MARLEY has a knack for finding trouble. The two-year-old border collie kelpie-something cross seems to spend more time than most at the vets.
Just as well then, that her owner and best friend is 22-year-old student vet Steph Reardon.
Marley found her way to the Bacchus Marsh Veterinary Clinic when she was just 10 months old with a broken leg.
The good Samaritan who picked her up and brought her in guessed Marley had fallen out the back of a ute.
Ms Reardon, who was on placement at the clinic, was talked into taking on Marley when nobody came in to collect her.
She watched that first operation to mend the leg.
And another a few months later, and again to remove the left hind leg entirely.
“It was fixed and re-broken twice,” Ms Reardon says.
“Finally they just had to amputate it.
“She has too much energy for her own good. She jumps around like a psycho.”
If Marley misses the amputated limb, she doesn’t show any signs of it.
“She’s fine,” Ms Reardon says. “She doesn’t even seem to notice she’s only got three legs.
“She walks and runs around normally.”
Nor does Marley appear to have learned her lesson.
“We have horses on our property at Balliang,” Ms Reardon says. “She tried rounding up the horses and they didn’t take kindly to it.
She got kicked in the head by a gelding and broke her nose.
“She has the instincts to be a working dog. We once found she was herding the neighbours’ sheep. She had them all rounded up.
“She has also eaten glass and swallowed iron tablets.”
Ms Reardon is in her fourth year studying veterinary science and is in the midst of a six-week placement at Eureka Veterinary Hospital on Creswick Road. While she would ultimately like to specialise in working with cattle, her present placement is primarily about smaller animals, including dogs.
Given Marley’s form, that can only be a good thing.
Having an owner who is a qualified vet is likely to save some hefty veterinary bills.
• The Courier is always looking out for the region’s great (and not so great) working dogs. If you know a dog who deserves its day in the paper, email: firstname.lastname@example.org