Client Session ~ Dixie and Sam in Melbourne
Driving through the countryside north of Melbourne towards my last session of the visit, I was a little concerned about the weather. I’d driven through intermittent rain and patches of fog and hoped that my destination would miraculously be clearer and brighter. Danielle had given me a hand-drawn mud map of how to get to their property so I was busy following this, my GPS most unhappy with me as it thought I was driving in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly I noticed that I was surrounded by burnt-out forest and realised this must have been one of those areas devastated by the Black Saturday bushfires a little over a year beforehand. Blackened stumps and lush green regrowth peeked through the heavy fog all around me as I wove my way through the bush on rough dirt roads. Eventually the road opened out into a pocket of cleared land – my destination was just a little further down the road – past new fencing and guide posts.
Out of the forest it was a little clearer, though still trying desperately to rain us out. We got started right away just in case we didn’t have much time to work with!
I was greeted by Dixie and Sam. At the respectable age of 11, Dixie the Border Collie + Shetland Sheepdog cross can only be described as an absolute darling.
I love older dogs as they always seem to possess a sense of wisdom and understanding that the younger ones have yet to discover. Dixie is no exception, this girl is super smart!
Her younger companion, Sam, is a Labrador + Kelpie mix and just a baby at two years old. He’s rather tennis ball obsessed, and for about the first 15 minutes this was my view as he dashed off down the paddock retrieving his beloved ball again and again.
It wasn’t all blurry running-through-the-grass shots though, he stopped for moments of focus and concentration as he eagerly waited for his ball to be thrown.
Even when it was time to go back up to the house for some more relaxed shots, he still wanted to bring his beloved ball along for the ride!
We decided to put Sam in the house for a little while to settle (as his Mum says “Sam doesn’t have an off button”) while I concentrated on Miss Dixie for a while instead. When the bushfires came through, the family decided to stay and do all they could to save their house. It proved the right decision; while most of the unattended houses in the street were unfortunately destroyed; they managed to defend and save theirs, even after a couple of very close calls! The doggies were safely tucked away inside during the inferno, the best place for them to be. After hearing horror stories of other families, livestock and homes that hadn’t been so lucky, I’m so glad these guys managed to save their house and their beloved dogs.
Dixie actually came with the house when they bought it, many years ago! The old owners moved on and she stayed put, so Danielle and her husband inherited her along with the property. She was an outside dog with a rather bad habit of chasing cars up until they took over, but she now has run of the house and is very well behaved. What a good turn of luck for Dixie!
When Sam came along a few years later, she took a little while to warm up to his crazy puppy ways. I’m glad to report though that they are now firm friends.
And at eleven years old, when having a game of rough and tumble in the paddock with Sam, it’s good to see Dixie gives as good as she gets! She leaves the maniacal running in circles to the younger of the pair like the smart girl she is, and instead carefully chooses her moment to pounce and attack! The light was a little low to get sharp action shots, but these should give you an idea of the two at play.
After a good ball session as well as a play session with Dixie, Sam was finally ready to settle down and do some serious modelling for me.
What a star!
His cooperation had to be rewarded of course. Sam’s other favourite thing to do? Like many dogs lucky enough to live in the country, swimming in the dam of course! We trekked off down the paddock, Sam leading the way.
It wasn’t exactly a warm day, in fact, I’d consider it pretty cold – but I do hail from from the Gold Coast! If the air temperature was anything to go by, the water in the dam must have been freezing. Sam didn’t hesitate for a second though. Seeking out an old tennis ball he must have stashed away for this very occasion, he proceeded to dump it at our feet then swim around eagerly waiting for it to to be thrown. Definitely a water baby at heart!
I think Sam would have happily done this for the rest of the day, but we thought we better get him out of the water and back up to the warm house and a nice dry towel!
I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to see some of the countryside around Melbourne as well as the city itself. I’m even more glad to have met this special family and their dogs! Thanks for having me guys, oh and special thanks for the amazing coffee and muffin afterwards, delicious!