Back to Dingo. Ding is around 17 now and deaf as a post, but still fit. He's lost a little weight over the last year or two, but still loves to chase his ball all over the back yard. He's at a disadvantage these days because if he doesn't see where the ball lands, he has no hope of hearing it, either.
Dingo was one of our work dogs, back when dad and I were droving. Dingo is quiet, it's rare that he barks and when he does it's deep and sounds like it comes from some sort of monster hound the size of a rhino, rather than a normal kelpie sized animal. His barks are partial howls that run into one another. Usually when he makes a noise he tends towards howling, a weird aching lonely sound that can travel a fair distance. His usual time to howl is when I take mum shopping.
Dingo is a very timid dog. Never fought with other dogs, has always been nervous around humans but had no fear of cattle or any other livestock. He had terrible trouble when we went to work at Dandenong abattoirs because of the wire there. They had wire down in the pens so that all the sheep crap fell straight through. Most dogs had no problem on it, but Ding's paws have small pads for a dog his size and they used to catch in the wire and would end up very raw and sore. Dad made leather booties for him. He chewed them off. He made more, they got chewed off too. In the end, Dingo got rested every week or two for a few days to let his pads heal. He hated that.
I'm glad that dingo is still alive and fit at this age. His muzzle is greyer but his energy levels are still those of a dog much younger. Hell, he has way more energy that Karl, his son.
He's also the final link to my droving days. I miss droving. Miss those days with my father, working in all sorts of weather. Miss the outdoors and the occasional dangerous bit. Miss the people. Miss my dad. Droving is hard work, however not droving is really hard.
But I look at Dingo, pat him, play with him, and it's like I'm still there. I don't know how much longer he'll be around, hopefully years, but I'm glad we'll be together for that time.