AXEL, OSCAR, RALPHIE, WILLOW & BASIL

BREED: Rescue
ARCHITECT: Mckimm

Describe your dogs.

Axel, the first dog we adopted, is boisterous, in-your-face and makes his presence known to anyone that enters our home. He is the leader of the tribe and has no hesitation letting our other dogs (and guests) know. He resembles a dog, but he has definitely been on this earth before. Some of his behaviours are very human-like. Otherwise known as ‘The Front Rower’.

Oscar, the second dog we adopted, is quieter and more of an observer. He prefers to sit back and let the other dogs carry on and make a scene. He is wise and can be a bit of a snob. Otherwise known as ‘The Investor’.

Ralphie (girl with a boy’s name), our third child, is the lover of the bunch. She loves everyone and everything and sees the world through rose-coloured glasses. You can always count on Ralphie. She has a heart of gold. Otherwise known as ‘Walphieeee’.

Willow, our fourth addition, can be quite needy and always has to be near us. She craves affection more than the others, but will suck people in with her pseudo innocence and use and abuse them until she gets what she wants. Her resting bitch face is savage, but she is ridiculously cute. Otherwise known as ‘Moon Face’.

And finally our darling Basil, the most recent addition to the tribe. We adopted Basil at the ripe old age of nine and a half after living his entire life on puppy farms. He is a charming, sweet and regal old man that is making up for lost time. He is always aspiring to live his best life and is a gentle giant who loves his family so very much. He knows he is safe now. Otherwise known as ‘Sir Basil’.

Describe your home.

Our home is only six months old and it is modern, light and bright. We prefer a refined colour palette, so there are lots of neutrals, with more of a play on texture through the use of brick, timber and concrete. Most of our floor to ceiling windows and doors face towards our natural pool area, so a lot of our lines of sight look out onto greenery and water. We like to open them all up when the days are warm and really foster indoor/outdoor living. Despite the chaos that five dogs can bring, our house feels very calm and we really enjoy coming home every day.

What sort of energy do your dogs bring to your home?

Our dogs love to love and you can feel that as soon as you walk through the door. They make the world a better place and are the absolute light of our lives. When entering our home, most people notice the dogs before they notice our home. You are instantly hit with a wave of happiness when five beaming faces are staring up at you. They are the first to greet you and the last to say goodbye.

If the dogs are having a day at the groomer and the house is empty, you really feel their absence. Even when one or two of them are out of the house for a vet appointment, the dynamic completely shifts. The others will wait at the front door and watch the gate waiting for their brothers/sisters to come home and their tribe to be complete again. They all adore each other and pine for one other when they are separated for whatever reason. It’s an absolute joy to witness such limitless love.

Were your dogs considered in any of the design, layout, or choice of finishes for your home?

Absolutely. We purchased the land for our animals (chickens included) as it was right near a fantastic dog park and dog beach and had plenty of space so all of our animals could co-exist. When it came to the design and layout of our home, we wanted everything to be practical, low maintenance and easy for the dogs (and occasionally the humans) to navigate. Our laundry has a ‘dog station’ with a dog wash, lead area, feeding zone and garden access. Whenever too much fun has been had at the beach, we can enter the house through this zone and throw the dogs straight in the dog wash, much to their disappointment. We also carefully considered the fabrics, furniture and finishes to factor in the animals. If you asked the dogs, they would absolutely say that this house was designed, built and furnished for them, not their humans.

What makes your dogs unique?

All five of them have a unique and often heart-wrenching story and are all special in many different ways. When you have five, you can really differentiate between each of their personalities.

Axel can’t control his excitement when someone other than his parents are in his home. He chases his tail and snaps his jaw, so much so that we’ve wondered whether we should get him a mouthguard. Every day is the ‘best day ever’ for Axel.

Oscar gets himself into the most obscure places. We have lost him on a few occasions and found him sleeping in one of the pantry cupboards, in wardrobes and in the bath. He is super clever and often takes hide and seek far too seriously.

Ralphie likes to just sit and stare at you with love-heart eyes. You will be tapping away on your computer and have that feeling sweep over you that you’re being watched - and there is Ralphie sitting and staring at you wagging her tail.

Willow is obsessed with the car. If one of us goes out to the garage, she will sprint out after us and beg to be let inside. We will often let her in and leave the door open and come back a couple of hours later and she is still sitting in the car, presumably assuming we are going to go somewhere without her.

Basil likes his paw to be held. If you are sitting with him, he will often extend his leg to you, so you can hold his paw and then just sit there. Otherwise, if your hands are tied, he will rest it on your shoulder. It’s very sweet.

What is the best thing about rescuing a dog?

The most rewarding part of adopting a dog is when they realise after however long that this is their home. That they are not leaving, that they are safe and not returning to the horrors they have often been subjected too. Sometimes, you will meet a dog in rescue and the hope in their eyes has been completely extinguished. And then, in time, you see the sparkle in their eyes start to return. It is like a switch that flicks in their minds and they become an entirely different dog. Rescue dogs know what you have done for them. They know you have saved their life. And the love they give you in return is limitless and one of the greatest loves to have the pleasure of experiencing.

What do your dogs love most about their new home?

At the moment, it is definitely the hydronic heating! In summer, they love its close proximity to the beach. They really enjoy the water, the sand and they love the sun. They love going swimming when it is warm and then finding the sunniest spots in the house to dry off and sleep. They live their best life together every single day.

What are the biggest obstacles when rescuing a dog?

You need to be patient. Register your name with rescue groups. Sign up to petrescue.com.au. Follow rescue groups on social media. Go to dog adoption days. Don’t fall into the ‘but they are a great breeder’ trap. The perfect dog will come along. And fall in love with the dog, not its breed, not what it looks like.
Fall in love with the dog.