Green paws leave their mark

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Always close by: Irena with Ernie and Indie Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

The Euroa Arboretum nursery is a hub of helping humans, busy bees and digging dogs. Volunteers and staff often bring their friendly pets along with them, creating a rotating roster of rovers. There is Millie the kelpie, Lexie and Ruby the border collies, Bonsai the seed bank guard and Ernie the shepherd mix. Indie the Labrador rules the roost.

Irena, Ernie’s owner:

If I don’t go to the arboretum all week he gets very upset.

He’s a rescue mix, shepherd-cross-heeler I think. He’s come a long way since we got him. He came from the Melbourne RSPCA and was fostered in Gisborne. I was looking for another dog after my 14-year-old kelpie died and we drove out and liked him right away. He’s four years old now.

As a shepherd he’s very focused on me and he ignores other dogs. He is still shy but his confidence is miles better than it used to be.

Home away from home: Quiet Ernie gets upset if he can’t go to the Euroa Arboretum. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Cath Olive, Indie’s owner:

She owns the arboretum. If I’m busy she goes and finds another volunteer to get attention from. It’s quite funny, when I first got her as an eight-week-old puppy I was running a field day and she was under the table in a basket. She’s always been here. Indie is about six or seven now.

Puppy love: Indie belongs to Cath Olive, the Euroa Arboretum’s executive officer. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

We do get some people who walk their dogs through the arboretum. However, we’re one of those places that gets more out-of-towners than locals (in the 27-hectare native gardens). Although when the weather is nice and the arboretum is flowering we do get busy with dogs on those evening walk times.

Working breed: Indie the Labrador retriever. The breed was developed from Canadian fishermen’s dogs who helped bring in nets, making them well adapted as gun dogs for waterfowl shooters in the UK. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite
Water dog: Indie checking the water quality. Photo by Rodney Braithwaite

Words: Daneka Hill

Pictures: Rodney Braithwaite