Written by Ingrid Liberté – Director/Founder (JHB/Kennels and work across SA so rescues fly our way)
A deaf white Australian Shepherd named Josh was the catalyst for a much-needed rescue organisation dedicated to helping this magnificent breed.
The show dog secret
Before I started Australian Shepherd SA Rescue Organisation, I used to be in the show world. I was actually planning to breed my beautiful girl, Rosie.
However, Josh, who was a white Aussie from a double-merle* breeding (incorrect breeding) and totally deaf from birth because of it, came through the Aussie Club and we adopted him.
While we were at a show, one of the Australian Shepherd breeders told me that they “cull” – kill – those ones (meaning the over-white ones) at birth. It was then and there I realised the Aussies would need help.
*Merle is a mottled coat pattern and the gene producing this pattern can also cause certain health problems. If two dogs with a merle gene are bred, puppies with two merle genes (i.e. double merle) can be born, doubling the risk of health problems. These include suppressing of pigment cells, deafness, and eye problems.
Choosing to rescue
We stopped showing and sterilised Rosie, as we chose rescue of the breed we love rather than breeding. I started the rescue in January 2012, and my first rescue that month was an Australian Shepherd-Border Collie male named Sam. In May 2012 I registered as an NPC (non-profit company).
I started in Cape Town but worked across South Africa and, if needed, flew dogs to Cape Town or Johannesburg, where I had help with them.
I’ve always aimed to have a farm for them, as I personally don’t believe in kennels for this breed, and, after quite a few places of trial and error, we found the one we are at presently.
In 2016, we decided to move from Cape Town to Gauteng for the rescue. At the end of 2017, we moved to the farm we are on now. We’re now on what we call a proper farm, and the dogs LOVE it.
Because I don’t believe in normal kennels, we have the rescues live in the house with us. Those that don’t get on with other dogs have their own bedrooms that we’re busy fixing up for them. The dogs all have off-lead walks on the farm and play in the swimming pool that we fixed up for them with the help of supporters.
At the moment we’re saving towards two big things: a proper farm of our own and a van (preferably a VW Caddy) for the rescue, as we presently use our private car. We know that, in time, we will reach all our goals and dreams.
Until then we’re very happy where we are and will continue to keep the Aussies happy – my passion and my joy (and grey hair at times, LOL).
How you can help Australian Shepherds in need
Our wish list:
Fridge/freezer for staff
Cupboards for dog blankets
We always need dog food (Montego)
We always need Nexguard (25kg up)
Cement and water-proofing (for pool steps)
Takealot vouchers for food, etc., as they deliver to us
Builders Warehouse vouchers
Branch code: 250655
Account name: ASSARO
Account number: 62434287034
ASSARO Rescue: Ollie’s Story
Professional photography by Keith Lotz Photography
Ollie was a stray who came to us through a rescue organisation in Cape Town. He found a lovely home with Imelda Carstens in December 2014 and is such a happy boy.
During a walk one day, Imelda heard Ollie yelp and saw him come running out of the bush. He landed up at the vet with what they suspected was a snake bite. He couldn’t move and was in a bad way.
His miracle is having a mum that never gave up on him, his own perseverance to get better, and the support of us and friends who also never gave up on him. He really has a strong will to live!
Imelda took him to Pet Wellness Worx in Cape Town for rehabilitation, including physical therapy, underwater therapy and laser. To cut a long story short, Ollie is walking everywhere now and has a best friend in the form of their daughter.
WALKING BACK TO HAPPINESS
By Imelda Carstens, Ollie’s owner
We adopted Ollie from ASSARO in September 2014 as a friend for our Border Collie-mix girl, whom we’d adopted the previous year.
We immediately fell in love with both Ollie and the ASSARO rescue organisation. Founder Ingrid was always available for a chat to help us understand this special breed and share all the goofy things he got up to. (And she always reminds us to send regular updates and photos of “her baby”!)
Just before Christmas 2014, Ollie suddenly became paralysed. We suspected a snake bite, but after visiting three different vet practices, having an MRI, and full bloodwork, we still had no clear indication of what was wrong with him.
In January 2015, we started extensive rehabilitation – as a last resort – with Pet Wellness Worx (PWW). He spent two full days a week from 8PM until 6PM with Lorren Barham and her team.
The whole PWW team fell in love with Ollie, and he loved the attention. Without their support and unwillingness to give up, we would’ve never been able to get through this.
About four months after being paralysed and a month into his rehab, Ollie began walking. Although he relapsed two weeks later, with some hard work he improved and was finally up and running again.
Ollie still goes to PWW for physio and laser treatment from time to time, and we receive regular hello’s just to see how he’s doing.
We’re truly humbled by our Ollie’s courage to never give up and his sheer determination to walk again. Ollie is so loved, and adopting him was the best thing I could ever have done!