My Pet: Beautiful Blackie loves guarding farm
My name is Blackie. I am a female German Shepherd who lives on a farm in Co Waterford.
Some people would call me an Alsatian, but I do not like that name. We are a proud breed of noble, intelligent dogs, originally bred for herding sheep. I was born in Co Clare and lived there until I was a year old.
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My owners had many dogs and put me up for sale on the internet. When my present family saw my picture, they fell in love with me straight away - I am a good looker and I have lovely bright, yellow eyes.
I am a hardy outside dog, not like those pampered pooches who live inside with central heating and cushions to lie on. I am a working dog. My job is watchdog, I am on security day and night. I sleep on a mat at the back door if the weather is fine; when it's wet and cold, I sleep on a mat on the garage floor. If it gets very cold, I go into a very cosy box which is called Charlie's Pad. It was made specially for a dog named Charlie, a male German Shepherd, who lived here before me. He had a great reputation as a watchdog, so I have to work hard. If I do well, I hope my family might change the name on the sleeping box to Blackie's Pad.
I get very cross if a strange car arrives at our house. I don't allow anybody to get out of a car until one of my family comes out and tells me if it's OK. If there is nobody in the house, I get really, really cross and make sure the strangers move off again. I also keep an eye on the farmyard. I have great hearing. If I hear a different sound, I investigate straight away.
I love playing games with the children. We play jail. They lock me in jail, but I escape and run off. I am like lightning to run and they can't catch me. I run round and round in circles - it is great fun and I get great exercise.
I had to have an operation. It was done by a lady vet who was very nice to me. I did not like the cone I had to wear to stop me from chewing out the stitches.
I have to go now, I think I hear a strange car coming.
Paddy Phelan, Co Waterford
Finest hour: Staying on guard
Likes: Walks in the woods, playing with children, being petted
Dislikes: The electric fence, the vet's cone, magpies who steal my nuts
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