The Farmer and His Dog

Kangaroo Island, Aus., farmer's dog

Kangaroo Island, Aus., farmer’s dog

We were visiting Kangaroo Island, a small island south of the Australian continent.  On the last day of our month-long trip, we still had not found a koala.


A beach ranger had told us about a small, remote road with a gum tree flood plain.  Here, he said, we had a good chance of seeing koalas.  We found the road and the flood plain; it was devoid of people, buildings, or structures of any kind.  So we planted ourselves in this small grove, determined to find the koala before we headed back home.


We had been there about an hour, loaded down with optics, and had methodically scanned every single gum tree in the area.  No koalas.


The Farmer and the Dog, Kangaroo Isl., Aus.

The Farmer and the Dog, Kangaroo Isl., Aus.

Then a farmer drove down a nearby private lane, pulled his truck alongside us.  There was no doubt we were trespassing on his land.   He was hauling a large roll of hay, and atop that roll was his ever-so-happy dog.  With one dark, leathery arm resting out the window, he looked at our binoculars and asked, “Did you see the pair of cockatoos?”


Pleasantly relieved that he was okay with us being on his property, we cheerfully replied that yes, we had seen the pair.  We three talked about this pair of cockatoos for a few minutes, admiring them.


Then I told him we had been looking for koalas for an hour, but still had not found any.  He languidly leaned his head out the truck window, looked up, and said, “There’s one.  There’s another.”






Turns out we had been looking for the koalas 20 feet up, instead of a hundred feet up, high, high, into the canopy.  We had also expected them to be eating or moving about, not just snoozing.  They sleep up to 20 hours a day, nestled deep in the tree.


What a great break for us — we had found the grove, the farmer was not angry with us, in fact wanted to help us, he showed us what to look for, and we found several more after he left.  It reminded me to never underestimate the simple kindness of giving a few minutes to a stranger.


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander, except where noted

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Aus.

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Aus.


47 thoughts on “The Farmer and His Dog

  1. Lovely post on all counts. Great that you got to see a Koala…I think they are gorgeous, and as you say it’s those small kindnesses that often lead to something special….have a wonderful day and week ahead…Janet.

  2. Aren’t the red-tailed black cockatoos beautiful? When we lived in western Queensland they were regular visitors, as were the rose-breasted cockatoos (which I’ve always called Major Mitchell’s but have just discovered they are NOT the same, lol)!

  3. Great story, Jet! Sometimes what we want to see is as plain as the glasses on our face — we just need another perspective. Such a fun end to that day for sure.

    • Thanks so much, Brick. You’re a well-traveled man, I’m sure you’ve had a few times when some kind stranger made a huge difference. Thanks so much for your visit. 😀

  4. My experience has been similar in many occasions in other countries, locals are key in order to find the subject or at least the exact location. I’m very grateful to all of them! Nice post Jet! 🙂

    • Good morning dear Bill! He was big-hearted like Farmer John, and boy, was it ever a joy. And happy travels to you, I hope you find some kind strangers…. 😀

    • It was so funny because we were certain that if there were koalas in those trees, we would have found them, because we had systematically scoured the entire grove. The farmer saved the day! Many thanks, Andrea. 😀

    • I’m sure you know how that is, Sue, on one of your many travels — someone instructs you to one point, and you get there, then the next person instructs you from there — like a treasure hunt, which it is! Always a treat to hear from you~~ 😀

  5. I think it was before I we were married, nearly 30 years ago, driving through forest near the Great Ocean Road admiring the scenery. Cars would come up behind me and eventually pass, after two or three had done so I pointed lazily in the direction of a tree on the other side of the road. Next car stopped and began looking also. Soon there were several more cars with occupants all engrossed in trees on the other side of the road. The future MGW was encouraging me to move on before someone realised there were no koalas in sight. We may have been looking where you were looking. 🙂

    • That’s a funny story, WM; made me smile. They are the trickiest little guys to find! As I am sure you know, they nestle deep inside the leafy gum trees and don’t move much; while we humans just buzz on by. Then you take the time to stop and look, and you still can’t find them. lol. Many thanks for your visits. 😀

  6. Finding connections like that is what makes life fun and interesting. I also would have counted getting to see an authentic Australian sheepdog as a treat! Lovely post all the way around.

    • I like your point of the authentic Australian sheepdog, Gunta — and he was definitely a treat. He was so regal way up there on his hay throne. So glad you enjoyed the post, Gunta, and, as always, I appreciate your continued interest and comments. 😀

  7. Usually, dogs are much more open to new experiences than cats.
    If I put my cats on top of a bale of hay, and then drove around with them up there….they would probably never trust me again. 🙂
    So glad the farmer was happy to help. Nice photos.

  8. Love to hear about these positive reactions and so enjoyed the photo of the dog atop the hay roll. You and Athena seem to find good people and unique experiences wherever you go.

    • We’re pretty lucky that way. The key, I have found, is to take delight in the locals and their sacred home environment, and then they are usually happy to share it. Thanks so very much, dear Nan. 😀

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