'Heartbreaking': Kelpie becomes casualty of drought
HE WAS a beloved family pet, champion showjumper and hard-working farm dog, but Jimmy the kelpie has been reduced to a casualty in the face of the drought.
Jimmy has found himself stranded in Coffs Harbour - a far cry from the last eight years he's spent herding sheep on a central-west farm.
His family, who owned the farm near Bathurst, are now a statistic. They've been forced to sell their entire land and stock as the drought continues to bear down on the state.
Jimmy and his fellow seven working kelpies are a sacrifice the farming family has been forced to make, like many others who face the harsh reality of selling or shooting their animals.
Family friend Lea Wulf has been rehoming the kelpies, selling all but Jimmy, who has been staying under the care of Tarraray Pet Retreat.
"He had the farm for generations but because of the drought and the complications that come with it, the farmer had to retire a lot earlier than planned," she said.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking. People sit down to their steak at night and they have no idea. These people are being forced to sell their stock and farm, even their dogs, and what's left?
"We thought we found a home for Jimmy in Moonee Beach but unfortunately the person pulled out, so he's been left stranded."
Ms Wulf, who hails from the central-west, urged residents not to take Coffs Harbour for granted.
"It's important people don't just think, 'Oh, the poor farmers are doing it tough.' It's not just the farmers. It's their families, their kids, pets, even the land itself," she said.
"Imagine having thousands of acres and watching it slowly dry up until it's nothing. All of a sudden your whole life is taken up by the constant feeding of the stock, yet they're still starving because the food has to be brought in.
"Don't take it for granted that Coffs is so blessed with this environment, there is still water and green grass."
With the whole state officially in drought, countless fundraisers such as the Buy a Bale campaign have been thrust into the spotlight.
"Australia is picking up their socks now. It makes me teary - the guts of Australia are finally starting to get the message."
Eight-year-old Jimmy is desexed, microchipped and vaccinated, and because he's retired he doesn't require a large yard. To find out more, phone Lea Wulf on 0429000749.
"Jimmy is just a sweetheart and he deserves more," MsWulf said.