MOST owners choose their dogs but sometimes it's the dog that chooses their owner.
This was the case for Kev Thumpkin and his loyal dog Foxy. It was the mid 1980s and Kev was drafting some cattle in the yards at his property near Leslie Dam.
"I used to do most of the work myself," Kev said.
"I did have a few dogs but they seemed to be more interested in other things."
But one day a dog appeared at the yards and immediately took to him.
"We was obviously a young but full grown dog, and was wearing a flea collar.
"The next day, he was still there, no one had come to claim him.
"But he claimed me."
Kev named the dog Foxy.
"He looked somewhat like a fox, so Foxy seemed like a suitable name," he said. "In the next 17 years, he seldom left my side."
Like all working dogs, Foxy liked to think he was the boss.
"I didn't train him much," Kev said. "He lost interest in that sort of thing pretty quick.
"He wast the greatest cattle herder but I never professed to be much of a trainer either, unlike my father, who, like many other cattle and sheepmen and women prefer dogs to people as helpers."
Foxy's favourite thing to do was driving in the truck.
Wherever Foxy and his owner went in the truck, Foxy would be standing up with his paws on the dashboard.
"He used to think he was driving the truck," Kev laughed.
"He would also come with me on trail rides, though dogs are not allowed on the rides.
"So Foxy would stay at the camp and make sure everything was above board."
But that was the only time the two would be apart.
"Foxy would be by my side all day, every day," Kev said
"Foxy preferred to sleep in the truck or in the shade, while I was fencing or yard building."
One thing Foxy never really understood was road safety.
"He never had a good road sense. I would have to carry him across McEvoy St."
The years passed and Foxy the loveable larrikin, after a long (for a dog) and happy life, died in January 2003.
He rests at the end of the family property, below a large granite rock at the junction of Washpool and Glenvale Rd.
His role as loyal working dog, family pet and man's best friend complete.
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