Little dogs with big hearts

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Constant companions: Seventy-three-year-old June Dixon has kept five Jack Russell dogs in her lifetime. These two have convinced themselves they love carrots — taking a page out of the horse’s book. Photo by Megan Fisher

Numurkah woman June Dixon can often be spotted around town on her brown horse — but that’s only a third of the picture. Back home Ruby and Digga bravely hold down the castle (and the carpet in front of the fireplace).

What sort of dogs do you have?

I have Ruby who is a bit shy and is a Jack Russell-cross-foxy (fox terrier). She is 14 years old and was an only child before Digga came along. Digga is three and is a full Jack Russell.

Do they get along?

They get along well but when Doza (a friend’s kelpie) comes over Ruby goes ‘nup, let me inside’ — the energy is too much. Digs and Doza bounce off each other so well because they are the same age — they play and wrestle. When I am getting my horse ready for a ride Digs will go sit at the gate looking for Doza because he knows Jodie will be here soon with him.

Calm and quiet: Fourteen-year-old Ruby is a bit bigger than the average Jack Russell, thanks to a fox terrier parent. Photo by Megan Fisher

Have you had many Jack Russells?

I’ve had five all up. Before them I had corgis and right at the start a bassett hound who unfortunately got run over in front of the house when she chased a car with a trailer. It was very sad and when Digga started running out like she did I went and got the whole place fenced. It was the best thing I’ve done.

Has the fence kept them out of much trouble?

Ruby used to love catching and eating rabbits before we fenced the yard. She never faced up to snakes although there’s been a few.

What do you like about the breed?

They are great watchdogs. I wouldn’t take them bush though because they would say ‘see ya later’. They aren’t like a kelpie.

Where do they sleep at night?

On my bed — I have a quarter and if I move out of my warm spot it's quickly taken. If I get up to go to the toilet sometimes they do too. They are wonderfully house trained.

Ready to rumble: Digga — or ‘Digs’ — is a bundle of energy. Photo by Megan Fisher

What do you like about them?

They are watchdogs and companions. I will say ‘now I’ve got to go into town, I’ll be back later and I won’t be long’. They probably think ‘we’re all right, you’ve got the fire going it doesn’t matter’.

What does their average day look like?

They have a three kilometre walk each morning followed by dry food for breakfast and I make my own wet food with pet mince, vegies, rice, oats, lentils and pasta. It’s all cooked up and frozen for when I need it.

Just the lads: Digga and neighbourhood mate Doza tend to bounce off each other. The two boys have a lot in common — age, horses and little, elderly female dogs for company. Photo by Megan Fisher

Words: Daneka Hill

Pictures: Megan Fisher