THE Southern Star has managed to reconnect the owner of a tractor-loving 17-year-old sheepdog with the man who sold her as a puppy.
A classified ad placed by Cóilín Murray from Ballydehob in The Southern Star in July 1999, offering a puppy for free to a ‘good home’ caught the eye of Billy French from Crossmahon, Bandon and 17 years later, Tippy is an integral part of the French family and a much-loved pet – that loves tractors.
Billy French replied to the classified ad at the time but Cóilín had promised the pup to someone else.
‘I had actually taken Billy’s number and when the person I had promised the puppy to didn’t come through, I rang Billy again and gave him the puppy,’ Coílín told The Southern Star.
‘I’m not surprised that Tippy has been such a good dog to the French family, as her mother was a gregarious dog. It was a long time ago and it’s great to hear that Tippy is doing so well.’
Billy was equally surprised to hear we had tracked down Tippy’s original owner, by tracking down the 1999 ad in our archives and calling the number. And said that Tippy as been a wonderful addition to the family.
From sitting in the tractor at any opportunity she gets, to rounding up cattle on the farm, Tippy certainly rules the roost in the French household at Crossmahon.
‘I’ve never, ever seen a dog like her and she’s such a loyal friend and a great cattle dog. She just loves sitting up on the tractor and she’d spend all day up on the tractor with me – if she got the chance. From the minute I come out in the morning, she’s straight up on the tractor.’
Tippy has her own special house and she’s allowed indoors in the house during the day, so she really is spoilt rotten. ‘We never have to go out and get the cows, either, because the minute she hears the milking parlour being switched on, she’s already out in the fields rounding them up,’ added Billy.
Billy and his wife Shirley have three daughters – Deborah, Rhoda and Priscilla – and one son James, and they are all equally fond of Tippy.
‘My daughter Rhoda is married and lives in Scotland and she misses Tippy like mad. I have always wanted to actually contact the seller of Tippy to tell him what a great pet he has become.’
Tippy came to the attention of The Southern Star after her owner Billy appeared in a recent Me and My Tractor article in our Farming pages.
Tippy was pictured by Bandon photographer Denis Boyle, loyally sitting in the driving seat of Billy’s Ford 5000, as Billy stood beside her.
Incidentally, Billy’s son James is a rising star in Munster Rugby, and plays for the U19 Munster team, as well as being an All Ireland Shot Putter.