NOT all working dogs like working. It’s hot and hard, dusty and dangerous.
Cows kick, bulls butt and running over the backs of sheep can trip even the fleetest of four-legged drovers.
Kenny the kelpie has ditched the dirt and flies and given livestock the flick to fly cattle-class to a cushy new life in Victoria.
The black and tan pedigree is one of the success stories from Australian Working Dog Rescue Inc, which was established this year. It rounds up working hounds from pounds for rehousing.
Kelpies, koolies, heelers and border collies are among the hard-working breeds selected for a second chance.
Kenny was plucked from doggy death row in a small NSW town and placed in foster care to learn some manners to make him more adoptable. Then, matched with Gippsland’s Rankcom family, Kenny checked in with Virgin Blue at Newcastle to fly in cargo to Melbourne Airport, where he was met by his excited new family.
After just a week together, it has proved to be a match made in heaven. “He bonded pretty instantly with our family and he is perfectly content just being with us, being by our side and being one of us,” said Carolynne Rankcom.
She says he’s become a perfect playmate for sons Charlie, 10, and Thomas, 7. “Kenny thinks he is one of the kids and a member of our pack,” she said. “He’s blended in brilliantly.”
Not all the rescued working dogs have come from farms, said AWDRI president Di Edwards.
“Working dogs as breeds appeal as pets because they are good-looking, intelligent and loyal, but people aren’t prepared for their exercise requirements and the mental stimulation needed to stop them from being bored and becoming destructive,” she said.
“Some of the dogs have certainly been chosen as pets and have proved to be too much of a challenge and been surrendered.”
On his spacious rural property, Kenny is enjoying the run of the land.
“We are sure he’s come from a farm because when he’s in the ute with (husband) Paul he looks at cows and sheep a bit warily,” Ms Rankcom said.
“He much prefers long walks in the bush where we are giving him the time to take in all the smells and sights of his surroundings.”