Jane Halliburton, Herd2Homes

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Jane Halliburton is one of those special people with a big heart and endless patience for our four-legged friends. Jane’s love for “working breed” dogs has not only led to her owning Kelpies of her own, but also to become a foster carer for Herd2Homes – a not for profit organisation that rescues working dog breeds and gives them a second chance. Meet Jane and her furry companions …

Hi Jane. What’s your association with the Greater Port Macquarie area? 

I grew up in the Canberra region and spent many summers on the NSW South Coast, and I’ve always wanted to live near the beach. After over 30 Canberra winters, it was time to move somewhere warmer! So, my husband, Steve, and I started looking to move north. 

We came to Port Macquarie in Oct 2005 for me to compete in the 70.3 triathlon. We had never been to Port Macquarie, and the only thing I’d ever heard about it was that it had good fishing! (We have no interest in fishing, so that wasn’t appealing to us). 

We loved it so much, we decided that this was the place to come. My husband bought the Port News on the Monday after the race to read the race reports and found a job advertised at the TAFE.

He applied for it, and within three months (late Jan 2006) we were living here! So, I guess you could say triathlon bought us here, and we’ve been competing in the 70.3 and Ironman races here ever since.

When/how did you find about Herd2Homes? 

My husband and I had two Kelpie/cattle dogs, Milo and Nelson. We lost Nelson in 2012 and were heart broken, so we decided that we wanted another two Kelpies … because, you can never have too many Kelpies, right? 

So, we got our boys, Brody and Grub, to keep Milo company.

We found that Milo taught the two youngsters so much and then when we lost him in 2014, it left another big hole in our lives. 

We have always loved the working dog breeds and were always seeing things on Facebook about rescue groups that specialised in working dogs breeds.

In our searching, we came across Herd2Homes and started “following” them on Facebook. We were impressed by the work they did and the people involved, so we applied to be foster carers. We thought our boys would be able to teach and help dogs, just like Milo had mentored them. 

And again … you can never have too many Kelpies, right?

How many dogs have you fostered, and what’s the average length of time they stay in your care? 

We have fostered 16 dogs since joining the group in May 2016. We generally have most dogs for three – six weeks, but some dogs can be in care for over three months. It depends on the dog, where they are located and the time of year. 

A lot of the dogs we have adopted we keep in contact with, and their families keep us updated as to what they’re up to. One of our recent fosters was adopted by a family that regularly goes to Nobbys Beach, so we get to see him quite often – which is lovely.

Who’s the gorgeous boy you’re currently looking after? 

This is Jack. He’s a seven month old male Kelpie-cross who came from the Kempsey pound with his two sisters. Jack is only a small dog, who weighs about 12 kg and probably won’t get much bigger. He’s a happy, playful dog, but is quite calm for a Kelpie pup!

He loves going down to Nobbys Beach and thinks it’s lots of fun to be chased by the other dogs.

He is well behaved off leash and comes back when called. He is an affectionate little fella who will make a family very happy! 

Of course, he is ready for adoption, and people can apply for him on the Herd2homes website.

Please explain more how your own dogs help you with the dogs you foster.

Although they probably don’t realise it, Brody and Grub (six year old brothers from the same litter) teach the foster dogs more than we do. They don’t play with the fosters very much, but they always allow the dogs to share their space and their lives.

Grub has less patience than Brody, especially with very young pups, but they learn very quickly who the boss is and they tend to follow him – especially when we are at the beach.

Of course … they all know that the real bosses are our cats, Makeba and Nala!

Some people may consider becoming a foster carer for dogs – why would you encourage them to do so?

We find fostering very rewarding. Yes, it can be very hard to part with the dogs when they find their “furever” homes, but you know they are going to a loving family who will share their lives with them and bring them many happy memories.

Some of the dogs come from very sad situations, which is so heartbreaking, but they are so trusting of us and accept us so quickly.

Working breeds are particularly loyal and given the opportunity, can bring so much joy and happiness to your lives. I’m always amazed at how resilient these dogs can be and how with a little TLC they can thrive.

Where’s the best place find more info about Herd2Homes? 

You can find out all about the work they do and the dogs that are available on their website: www.herd2homes.com.au

They also have a great Facebook page, where you can follow what’s going on within the group. You can find it at www.facebook.com/herd2homes

Thanks Jane.

Interview: Jo Robinson.

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