Working Dogs

She is their Star

By Country News

Ashleigh Gamble’s six-year-old English bull terrier Star might not be the greatest working dog on her family’s Bamawm Extension dairy farm, but she is certainly the most spoilt. Star keeps the family well entertained with her antics which include sitting at the kitchen table with her glasses on, eating a cut up piece of toast or nibbling on a tasty piece of orange. Her cattle-handling skills may leave a lot to be desired, but that’s okay — Star’s role on the farm is to love and entertain her family.

So, Ashleigh, why do you have a bull terrier?

I have always wanted one and when I saw Star on the internet I fell in love with her straight away. I got her flown down as a 10-week-old puppy and she has been by my side ever since.

Star seems to be loved by everyone.

Ashleigh: She is so placid and gentle. She just puts up with anything and just wiggles her tail and Mum (Karen), Dad (Col) and my brother, Chris, all spoil her as well.

Karen: When she was a pup she used to sit at the window and howl for Ashleigh to return. Thankfully she has grown out of that now.

She appears to have quite a good appetite. Would eating happen to be her favourite pastime?

Ashleigh: Star eats anything, and I mean anything. She eats oranges, lemon, broccoli (cooked, not raw), apples, bananas and even the odd bite of chocolate. She likes to sit up at the table for a piece of toast at breakfast. Someone in the family always weakens and ends up feeding her. I also have no trouble giving her antibiotics if she ever needs them. I just pass them to her and she eats them as they are.

Star does look a little menacing, but she is really placid, isn’t she?

Col: Star might look like a gladiator but she is actually nothing but a big sook. If we are in the calving paddock, she stands so close to the back of your legs you trip over her if you move backwards.

So what is she like as a cattle dog?

Ashleigh: She is not really interested in the cows, but she will ride around on the motorbike with me all day.

Col: She just sits there and stares straight ahead, not moving a muscle. She looks like one of those dog statues you find in a garden. In fact, she sits so still she has been known to occasionally fall off when you take a corner.

How does Star cope with the cold weather?

Ashleigh: She shivers a lot. She loves to lie in front of the fire and, even though she is not allowed on the couch, we do find her asleep on there at times. She sleeps inside at night as well.

Words and pictures:

Sophie Baldwin