Cobber Stories

Puppy season

26 June 2018

Rosalea Ryan

There might just have been something in the water during the 2017 Cobber Challenge, as not one but two competitors became parents not too long after the event drew to a close.

Winning entrant Flow, a six-year-old Kelpie from Fingal, Tasmania, became a mother for the last time in a distinguished breeding career in mid-January. Her litter of six handsome black-and-tan pups was delivered safely to Flow under the proud gaze of human dad-slash-‘midhusband’, Brad McDonald.

As Flow’s best friend (and the official dispenser of the year’s supply of Cobber dog food presented by sponsor Ridley as reward for the championship-winning effort), Brad revealed the happy news in typical 21st-century celebrity style: via a Facebook post.

“We would like to announce that Flow the Cobber dog has had her final litter of pups,” he wrote.

While nothing is quite as good as mother’s milk (especially milk produced from a mother who’s well fed on Cobber), the cheeky pups soon developed a liking for that most Australian of breakfast foods: Weetbix.

Orders for the pint-sized Kelpies were quickly taken and all are now settling into the early stages of extremely promising working lives. In honour of Flow’s performance in the Challenge, Brad even named one of the youngsters ‘Cobber’.

Flow was certainly match-fit when the Cobber Challenge started, having just completed six weeks working sheep with Brad during shearing. Although Brad said at the event’s conclusion that Flow would be taking a well-earned rest for a while, clearly she had other plans, and right after New Year he confirmed the impending birth.

Flow cost only $300 when bought as a completely inexperienced one-year-old, having never seen a sheep, but is now well and truly ensconced as the leading lady of Brad’s Benlomond Kelpie Stud.

During the 2017 Challenge she travelled 716km in three weeks as part of her regular stock routine on the Fingal Valley property, averaging 37.7km a day and at one point covering 54.1km, 57.8km and 50.8km on three consecutive days.

When not working sheep or cattle, now that caring for the next generation of Kelpies is a thing of the past, Flow has plenty of time for curling up comfortably in a hole she’s dug under Brad’s chair while he sits on a riverbank fishing.

Fellow 2017 Cobber Challenge dog Riley, from northern New South Wales, welcomed seven offspring of his own in September.

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