Getting the Colliewobbles

Liz Bell

A DOG-walking group that began in Melbourne in 2014 and has spread across the state is on its way to Sale to provide ‘Sheltie’ and Rough Collie dog owners with a social and canine-focused excuse to get together.

The success of the first Colliewobbles social dog-walking group four years ago inspired founder Philip Cassap to reach out to other Shetland Sheepdog and Rough Collie owners around Victoria, with the result being a new group forming in Shepparton earlier this year, the Surf Coast in July, a trial run in Mornington two weeks ago, and a Sale group set to start up later this year.

The Melbourne group’s original focus was to socialise and rehabilitate neglected and abused dogs rescued from non-compliant breeding kennels, by creating the breed specific social dog walking group.

The social walking group, which has more than 400 members from all over the state who meet every month, has now expanded into a registered charity, a rescue group with a dedicated foster care network.

Tails will be wagging in Sale on Sunday, September 22, when the first official Colliewobbles social walk comes to Gippsland.

With the Wellington Shire’s approval, organisers are hoping to hold an 11am social stroll around Lake Guthridge, finishing with refreshments and a chance to meet and greet other Sheltie and Collie owners and their dogs.

Sale Sheltie owner Steve Reason said he and wife Louise jumped at the opportunity to join Colliewobbles four years ago, and have been happy to travel to Melbourne for the walks because they offered “a safe and friendly environment” for the socialisation of owners and their family pets, rescued and re-homed Collies and Shelties.

The Reasons, well known, proud and passionate Sheltie owners, are with their two Blue Merle Shetland Sheepdogs, Nessie and Myrtle, and their more recent ‘adoptee’ Winnie, regulars at social events around the shire.

“We go to a lot of social things in the shire and we always take our dogs,” Louise said.

“If there’s an event on and dogs are allowed, we generally go.”

Steve said breed-specific dog walking groups such as Colliewobbles were popular because owners could swap experiences and tips with others who shared a love of dogs with similar temperaments and behaviours.

The Reasons are also involved in East Gippsland Dog Obedience Club, but said the opportunity to purely walk and socialise in controlled environments with their beloved pets was an important element of Colliewobbles.

Owners of Rough or Smooth Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs are welcome to join the Sale walks with their four-legged companions.

The social walking group is not affiliated with dog clubs or associations, and charges no joining fees, however, owners are asked to follow simple dog behaviour rules to ensure the enjoyment of all, so that Colliewobbles can continue to provide a friendly and welcoming environment for owners and their pooches.

Colliewobbles Rescue and Rehoming Australia’ Inc is a registered charity and dog rescue group working with Animal Welfare Victoria, shelters, authorities and other welfare organisations.

For details, email philip.crra@yahoo.com or visit one of the websites, www.colliewobbles.net.au and rescue on www.crra.net.au.

Colliewobbles also has a Facebook page for those interested in joining which provides up-to-date information with regards to the group’s various walks.