Royalty on roundabout corner
Near the large Tatura-Undera Rd roundabout, three King Charles spaniels roam among house cats, chickens, sheep and alpacas. The trio is a perfect fit for Maz Bourke and her four children.
What drew you to this breed?
I have two autistic sons and I needed dogs which were calm. I was struggling to find the right match. I had a bad experience with a rescue group not wanting to rehome a dog to me because there were autistic children in the home, then someone put up a ‘free to good home’ ad.
We went to see Milo and he jumped in my arms and never left. The owner said he'd grown up on a farm but he freaked out when we put him on grass, so we quickly realised that was a lie.
What do you know about Milo?
We got him when he was five. He was nearly deaf from mites in his ears. He stays in one spot all night and never moves, which is how we know he was a cage dog.
What's the story behind the other two KC spaniels?
Summer is from a rescue in NSW, we got her as a two-year-old, and Luna is the only non-rescue, she's from a friend in Wangaratta and came as a puppy. It is hard to get a King Charles; last time I looked they went for $6000. That's a lot of money.
Are they a popular puppy farm dog?
Definitely. I'm on a few KC Facebook groups and we all love them but it's obvious they suffer from being a top choice among cage breeders, the health issues for one.
How are they as farm dogs?
We were in town until last year, they freaked out when they saw the size of our new yard. They love the hobby farm. Luna's favourite job is chasing the chickens. Otherwise they aren't useful at all, outside being little heaters and great guest greeters. You want to keep warm in winter get one of these guys.
Luna is the youngest by eight years, does she run the older two ragged?
She has brought a bit of life into them. She thinks she's a cat and will copy our inside cats, sitting on the top of the couch and things.
How are they as a breed?
They are such a friendly and loving breed, low shedding as well. I haven't washed them in over a month and they are still silky soft. They are gluttons though, but so good as a kid's dog. They aren't full-on or rough at all.
Any funny quirks?
They all like to sit at the lounge room window and watch the cars go past and around the roundabout. They also watch birds that nest by the window, like the cats.
Words: Daneka Hill
Pictures: Megan Fisher