Emotion got the better of Western Southland farmer Martha Broughton after catching a glimpse of her working dog Bryn in her rear-view mirror on Wednesday.
The Mount Linton Station sheep genetics manager was driving from Ohai to include her 3-year-old heading dog in the 64th annual Gore Dog Sale.
"I cried on the way here ... I've had him for three years and he's been a good mate."
Bryn fetched the top price of $8000 of the nearly 60 dogs featured at Charlton Saleyards on Wednesday.
The price was well over her reserve.
"It's crazy money."
She got Bryn as an 8-week-old pup and had him working on a lambing beat about eight months later, when one of her other dogs went on maternity leave earlier than expected.
Bryn was a happy, laid back, natural worker, who responded to voice and whistle but needed little instruction.
He was going to a good home on Henry Riordan's farm near Winton, Broughton said.
Riordan said he bought Bryn for general farm work on his nearly 300ha sheep and beef farm Bengerburn, in Heddon Bush, as one of his working dogs was set to retire.
"He's about 11 years old and about the same speed as me."
He had seen Bryn mustering a mob of ram lambs at Mount Linton Station recently and liked what he saw.
It was better to pay a top price for a top dog than pay an average price for an average dog, he said.
PGG Wrightson auctioneer Ross McKee, of Riversdale, said most of the dogs - 35 heading, 10 huntaways and 12 pups - sold.
"Farmers are willing to pay good money for a good dog, trained up and ready to go."