Working Dogs

Man’s Best Friend - Oscar

By Madeleine Byron

Life on the Tuhan family farm at Tatura East is complete with gentle four-year-old kelpie Oscar. Dairy farmer Michael Tuhan says Oscar made the perfect fit into the family of four; and although he isn’t a great working dog, that was never the intention. Daughters Lily, 6, and Charlotte, 4, refer to the canine as their best friend as he spends his days by their side.

How did Oscar become a part of the family?

We were thinking of getting a dog for the girls (Lily, 6, and Charlotte, 4) but had no idea what a suitable breed would be. My mother-in-law had a friend of a friend who had a dog that needed to be re-homed because even though he was from a working dog stud his work dog aptitude was not good at all.

How do the girls feel about him?

They just love him. He’s a very tolerant dog because Charlotte, who was only one at the time, will lay on him, ride him and open his mouth to check his teeth.

How old is Oscar?

He was about 12 months old when we got him and we’ve had him for roughly three years, so he’d be about four years old.

Does he help with the cows?

Well, Oscar is more of a pet than a working dog but on a good day he will bring them up to the dairy and you can send him around to bring them back to you, but then some days he’ll chase them the other way.

What does Oscar do on bad day?

On a bad day, he will stand in the middle of the gateway that I want the cows to go through and he’ll just look at you dumbfounded when you try to call him out of the way.

Is he a good guard dog?

He always lets us know when someone turns up and he’s a pretty good judge of character. We didn’t think he had an aggressive bone in his body until the right person came along that he decided didn’t need to be around the house.

Does he travel with you?

He’ll get up in the ute if the girls are there – he’s always right by our side.