By Danielle Kutchel
A Berwick dog and her human are spreading the word about responsible pet ownership in Casey.
Sasha and her owner Jake from Power Pooches have taken to YouTube to encourage owners to be aware of doggy issues, from behavioural problems to picking up poo.
Jake adopted Sasha just over a year ago after fostering her from The Lost Dogs’ Home.
He quickly noticed they shared some character traits; Jake has ADHD and anxiety, and noticed Sasha exhibited similar behaviours.
She would bark at other dogs and try to run to them while out on walks, which Jake initially put down to Sasha being excited.
“I knew she came with separation anxiety, but I didn’t know her background,” he explained.
He sought the advice of a trainer and found out that Sasha had a fear of other dogs.
“She’s so anxious, she’s trying to scare them away,” he said.
After the diagnosis, he began to recognise the signs in Sasha and learning behaviours to help her.
But it hasn’t been an easy journey.
Jake has been physically assaulted by a man who took issue with his plea to put his dog back on a leash rather than letting it run at Sasha.
It got to the point where Jake was forced to only walk Sasha late at night or early in the morning.
Turning to social media, he discovered that other dog owners were in the same boat, with many dogs feeling anxiety around others.
He and Sasha began to put together videos for Power Pooches’ social media channels to raise awareness about the issue.
“The biggest problem is people automatically think Sasha is untrained. The anxiety has nothing to do with training,” Jake said.
“I was uneducated too – that’s one of the reasons why I started Power Pooches, trying to educate people a little more on the signs.”
One of his most popular videos is a song called ‘Do the PUP’, encouraging owners to pick up their dog’s poo.
Jake said picking up after your dog comes down to being a responsible pet owner.
As a dog walker, he said seeing poo on the footpath is infuriating.
“You know when you go for a walk that your dog is going to do a poo,” he said.
“I don’t care where you are, if there are no bins you take it home.”
The increase in dog walking – and dog messes – during last year’s lockdowns inspired him to pen the song, and on Sasha’s birthday in early June they filmed the video together.
It recently won a City of Casey World Environment Day competition too.
Jake hopes that through his quirky approach to dog behavioural education, other dog owners in Casey might become more aware of the issues faced by so many pooches in the municipality.
To find out more, visit Power Pooches on YouTube or Facebook.