The Old Black Dog

Today I want to tell you a story about the dog that’s on the cover of my books.

(If you’ve read my latest book, you might think you know how this story ends … but trust me, you don’t.)

Her name is Betty, and she’s an old sheep dog from the Mallee.

Betty was kindly given to me years ago by my uncle, who told me she was the hardest-working dog he’d ever had.

No-one knew exactly how old she was, because she’d been passed from farmer to farmer for years.

And now she was at my farm.

The first night we bought her home, I put her food in a shiny new doggy bowl.

Betty cocked her head and wouldn’t eat it.

“Maybe she’s feeling insecure about her new environment, and she’s off her food”, proffered my animal-loving wife.

My uncle had other ideas: “Just tip the food on the ground.”

Betty dutifully started chowing down.

It was the same deal with her newly bought kennel (with an expensive sheepskin for warmth).

Betty sleeps on the dirt underneath the ute … so she won’t miss one minute of work.

And work she does. She’s unstoppable.

Betty is a legend in our family.

And years from now we’ll use her story to teach our kids about life:

Kids, you may think you want cool clothes, an Apple watch, or a fancy car.

But you really don’t.

What you really want is to be loved and respected.

And marketers manipulate these deep-seated desires to get us to buy their stuff.

Yet it’s a trillion-dollar lie.

The truth is that to be loved and respected … you don’t need status symbols, or gadgets, or fancy brand labels.

No.

If you want to be loved and respected, just do two things: be kind, and be a hard worker.

Even then, some people may still not love and respect you ‒ but the right people will.

Betty died this week.

For a sheep dog (age unknown), who was passed around from owner to owner, Betty finally found her home.

Rest In Peace, Betty.

You were loved and respected.

Tread Your Own Path!

P.S. I’m off for a couple of weeks for the school holidays to hang out with my kids.