When it’s Harley and me...

THE BOSS: Harley playing supervisor on the back of the ute and making sure we don’t leave dad’s tools in the paddock.
THE BOSS: Harley playing supervisor on the back of the ute and making sure we don’t leave dad’s tools in the paddock. Contributed

HARLEY had several names before he got one that stuck.

At the start when he arrived at our house he was called Winston but Mum didn't like it.

I don't think it suited him either.

He's a boxer-cross cattle dog with a friendly look and he likes people.

Winston sounded sort of posh to me. He definitely isn't a posh dog.

He's more of a bush dog.

Harley came from a cattle property called Milray, near Pentland, in North Queensland.

A friend of my dad's owned the property and, for some reason, he decided he couldn't keep Harley any more.

I don't think my mum was keen on having him either.

At first she didn't like his name. Then she thought he would grow too big. And then she decided we had enough dogs.

But somehow I convinced her, using my sad face, and I ended up with a very good dog.

I was seven and Harley was a pup. That was when we lived in Charters Towers.

Now I am nearly 14 and we've been friends ever since.

When Harley arrived we tried calling him Winston. Dad even liked the name.

But then Dad was going to call me Augustus, so Mum says he needs "help" when it comes to naming things.

I tried Tex. It was pretty cool for a while.

There were other names too, like Red.

I can't remember them all.

But I do know it confused the neighbours - cause they'd ask what the new pup was called and each time we saw them, it had changed.

And then one day I saw a Harley Davidson motorbike go past while we were walking with Harley and that was that.

Gus Somes.
Gus Somes.


He became Harley.

I think Harley is a sensitive type of dog. If you even yell at him once he looks sad.

Like he knows straight away that you're cross with him and he's ashamed.

Most of the time he's well behaved and comes when you call him.

The only time he doesn't is when he is chasing a fox.

And that's okay.

We have chooks so we don't really appreciate foxes.

Harley has caught a couple too. It's not pretty when he does.

Put it this way: Only one dog comes back.

One day, he dragged a fox he caught into the dam and held it under.

I couldn't believe it but my brother was there too so we know it happened.

Harley's favourite thing, apart from tracking down foxes, is our farm ute.

It's a Triton but I don't think Harley cares about that.

He just likes the fact it has a tray. And, if he is allowed, he will lie on it all day.

If my brother and I take the ute fencing, Harley just lies there like a supervisor on the back making sure we don't leave Dad's tools in the paddock.

Dad likes that about Harley.

In fact Dad and Harley were getting pretty friendly for a while there, and I had to remind Harley he's my dog.

In the end it was easier to just get Dad his own pup.

(Now Harley hates Dad's new pup. I am not sure whether it's because they are both males or because the pup gets chicken necks to eat and Harley just has dog biscuits).

If I ride my motorbike he comes with me too.

Though he always leaves the road to check for foxes and a couple of times he has taken ages to come back.

He's pretty good too if you want someone to just talk to.

When I sit on the lawn in the afternoon, Harley likes to sit really close to me.

He actually leans against me and, if I ignore him, he sticks his face really close to mine.

Mum thinks that's a bit gross but I know she has come around when it comes to Harley.

He leans against her too when she's sitting on the lawn.

She pushes him away but he just sort of smiles at her. So I know she really likes him.

Most afternoons after school though, Harley and I go driving around our place.

If I am driving, he's always on the driver's side of the tray. He sticks his head in the wind and it looks like he is smiling.

And you know something? I think he is.

Topics:  rural lifestyle

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