My Paws In Life Story: Bree Butler

I had to cheat on my dog to know how good I had it


A little about me

As is the common theme, I have been animal obsessed from a very young age. The story about my upbringing really highlights a lot of mistakes and missed opportunity. So if you read in horror... don’t worry, I do too.  

I grew up with two crazy pooches Jenna (German short haired pointer)  and Melody (liver spot Dalmatian).

We got Jenna as a 7 week old puppy, the family that was suckered into buying a dog when we weren’t ready because “she’s the runt so we’re going to get rid of her”. I remember being 7 years old, she travelled home on my mums lap and I was besotted! I had those butterflies in my stomach that made me want to squeal and squeeze something all at the same time. I was busting to spend all my time with her. I just thought she was the coolest chick out. As it goes, she was swarmed with attention while she was cute and small. I had this picture in my head about how she would follow me around and play with me the way I liked to play. But as her cute factor dwindled and we realized she didn’t particularly like cuddles or following us around or playing games we wanted to play. We were left with a spoilt, underworked monster. She would howl when ever she was alone, lick the back door obsessively,  run and run and escape and run. We all thought she was crazy! 


So ‘naturally’ the family thought we should get her company... in charges monster number 2. 1 year old Mel was our super sweet cuddle muncher, she was the dog that would sit next to you when you cried, put her head on your shoulder, super sweet... but with super sweet comes super b*tch. She was boundary territorial, resource guarded almost everything and quite a cranky pants to other dogs that came too close on lead... I remember coming home from school to find her and Jenna “arguing” over a stick they found. That was the first time I really saw dogs communicate so clearly. I was both fascinated and sh*t scared all at the same time. Luckily, they stopped with just a few minor battle wounds each.


Any way as I got older and started my career in the animal industry (a story for another time), I realised how little we had done for our beloved pets. And so started my obsession with animal care.

My Molly

So, I met this guy, fell in love blah blah blah. Along with the package came this stunningly good natured Kelpie x named Molly. Unlike many other kelpies I had met at the time she was fairly calm, easy going, attentive,  but a little fetch obsessed. She hung around us off lead, was great with other dogs, great with kids, the real essence of well socialised. However, like many Kelpies she was a single owner type of gal. She loved hanging out with me, she would come when called, sit up next to me nice and close, but as soon as my husband walked through to door I didn’t exist. She would even go as far as to sit in between us on the stairs and push me away! (Side note, not sure that’s her actual intentions but that’s how I felt). She came everywhere with us. She would come camping with us and sleep at our feet, if we were going to a friends place she came with us, even if we were just going for a drive to get take away she would hop in the back for company. She was just so easy, and I had never met anything like her.

IMG_9049 2.jpeg

The other dog

A few years passed and she was the same old Molly pants. I was working at the animal welfare league and a litter of puppies was born. They were super cute, the mum was lovely with us and I talked about them all the time. My in-laws were considering getting a dog, so they thought why not get one from the litter that I raved about. In comes Poppy. My goodness did she take over our lives. Poppy was that dog everyone talks about when they say “you get the dog you need”. To be honest, I’m not really ready to tell the story about Poppy and I… In short, I had so much connection with this dog, but she was not my dog to connect with, and I was not ready for her. I was ready to leave the animal industry all together because the emotional roller coaster was too much.


Crawling back to my pup

After all the heart ache and turmoil that is Poppy, I was getting some much needed advice from Lauren Hoyle and some other amazing trainers I know. I started to bring Molly along to training, I forgot how amazing she was. My 11 year old beauty, restored my belief in training being fun. She is such a sweet girl, she trotted along next to me as we did loose leash walking, she held position even when I walked away. She is so easy, that I took her for granted last time. That won’t happen again. She may not be the perfect dog for me but she is exactly what I need right now. When I come home from work she greets me with such a warm welcome that it was like I had never strayed from her. I still cant believe that all it took to find my passion for training again, was to have some fun with a dog thats always been there for me. She is a real stunner.

Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. - Sophia Loren