December 7th, 2022Woofin’ wonderful: Trentham’s pin-up pooches
Words: Eve Lamb; Image: Kyle Barnes
DOG owners and their woofers out Trentham way are on the front paw for the new year ahead, releasing a doggedly handsome 2023 calendar in pursuit of a pooch-pleasing project.
The Dogs of Trentham are a group of local dog owners who want to see a council- endorsed public space provided in which to safely exercise dogs – off leash – in their patch.
Towards realising their goal they’ve just produced the Dogs of Trentham 2023 calendar featuring 12 local pooches posing in front of the town’s landmarks.
“The Dogs of Trentham is a small committee that we set up about this time last year,” says local dog owner and Dogs of Trentham president, psychologist Dr Kerry Proctor.
She says that in particular they hope to progress a vision, with Hepburn Shire Council’s support, to trial a block of land in Trentham’s Victoria Street for use as a safe and fenced off-leash dog park.
In the meantime, an agreement has been reached to trial two small temporary spaces at the Market Street Reserve after the group met with Mayor Cr Brian Hood and Infrastructure director Bruce Lucas last Friday.
Dr Proctor, said while it was not ideal “but a step in the right direction while a decision being made on a permanent site in the 2023-2024 Master Plan”.
She says that having somewhere off leash for local dogs to exercise safely is not just essential for the dogs’ health but also for their owners’ health and social
connectivity as well.
Over previous months, a large number of dog owners had been using the Market Street Reserve to exercise their dogs off-lead with many friendships formed in the process.
But the little central reserve also accommodates public toilets, tennis courts and a children’s playground as well, and its ongoing use as an off-lead dog exercise space has become vexed, with some conflict arising between its multiple public uses.
“The council received a complaint from a member of the public, and last December put up a sign saying ‘No Dogs Off Leash’ at the Market Street Reserve,” Dr Proctor says.
“In April the council unanimously voted in recognition of the need for an off-leash dog park and it’s now in their strategic master plan.”
The Dogs of Trentham group then identified the Victoria Street land as an ideal site to trial as an off-lead park – big enough to accommodate dogs of all sizes.
“The block of land at 14 Victoria Street has been bequeathed to the council for community use. It’s a perfect size. It just needs to be fenced,” Dr Proctor says.
“We want to get formal approval from the council to initially trial it as a temporary park. We’ve costed it and we believe it can be fenced for under $20,000.
We’ve got a lot of support for it. We ran a petition and we got 450 signatures in two weeks.”
Negotiations between the council and the group have been taking place, and the Community Bank Trentham & Districts has provided $3500 to print the calendar that’s now being sold to raise dollars which dog owners hope can eventually go towards fencing the Victoria Street site.
Trentham photographer, and dog owner, James Walshe donated his time and considerable expertise to take the shots which feature in the calendar – all of them local dogs including Dr Proctor’s boxer dog, Crumpet (aka Miss March), and James’ border collie Paddy (aka Mr May).
“It was a bit of fun,” said James whose professional background as a photographer includes photographing animals for Guide Dogs Victoria and for the RSPCA as well.
“The cover shot has four dogs in one shot and I thought it might prove a bit difficult to get them all looking in the right direction at once. But they behaved beautifully,” James said.
Admittedly some tasty payola helped James out while on location, and now the $20 calendars are being rapidly snapped up.
“We had 450 calendars printed and I think about 250 of them have already sold within a week,” Dr Proctor says.
Copies of the calendar are available at the Trentham Post Office, the Community Bank Trentham & Districts and via the Dogs of Trentham Facebook page. They’ll also be for sale at the town’s December 17 market – “and also some street stalls that we’ll also be having between now and the market,” Dr Proctor says.