Kebo finds a happy home in Hobart
WINEMAKER James Broinowski’s kelpie cross Kebo doesn’t just look like Red Dog, he also shares a bit of the same unknown history. James doesn’t know how old Kebo is but guesses he is probably fi ve or six. All he knows is that when he came across him, Kebo was a dog desperately in need of an owner – and in James and his sister Lucinda, Kebo got that in spades.
Adopting Kebo wasn’t your run- of- the- mill process, was it?
Not quite. Kebo had been severely abused as a puppy. He was forcibly removed from his owners and taken into care and adopted by a winemaking student in Adelaide who lived with a bunch of other students.
The house they all lived in had a predisposition as a share house for winemakers, so as I was also studying viticulture, two years into living in Adelaide I moved into this house.
By this stage, Kebo’s owner had already packed up and gone but had organised for one of the other flatmates to look after him.
Soon after I moved in, Kebo’s new owner had fi nished her studies and was about to move away and asked whether I wanted to look after him.
Just one look at Kebo – he was such a broken dog at that stage, completely skittish, impossible to walk – I knew it would be a lot of hard work but I took him on willingly.
I love animals, especially dogs, and even though I wasn’t really in a position to look after an animal at that stage, I realised someone needed to take him and teach him to trust.
In the midst of my studies I defi nitely didn’t have the resources or time. Luckily, when I bought him to Hobart one summer, my sister Lucinda just fell in love with him and she has been the biggest infl uence in transforming him.
Can you elaborate on that transformation?
The way I see it, thanks to Lucinda, Kebo’s gone from being in a pretty horrible situation of being too scared to even go out the front door, owing to the abuse in his earlier years, to now being able to enjoy the whole of Tasmania as his backyard.
Lucinda is always trying her hands at new things. One of the most recent was working on a dairy farm up on the North- West and Kebo went along with her to get a taste of doing what he was intended for: farm work.
When I fi rst moved into that house in Adelaide, if someone knocked on the front door, Kebo would run to the furthest corner of the backyard and cower in the corner – he was just petrifi ed of people. He was almost impossible to walk on the lead and would almost choke himself tugging against it.
Lucinda is just amazing with animals, though, and through time and patience their relationship is one of the best I’ve ever seen between a dog and owner.
He just happily walks off the leash next to her wherever she goes and she’s even training him to be a proper sheep dog, to be able to work and also compete in shows.
What’s great about having Kebo?
The word Kebo is a translation of “wind” in one of the indigenous dialects of South Australia.
Until I decided to adopt him, he was a little bit like the wind, drifting from place to place. When I see him now and all the time and effort Lucinda has put in with him, I get great satisfaction out of knowing this life is what Kebo deserves.