (that was nowhere near as ugly as the carpet in the pic above) it was the 9ft Amethestine python that lived under the fridge that didn't see eye to eye with her, many a time late at night in the dark ya would hear a yelp come from the lounge where she had received yet another nip on the nose!! it was a real worry as there were a lot of Taipan's in the area and like me snakes simply didn't phase her.

                                                                                                    Dog napped!!!

Around 15 years ago I lived in a small town of Mt Edgerton (thankfully for not to long) I was in the process of movin into a new place and really did not want to be there on the day I had travelled to Ballarat to buy some new furniture and of course Red dog was with me browsing around the tacky over priced rubbish in Ballarat I decided to buy the Tradin post and have a flick through there where I found a good deal on the out skirts of town.

I arrived at the blokes house and loaded the furniture in my ute headed home quite happy with my new purchase old Red dog loved it as she rode in comfort in the lounge chair in the back of the ute I could see her in the rear view mirror thinkin she was real flash.

Upon arrivin back to the new house I was pretty tired after the drive so went inside for a beer before I unloaded the ute, I was sittin on the balcony and Red dog was out in the paddock playin with one of our goats after about an hour or so I decided Im not gettin anythin done so started unloadin.

It took me a few minutes to unload by this time time was movin on and the temperature was droppin quickly so I whistled Red dog to come inside, standin there becomin impatient as she was never out of ears shot of me from an early age as she had been trained that way I yelled "HURRY UP AIN'T GOT ALL NIGHT" I thought it was very unusual she didn't come?

I started lookin around the property for her I began to think she was stuck under the house being a transportable type and low slung there was all sorts of rubbish and crap under there from the previous owners with a torch I couldn't see a thing so I started crawlin under there with all the spiders lookin for her and thought to my self I can get her to bark and save the crawl so I yelled "CATS RED DOG" there was no reply?

By this time I was startin to panic and knowin what her road sense was like I unwillingly scoured the road side 1 km to the South then to the North she had simply just disappeared off the face of the earth? 

This is when I started to think someone has knocked her off as it is all sheep country out there maybe a cocky was drivin past and spotted her and threw her in the back of the ute as she is the sort of dog that would just go if it involved a ride in the back of the ute.

Now convinced she had been "dog napped" I had to think quickly as time is now my enemy the longer it took to find her the less chance I had of gettin her back, at this stage of her life her teeth were worn down from a bad habit of pickin up rocks and like most Kelpies she was a ball freak! she had not been doin much for the past 3-4 months so her nails were in need of a clippin and her pads were soft and coat shiny.

I had a good talk to the bloke across the road who just so happened to breed Red Kelpies and had 2 of em on the property I had not noticed before but not bein one to jump to conclusions I let it ride and kept a close eye on him thinkin it could be a mate of his that knocked off my Red dog, his comment was she has probably run off bein new surroundins and house etc I knew this was not the case.

I went inside and quickly made up some "flyers" on the computer that read ........ Lost Red Kelpie bitch, this dog is in urgent need of her medicine for a congenital heart condition and will not last long without her medication THIS DOG IS NOT A STOCK MOLESTER.

REWARD please phone blah blah I went to every shop within a 20km radius and asked for them to be displayed in the front window.

Red dog did not have any health problems I put that in there in case who ever knocked her off would read it and hopefully just dump her somewhere where she would find her way home eventually thinkin she would be no good as a workin dog nor for breedin.

I then drove to all the surroundin sheep properties and sat at the bottom of their driveways and watched the property for any sign of her also a tactic to hopefully make the dog napper think I was on to em and watchin em and hopefully give her back.

After goin through nearly 2 tanks of fuel I headed back drivin all over the area I was not familiar with when I arrived home it was roughly 11pm I went inside and grabbed a beer and one beer turned into a carton I was crushed and pretty depressed as I really thought she was gone for good this time.

The followin day I woke up at about 6am and felt like I was recoverin from an autopsy, my head felt like it was a block of Australian hard wood, I cracked a couple of Panadol skulled about a litre of ice water and set off in the ute again lookin around the backblocks for Red dog, more long hours of drivin hopin the early mornin still thin air would carry the exhaust noise far as the ute had a distinctive note with the duel exhaust and 350 Chevy vortec engine Red dog would hear it from miles away and hopefully make a dash for it to freedom!!

Another day had come to an end with no sign of her and I was worn out and felt sick thinkin i would never see her again I grabbed another beer and fired up the heater thinkin she is out there close by it's as if ya could almost see her in a shed somewhere tied up somethin she would hate as she had never been tied up her whole life.

It was around 1:30am I woke up in front of the fire it was a dead still quite early morning and I felt crook so just sat there quietly in the dark tryin to work out where she could be and what had happened to her.

I heard a car door close and a car accelerate off quickly but I did not hear a thing when it had pulled up it was if it rolled up with the engine off? I jumped up and looked out the front and the car was gone there was nothin but pitch black darkness, I walked back in and sat down and almost as I hit the chair I heard the most beautiful sound I had ever heard ..... it was Red dogs (un clipped) nails tappin along the veranda chink chink chink I knew it was her it was a very distinctive noise and by the frequency of it she was in a hurry.

I jumped up and swung the door open and she just jumped up at me cryin jumpin was somethin she had been trained not to do from a pup but I wasn't about to tell her off for it she was jumpin all over the place runnin around the house goin crazy we were both so happy to see each other I really dident think i would see her again I will never forget that day ever!!

Upon lookin her over she had not a mark on her, her pads as I mentioned earlier were soft, it was all Blackberry country and her paws would of been ripped to bits which rules out she ran away which i knew from the start she had not done, there was not one single prickle in her coat she had been "dog napped" and taken to where ever she was taken and held there and my theory is the person or persons that nabbed her heard about or read one of the flyers I had made up.

I found something really peculiar the followin day when I was sittin out on the veranda throwin the ball around for her when I seen her coat in the sunlight somethin i had not picked up on in the poor light in the lounge in the mornin her coat had traces of silver glitter all through it and was hard to spot unless ya looked closely.

Everything was good again and it was so good to have my old mate back, I dropped into a local shop the followin day and was waitin in line and a bloke in front of me being served held out his hand and said "come on we are goin now" then this little girl around 6yo come out from behind the isle dressed in a fairy costume with her face covered in silver glitter!!!!!

Once again I did not jump to conclusions as I watched him closely leave the shop with his daughter he drove off in a Land cruiser ute so who knows eh? maybe he was the bloke who nabbed Red dog? maybe for a pet for his daughter? I will never find out what happened and still think about it to this day whether it was him that put me through 2 days of absolute misery, the most important thing was though I got her back, losin that dog was like losin a limb not to mention feelin dead inside!                                                                 


                                                                                       The ute and the property where it all happened (above)

Red dog loved to go for a ride on the bike also, it's a shame a lot of good pics have been lost during moves over the years so I will have to go through all my negatives and hunt some more up, she also enjoyed ridin in the boat, front end loader, ute, canoe etc, she would jump on pretty much anythin as long as she heard the words "it's ok" from me she knew she was safe.

                                                                            Red dog's nature

I thought I would jot down a few paragraphs on Red's temperament as she had a wonderful temperament especially with children and in all the years of spending time with her is what I will call it as I hate the statement "owned" kids just adored her and she put up with the smaller of the little "nose miners" in the age bracket where the child is mentally incapable of distinguishing between a toy and a living thing you know the scenario the kids that jump on an animals back and stick their middle finger into the animals eye socket up to the last knuckle to see what's in there that sort of thing old Red dog tolerated very well right up to old age it then wore a bit thin but she never showed a tooth in anger and only ever bit twice in her life but I will go into that later.

My most memorable moment would have to be the absolute epitome of tolerance it was when I was up in the far north around a mates place on a stinkin hot day we were all sittin around under the old 100 yo Mango tree that provided great shade and was a perfect retreat from the heat of the day when it was to hot to cut timber with a few bottles of ice cold home brew.

Rays two boys lovingly nicknamed Taipan and Death adder by their father were ya typical 4-5 year olds into everything and were brought up sort of "free range" children the best sort of upbringin, on this particular day we were all down the front of the block under the old Mango and Taipan and Death adder were up the back of the block playin with Red dog and their dog named Diesel a Great dane cross Ridge back throwin a ball around for them both and at that stage all that was heard were the screams of laughter as the two dogs competed for the ball this went on for around 30 minutes before boredom set in.

Somewhere along the line either Taipan or Death adder went into the shed and was playing, it wasn't long before a loud blood curdling howl and a scream that faded into the distance was heard indicatin there was a serious injury to old Red dog by the time I had jumped up and walked roughly 100m Red was long gone runnin flat out across the top of the ridge up the back of the block, I yelled out for her but she refused to come down which was very unusual, Taipan and Death adder were both sittin there with the "wasn't me" look on their faces.

Red dog sat right up high on the ridge watchin from afar as I called and called my patience was wearin thin I then yelled "GERT DOWN HERE NOWWW" she slowly slinked back down the face of the ridge at this stage Taipan and Death adder were bein interrogated by their Father as to what the hell happened to Red dog- both boys were not talkin .........

Eventually poor old Red dog was down on flat ground again with blood all over her face it was hard to work out what had actually happened as there were no real visible signs of an injury until Taipan eventually cracked under pressure and spilt the beans, as he was tellin his father what had happened he reached into his pocket and produced a handful of baling clips, the clips used to seal up bales of wool shaped like the letter C with sharp points on either end (see below) it then started to become clearer as to what might of happened.

When questioned further he stated he tried to put one of the clips through Red dogs ears and she didn't like it and ran away (funny that) when asked why he did such a cruel nasty thing to their friend Red dog his reply was and this is priceless...... "they are earrings- I wanted to make Red dog look like Mummy" fair dinkum eh, I will never forget that (and neither did Red) so that will give ya some idea on Red's temperament pretty hard to top I think, most dogs would of done the lolly and lashed out but not old Red dog, there is nothin better than a dog with a good nature!!


                                                                                    Baling clip (above) aka a "G nail"

                                                                                                                                           CQ "DOG" Xray



Old Rex Ian's dog and Red dogs best mate, in the above pic he's gettin on in years he unfortunately passed away in 2008 at the age of 17 and a half from old age as his old body just started to shut down and Ian knew it was a case of sometimes you just have to be cruel to be kind and he was put to sleep, he like old Red dog had done a lot of road miles and Ian knew he could always rely on old Rexie and visa versa old Rex lead an adventurous life and had more stories to tell then most people the best times bein the fishin trips on the west coast chasin the big Mulloway.


                                            To be continued .............................

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Dog Breeds

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