Docklands’ social connectors and neighbourhood helpers

Docklands’ social connectors and neighbourhood helpers
Kaylah Joelle Baker

For Eva Yal and Meryl Liew, their time in Docklands would have been a very different experience without their two loyal and loving West Highland Terriers – Olaf and Yarra.

Adopting Olaf from a friend who was leaving the country, only to feel there was more room left in their hearts and homes for another addition to their family, the couple sought out the same breeder for another Westie.

“We really love the temperament of Olaf and wanted someone in the same bloodline as her, so we got Yarra through the same breeder and Olaf is actually Yarra’s auntie,” Meryl said.

“Yarra’s name came about because of how much we love living in the area and because of the amount of walks we did around the water during lockdown.”

While both are different, with six-year-old Olaf being more quiet and gentle compared to the nearly one-year-old Yarra, they have been a “good addition” to Meryl and Eva’s Docklands townhouse during lockdowns.

“They are really great dogs and they have changed our lives a lot,” Meryl said.

“Through lockdown they have provided us with a lot of emotional and psychological support and having two extra-cute dogs running around is always definitely a plus.”

While adding so much to the couple’s lives, the greatest benefits have been their Westies’ abilities to connect with anyone and everyone in the community.

“Because of them we have made a lot of friends which has made the neighbourhood a very good place to be,” Meryl said.

“Without them we would have not been able to bridge the social gaps you have in a lot of modern suburbs where you barely know the people living around you. We now have a great support network because the dogs have helped us to meet more people and extend our social circle.”

In addition to making great friends at the readily available open spaces and dog parks within the area, Olaf’s and Yarra’s sensitivity to their surroundings has also been of great help within the area.

“A couple of months back when our neighbour’s dog ran out in the middle of the night, Olaf and Yarra started barking and we were wondering what was happening, so we decided to look around,” Meryl said.

“Because of them we managed to find our neighbour’s dog running around on the street, and chased it. Without Olaf and Yarra our neighbour’s dog could have gone missing.”

As true local heroes for the night, the dynamic duo has only continued to prove the benefits of fluffy friends cin Docklands. •

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