Julie Blackburn

I have had Australian Shepherds now since 1999 since falling in love with a famous red tri-coloured boy at a show. My first Aussie was a rescue, which I homed as a companion for my rescue GSD bitch. With hindsight, he should probably never have been rehomed, as he was totally unpredictable and could be aggressive even to people he knew well.

We were never supported through our years together by the rescue co-ordinator at the time, and he was very much a learning curve for me. We had good days and bad, and people actually stopped coming to the house, as we never knew what he was going to do next. I was probably the only person in the world that loved him, and love him I did…. He was sadly put to sleep in 2001 with a spinal tumour and I miss him every day.

I decided to put what I had learned from him into practice, and when the job for rescue co-ordinator came up with ASCUK in 2002 I decided to "give it a go". If I could prevent or support anyone else going through what I had it, it would be worth it and I have never looked back.

Here I am 10 years on with over 50 Australian Shepherds having been re-homed. I have only ever had 2 Aussies back, and they have gone on to be homed again with success. Over the last two years there has been a large increase in the need for rescue, and the breed clubs have become increasingly busy. Both breed club rescue co-ordinators are working closely together now to support one another and find suitable homes for unwanted Aussies.

With a full time job and family, time is limited but I wouldn’t swap being involved in rescue for anything. The feeling you get when a dog settles in a new home….. well, there is nothing quite like it.