By Charles Wade-Palmer
Is there anything this super six pack of Golden Retrievers cannot do?
From bottle feeding lamb to cleaning the car, Scottish Kath Outerson has trained her troop of intelligent dogs to carry out the most remarkable tasks.
After moving to New Zealand with partner Paul 12 years ago, former Shepherdess Kath was diagnosed Bell’s Palsy and has trained her chore-loving dogs beyond belief.
Kath said: “I try and teach them fun and amusing things all the time.
“When my back hurts so much that I can’t bend down it’s great to get the dogs to empty the washing machine into the basket and hand it to me so I can hang it on the line outside.
“It’s also great that when I feed them they pick up the bowls and bring them to me to get washed, they will even tidy up their toys and put them in the toy basket.”
Kath and Paul moved to the other side of the world via The Isle of Man with one Golden Retriever, Buddy who started the superstar family but has since died.
Dogs Bracken and his daughter, Breagha have gone one step further than household chores after Kath trained them both to feed lambs- holding a milk bottle in their mouth.
Kath said: “I have trained Bracken to do some amusing chores and also his daughter, Breagha.
“Bracken is the pet lamb feeder but his daughter was also learning I just never got a video.
“Bracken has been in school helping children with reading as has Breagha and Yissa, they also teach safety around dogs in school.”
Breagha is the only puppy of Bracken’s that Kath kept while the others went into a life of service as mobility dogs in New Zealand and Australia.
Life took a dramatic turn for Kath when her sight, speech and hearing rapidly declined and was told she had Bell’s Palsy.
Although she already liked to teach her dogs tricks, their help around the house suddenly became a whole lot more useful.
“In Scotland I started off as a shepherdess, I was promoted to tractor driver and then became a farm supervisor on a government farm in The Isle Of Man.
“I used to drive tractors here and worked for a contractor.
“One day I had dizziness and ended up in the doctors lying on the bed with a suspected stroke, it turned out to be Bells Palsy.
“This is really not a big deal for some people but for me I never recovered.
“I would get flashing lights in my eyes, my speech had disappeared, my sight was off and my hearing was insane- I could not handle noise.
“I was incapable of living the life that I was used to, I got extremely depressed and felt my life had gone.
“One day at an all time low I looked at my dogs and they looked at me and I knew then that they were not judging me.
“It was then things turned around I started learning the silent language of dogs and proceeded to
sit a Dog Behaviourist Diploma.
“I was very capable of training dogs as being a shepherdess I had to work and train my dogs but training and behaviour are completely different.
“I am now a qualified dog behaviourist from the British College of Canine Studies.
“At the same time Mobility Assistance phoned me and asked if I would be interested in working with them.
“As this was the exact time I realised how important dogs are in people’s lives I agreed and so continued to work with them.
“That’s when I started taking my dogs into school to help children with reading problems this proved a great success.”
Kath’s partner Paul works as a caretaker at the same school but the pair are hopeful of a return to Scotland bringing their six pack with them.