High country dogs

HIGH COUNTRY DOGS by Kevin L Fairbrother

On any given day in the high country, WAHARJA station awakens

To a chorus of boisterous yapping dogs, of various breeds and colors

Winter, autumn, spring and summer, the dogs are ready to please

Yapping and jumping, they strain at their chains, eager for release

She treats them with trust and respect, kind words and gentle pats

That way, she knows that the dogs will always give their best

Irene their owner and shepherd knows all the dog’s names

For a dog’s life in the high country is hard, rough and tough

All the dogs have been bred on the station and will spend their lives there

There are hunters, rousers, headers and drivers and some in-between

Short, tall, big and small with coats long, short, thick and thin

Irene knows each one individually, knows their capability

For the work could be in the yard heading or separating the sheep

Or rousing and driving the kangaroo, even a deer or two

Droving the sheep on the many runs within the farm

Or gathering round the many leases in the lake country

The dogs give their all; work all-day in all sorts of weather

From snow to driving rain, cold freezing winds or a rare summers day

They don’t complain; sneak a rest and a drink when they can

Always working tirelessly, for the dogs want to please; their boss Irene.

As the day draws down and the work is done, time to head home

Irene horse Frosty, picks up the pace as the dogs follow along side

It’s been a hard, cold wet day gathering the sheep out of the hills

Now penned safely in the yards behind the shearing shed

The dogs wet and with tongues hanging out feel the strain of their effort

But still faithfully stay close at hand ready to jump to Irene’s commands

As the lights of home and a warm bed plus a feed of kangaroo draw near

For the day is done and tomorrow there is more work to be done

A brilliant red western sky slowly darkens beneath the horizon

Heralding a cool but sunny day, ideal for high country workday

The dogs now fed and snug in kennels, the horse, given his oats

Time for Irene to cook a feed, stoke the fire and call it a day

Droving the mob of sheep with the help of the dogs. Set in the Highlands of Tasmania.

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