Stock dogs a saviour in the bush

Work­ing dog char­ity to sup­port Be­yond Blue

South Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY - AN­DREA DAVY An­drea.davy@ru­ral­ .

THE hard­est thing for Wayne Flintham about los­ing a mate to sui­cide was that he did not even re­alise his friend was strug­gling.

“I think I rang him on the phone a week be­fore Christ­mas and I didn’t pick up on it at all,” he said.

“Ob­vi­ously he needed help, but we couldn’t pick it up.

“It def­i­nitely shook me up and every­one else who knew him too.”

To try and im­prove men­tal health in ru­ral ar­eas, Wayne’s Aus­tralian Stock­dogs Magazine is host­ing dog schools across the coun­try that will fundraise for Be­yond Blue.

So far train­ers, as well as keen par­tic­i­pants, have been locked in for the week­end schools that will be rolled out through March and May.

All Wayne needs now is some cor­po­rate spon­sors to help cover the lo­gis­ti­cal costs for live­stock trans­port, venue hire and hay.

The goal is to run schools in ev­ery state and raise a min­i­mum of $30,000 for Be­yond Blue. It’s a mam­moth task, and am­bi­tious tar­get to reach, but Wayne is qui­etly con­fi­dent for suc­cess.

“Ru­ral men­tal health is some­thing every­one needs to talk about,” he said.

“Work­ing dog schools bring the bush peo­ple out, so hope­fully we have a speaker at each event and at lunch time they can talk about their ex­pe­ri­ences and tell peo­ple where they can find help.

“We are prob­a­bly tar­get­ing this at the in­di­vid­ual, but it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that friends, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties are im­pacted by this.”

The Aus­tralian Stock­dogs Magazine launched the fundraiser by post­ing an emo­tive video of Wayne talk­ing about his own grief when his friend, Wayne Tibbs, died by sui­cide in 2015.

Since then com­ments, as well as per­sonal sto­ries from peo­ple in the bush who have bat­tled anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion, have flooded through to Wayne’s of­fice.

“We are go­ing to run them in the magazine,” he said.

The sto­ries, which are in­cred­i­bly pow­er­ful, have a com­mon theme.

“Peo­ple are talk­ing about dogs, in some way, help­ing them through their low­est points,” he said.

“In the ru­ral in­dus­try we deal through floods, drought, you know there has been the dairy cri­sis just re­cently and there was the live ex­port ban a while ago.

“Al­though there are highs and lows in ev­ery in­dus­try, the ru­ral in­dus­try seems to cop a re­ally bad rap.”

Al­ready some of Aus­tralia’s best train­ers, in­clud­ing dog tri­alling cham­pion Paul Rowe, have come on board with the ini­tia­tive.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the char­ity event, visit the Aus­tralian Work­ing Stock Dog Face­book page. Those want­ing to sup­port the event can con­tact Wayne by email­ing wayne@stock­

Visit 186144442 to see their video.


HELP­ING OUT: The Aus­tralianWork­ing Stock Dog Magazine is or­gan­is­ing dog schools across the coun­try to raise money for Be­yond Blue.

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