They’re cute, quirky little dogs, and their owners think the world of them! Dachshunds are the common thread that have brought people from as far afield as South West Rocks, Harrington and Wauchope together as a part of the Port Macquarie Dachshunds Group. The group provides social outings, fun events and support for members and their pooches – plus, it also raises money for Dachshund Rescue Australia. Jean Ballands tells us more …
Hi Jean. How did you become interested in Dachshunds?
I just happened to see a Dachshund and thought what a cute, funky little dog! It had real style with humour. So once settled in Port Macquarie, our quest was to locate a well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder. This meant learning about the true characteristics of a Dachshund. Ruby joined the family!
What can you tell us about Dachshunds as a breed … their particular quirks, health issues, what you most love about them?
Dachshunds are most loyal and enjoy being part of their owner’s life. They want to be involved at every level. If left on their own for hours, they can become anxious, bark and become less trainable. They love to share the couch under a blanket or go for a small walk in the shade, a trip in the car or out for a coffee, with a walk in town help to socialise them with the public.
Most importantly, they prefer their own breed when mixing with new dogs. The main health issues are becoming overweight and jumping, that leads to fragile backs.
What’s your association with the Port Macquarie Dachshunds Group?
I am the leader of the group, which is associated with Dachshunds in the Park, Sydney, and Dachshund Rescue Australia.
What are the aims of the group?
The main aim is friendship between members and their dogs, to walk together and enjoy exercise for all. There’s lots of chatter, swapping of tips and support through Dachshund minding and learning more about the training of our breed.
Every third Sunday of the month we meet at a different location. Members are encouraged to arrange walks together as often as they wish. Further, we interact mostly through our Facebook page on issues about food, warnings of tick and snake season, recipes for dog biscuits.
“Wednesday Wisdom” on the site covers training awareness. There are also fun photographs, news about events coming up and general support on fundraising for our breed.
Within two weeks of the launching Port Macquarie Dachshunds Group, we had 50 local members – and this is growing.
Tell us a bit more about Dachshund Rescue Australia and why you’re helping to raise money for this organisation …
Dachshund Rescue Australia (DRA) is a registered charity which helps Dachshunds needing rescue and rehoming all over Australia. These beautiful dogs are given up by their owners for various reasons. Sometimes the owner has died, families move overseas, or children come along and sometimes issues become apparent that cannot be managed.
Pounds are extremely stressful places for a Dachshund, so volunteers pick them up, place them into foster care, then look for the right new home. Before rehoming, the dogs are desexed, with a full health and dental check by a vet. Rehoming is a costly process, but better than letting these beautiful creatures be euthanised. Most importantly, the aim is to find the right home for the dog, to live a fulfilled and happy life.
One of the ways in which you’re helping to raise funds is through a type of painting marathon! Explain this in a bit more detail.
I have offered my skills by launching a marathon painting project of a Dachshund portrait a week for a year. At $100 each (plus $20 postage and packing), every five paintings sold in the Dachshund Project will fund one abandoned Dachshund to have a full vet check, dental and vaccinations ready for their new home.
Once the painting is booked and paid for, an image of each customer’s Dachshund is used to paint from.
My professional portraits are acrylic on stretched canvas (20 x 20 inches or 50.8 x 50.8 cm) preserved with a clear matt varnish, shipped anywhere in Australia. At the end of the year a digital exhibition will take place, featuring 52 beautiful Dachshunds, and the best 12 will be selected for a 2020 calendar. I’m pleased to say all 52 spots were sold within 48 hours.
Introduce us to Ollie, a gorgeous Dachshund from Port Macquarie. How is the Port Macquarie Dachshunds Group helping with Ollie’s needs?
Ollie was rehomed by DRA to his owner Carol Green, here in Port Macquarie. Unfortunately, due to being overweight his back gave way, which meant he lost the use of his back legs. Being a very outgoing chap, Ollie had to learn quickly about crating and later learning how to use wheels to support his back during his lengthy recovery.
After a lengthy time at Bellingen Hospital Vet, Ollie has recovered from a few problems that were touch and go. His strong spirit has helped him mature and work through rehabilitation of laser treatment, crating, weight loss and massage to get strength in his back and legs. This will be a slow process and is an alternative to a costly operation.
Ollie is starting to stand with a wobble and progressing well under the great care of his owner. It is due to DRA that Ollie’s treatment was assisted financially and contacts were provided to look after him when he needed intense care.
The general support from the group has made being part of this community so rewarding. Each dog is assessed according to their needs for financial support by DRA.
What upcoming events/activities does the Dachshund group have planned?
Each month there’s a meetup where several Dachshunds meet and walk together, usually ending with drinks and cakes for sale going towards DRA. This could be a run on the beach, a walk along a river or a play in a shady area.
Training sessions with trainer Sue Merrick from One Ear Up (Coffs Harbour), with the result of better interaction with our Dachshunds, will occur on a regular basis. There will be fun events, such as games to play with your dog, raffles, and of course, a Christmas party!
Recently, our local store Blue Illusion put on a fashion parade, with 15% of sales going towards local Ollie the Dachshund’s rehabilitation.
Why would you encourage members to join the group?
It is a time to spend with like-minded people from all walks of life with the common trait of loving their Dachshund. It gives the dogs an opportunity to walk, play and interact with each other. The dogs learn confidence and social skills. Friendships have formed that would never have occurred if it was not for the group. Some travel from Wauchope, South West Rocks and Harrington for this unique opportunity.
Where can readers find out more info?
Joining the Facebook page Port Macquarie Dachshunds Group. Contact Jean Ballands 0407 378 417 or my website with Instagram at https://jeanballandsartist.com/dachshundproject/
Interview: Jo Robinson.