Meet Margaret River’s winery dogs

(ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He is a bundle of infectious energy. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He’s been around the winery longer than a lot of the staff and is a bit of a celebrity in his own right. He’s a calming presence who tends not to move too quickly these days but we couldn’t imagine life on the vineyard without him.— Jo Evans, ownerSolstice the dingo-heeler

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Solstice loves a belly rub. — Hannah Mackay, ownerBear the black Labrador

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Bear is a calming presence in the vineyard. She is the meeter and greeter. Vintage is underway in the vineyards across the Margaret River region of Western Australia and, just as they do each year, four-legged friends play a pivotal role in keeping stress levels down as the workers toil under the blazing sun. I think it’s important to have a dog around the vineyard and we can’t imagine life without Rex.— owner Debbie Gallagher, ownerSonny the beagle

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Sonny is full of beans and the vineyard is his playground. — Mike Peterkin, owner Video: Meet Margaret River's winery dogs and watch them at work

(ABC News)
Boallia the kelpie collie

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Boallia keeps an eye on vineyard workers. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He’s a calming influence on everyone and has the ability to slow everything down when it’s at its busiest. He loves getting out among the vines and checking everything out; it’s like one big playground for him. He’s as much a part of the winery as the vines themselves. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
Bear is a constant companion around the vineyard for my husband, who often works alone. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
He’s just pure love and we are blessed to have him in our lives here. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
Willow and Pinsky play a very important role for us. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
The workers just gravitate towards her throughout the day for a cuddle or pat. (ABC Rural: Anthony Pancia)
Jessie loves to lounge around on the cellar door floor where it’s nice and cool and the guests love to see her there. She just has that ability to keep everyone happy. — Danica Bettany, ownerWillow and Pinsky

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Willow and Pinsky are ice breakers and prompt conversation among winery visitors. They act as an ice-breaker with customers, which in turn makes it a lot easier to start conversations. She’s got a beautiful temperament and will never say no to a nice rub down, which seems to help as the stress levels start to ramp up throughout vintage. I see our workers having a great old time with him and Solstice is always happy to roll over and get a nice rub on the belly. There’s no doubt his presence acts as a stress relief.— Vanya Cullen, ownerHamish the terrier

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Hamish is a bit of a celebrity at his winery. They add a nice homely touch and add to the overall atmosphere. — Emily Bromell, cellar door managerRex the Staffordshire terrier

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Rex is able to slow everything down in the vineyard and bring calm. — Ute Kurys-Romer, ownerJessie the chocolate Labrador

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Jessie enjoys meeting and greeting winery visitors. He’s getting on in years, so is not as active as he once was, but our customers and workers just love going up and giving his belly a big scratch.
ABC Rural

Photos by Anthony Pancia

Updated

March 10, 2017 10:19:26
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Margaret River 6285

Story Dogs helping develop young bookhounds

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“It is fun — and that is really what it’s all about.”Seven-year-old Taylor Jovanovic had been finding reading “a bit difficult” but said she loved reading to the Story Dogs and the volunteers. Photo:
Story Dog teams operate at schools right across Australia. One of those volunteers is Christina MacAulay, who comes to St Vincent’s every week with her dog Jasmine. A nationwide program that sees children reading aloud to dogs is building their confidence and improving their literacy. “The more Story Dogs we have, the more children would get the opportunity to build their confidence as readers,” she said.”We know there are a lot of dog lovers out there and a lot of people like myself who have retired and are probably looking for something different to do.”The children love it, the dogs love it and the volunteers love it as well.” Lindy Etteridge is the coordinator of Story Dogs for the Rockingham and Kwinana area in Western Australia.Every week, she brings her dog Poppy to St Vincent’s Primary School for one-on-one reading sessions with some of the children.She has seen some remarkable improvements in the children who read to the dogs.”One of the dogs was listening to a selectively mute child read,” she told ABC Radio Perth.”Over the year the child went from refusing to read, then would only read if the volunteer didn’t listen, to actually reading fluently in front of the volunteer and dog.”Dogs don’t judge or correctMs Etteridge said children who have been struggling to read suddenly feel confident in front of a dog.”A dog is non-judgmental, it is not going to bark if they get a word wrong. (ABC South East SA: Kate Hill)
“We have a number of dogs that we are waiting to assess to see if they are suitable, to try and get a few more into schools next term,” Ms Etteridge said. “Sometimes my parents would go and do other stuff and I wouldn’t have time to read to them,” she said.”She’s [the Story Dog] nice, she’s kind and she helps with words.”Story Dogs sought afterStory Dogs is reliant on volunteers willing to bring their dogs to school and organisers are keen to recruit more. “We have a normal routine at home, but once Jasmine has her jacket on she knows that it is time to work,” Ms MacAulay said.She said she hoped more people would consider joining Story Dogs.
(ABC News) ABC Radio Perth

By Hilary Smale and Emma Wynne

Posted

March 10, 2017 10:43:51

Video: Story Dogs are helping kids gain confidence in reading.
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