By Alesha Capone
Werribee’s Jayde Weil says that donating her time to help dogs affected by the bushfires was an emotional but rewarding experience.
Miss Weil, a dog washer and groomer, is an Aussie Pooch Mobile franchisee.
During the bushfires last month, Aussie Pooch Mobile offered to pay accommodation and fuel of franchisees who could volunteer their time to help dog owners affected by the fires.
Accompanied by her partner Jayden, Miss Weil made the four-hour drive to Wodonga, to help families who had left their homes and were living at Australian Defence Force barracks.
Across a weekend, Miss Weil bathed ash-covered dogs who had been evacuated alongside their families.
She and Jayden set up the Aussie Pooch Mobile trailer at the Bonegilla Migrant Experience, which provided them with free power and water to wash the dogs.
Miss Weil said one Shitsu, who was covered in grey ash, emerged from the bath pure white, prompting the owner to burst into tears.
“It was an awesome experience to be able to learn people’s stories, people were so thankful and so grateful, even though I wasn’t really doing that much,” Miss Weil said.
Miss Weil also took a bag of dog collars, bandanas and leads, donated by her aunt Simmon.
Miss Weill said that on the trip to Wodonga, the smoke from the bushfires became so thick that she struggled to breathe.
While washing dogs in her trailer, planes flew overhead to drop red-coloured fire retardant and army helicopters, planes and trucks travelled by.
“It was like something out of the end of the world,” Miss Weils aid.
“It was very intense and very scary.”