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Leanne and John have lots of pets at Avoca Park. They all have a unique tale of how they became part of the Avoca Park family. This page is dedicated to our furry (and feathered) co-workers and their unique stories.


Crosbie had very big shoes to fill on his arrival at Avoca Park as a puppy. His predecessors, Mitchell and Baxter had both been a cross of bulldog with something else and these two one after the other had accompanied Leanne to every competition for the proceeding 20 + years. These Avoca Park boy dogs had a job to do… Keep Leanne safe in her competition travels.

JSo the hunt began for the replacement, medium sized bulldog cross to take over the reins of “truck mascot”

It wasn’t such an easy find and especially now as crossbred dogs have now turned into breeds and the asking price well exceeds the meaning of a cross bred. We looked at all sorts of combinations but the one that stood out was the American Bulldog x Labrador, the funny thing was they were now called “Bulladors” and the asking price was around the $2800.00 mark and of course advertised as POA.

We hunted and hunted and eventually found a litter of American Bulldog x Labrador pups on Gumtree they were reasonably priced, both parents available for viewing, the family had 3 small children of which all dogs and puppies had been exposed to.

I did show my Veterinarian girlfriend photos at the time and her immediate response was “don’t touch them, they look like potential sheep killers”. Luckily, I didn’t take any notice of the comment but did promise not to take money with me when I went to look at the puppies. I did have my fingers crossed at the time and I did come home with one white male puppy with a patch over each eye.

He is the perfect truck companion and as soon as he hears the truck door he is there ready to get in, even if it is only to sit in the cabin for the whole day.

Our Crosbie is a really cool dude who LOVES everyone especially if you have some food.

We have a saying “Crosbie looks like an American Bulldog but eats like a Labrador”


We had recently lost our Rottweiler, Eliza to cancer, she was 11 years old and it was her second hit with the Big C, the first time was when she was 3 and at that stage we had to amputate a hind leg for her to survive…. And she did, for another 8 years, this was apparently unheard of, luck was shining on us and her. ????

Eliza was our third Rotty and the second one to be taken by cancer so we decided we weren’t going back again for a 4th time.

So, this got me looking on the internet to find a female puppy. I scrolled through rehoming sites looking for something that would be suitable for us here at Avoca Park.

Then I saw her, I little tan pup with a patch over 1 eye….

I contacted the re-homers and had to fill in a questionnaire..

Will your puppy have a friend?

Will your puppy sleep in the house?

How big is the property she will live on?

Will your puppy have a canine friend?

Will your puppy have human company throughout the day?

Etc, etc, etc.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but we are perfect candidates for puppy adoption, the answers to all the above questions were “yes” and “large”.

I was then allowed to go and visit her, I took my money because realistically, who can walk away from a puppy!!

So home she came with me, I had named her Audrey prior to pick-up. And on her paperwork it said “tan runt”

Audrey, was the smallest of 9 puppies, a litter that was surrendered at 6 weeks, it was asked that the owners would keep the puppies on the Mum a little longer but that was not to happen.

Audrey was taken out of the litter immediately; she was to be hand fed to enable her to catch up in size to her siblings. She also a minor eye injury where one of her siblings had knocked her.

She went off to the foster carer who hung her over her shoulder for the next few weeks and also bottle fed her. We took over her care from 9 weeks.

Little did we know we took on the puppy who would never understand no, as it had never been said to her, had no social skills with other dogs because there had been no siblings to interact with and also had a little dominant personality that is extremely tactile for human touch.

Born in 2018, she has now been with us for 2 years, she is a delight to have around even though she still doesn’t understand that the sitting area at the arena, in fact any seat, is not for her bottom too.


Cocky came to us about 5 years ago. We don’t know how old he is but we do know he is older than 33.

He was owned by very good friends of ours who were moving to Sydney and he couldn’t go with them, we offered to take him as we had known him a long time and he had lived in Macclesfield or Emerald for as far back as we could find.

He had been purchased from the Emerald Pet Shop, which in those days was near the Primary School. He was always in a cage out the front of the store and when the kids came past, they would razz him up. You will still notice now that when groups of children go past him, he gets very over stimulated dancing, talking and jumping around.

The plan was, after he was purchased to let him go and that what the attempt to do was but unfortunately Cocky wouldn’t get up off the ground and it was only going to be a matter of time before something tried to kill him.

The release was tried a couple of time, but the same outcome was repeated so a caged bird he stayed… A bigger cage was built for him and a quieter life he was to have with our friends and their 3 boys as they grew up.

We have also noted that he has another persona when he hears raised angry voices, that is, he goes into a drunken like mumbling where you can hear many profanities. What ever the life he lived then it had quite an impact on him.

Now he lives with us, his cage is at the stable block, he has company all the time, whether it be the dogs, stable cats, horses or the Avoca Park Team but for him there is always someone to talk to.

He is a wonderful part of life that we all have at Avoca Park.

Always making us laugh. ????


We needed a cat at the arena to aid us in the health in the arena kitchen due to mice, yuck!!!


What a tall order the requirements had to be….

This particular cat needed to be able to take in his stride many, many different situations.

It needed to –

Like people ie strangers

Not fear dogs

Not be concerned about sleeping at night alone

Not fear cars / bikes / gators

Not fear horses

Not be cat aggressive (as we had 3 others)

And YES, I am a crazy cat lady!!

Not want to wander

So, I decided to ring the animal aid and ask if they had any such cat, the answer I got was “I’m sorry madam, we can’t help you there, you will have to come and choose yourself” well, I know I would want to bring them ALL home so I said “surely not every cat is going to meet that criteria?” the assistant I spoke to said they would check with their manager and I should call back in a couple of hours.. I did and they were able to pick 2 cats out for me.

When I got there they showed me the first one, it was a Tabby and he was walking up and down the aisle way, I thought “he is just going to march straight off our property”

The next one we came to was in an enclosure, he was on the top shelf of the cat climber hanging upside down.

I looked at him and thought “He is the ONE!!”

And he is unique, meets all of our criteria and loved by all, he sleeps in the office, loves the heater and keeps the mice at bay.

He was perfectly picked. ???? ????

Johnny Simpson

I had always wanted a donkey but there had never been the time to put into that desire…

BUT my friends had other ideas. ????

It was 2010, the 24th April to be exact, my birthday.

Also, the day our Great Niece was to be married. I had planned an evening gathering with my nearest and dearest that night.

We went off to the wedding leaving everything as usual and having organised everything for my guests that evening.

Through the wedding ceremony John’s phone kept dinging and following, it rang a couple of times, very unusual for that to be happening and I’d kept looking at him thinking, “turn your phone off, we’re at a wedding”.

We left the wedding, making our way home, stopping to pick up sushi on the way.

We got home about 5pm and I did the final preparations for my friends who were due to arrive at 7pm.

A couple of weird things had happened though, I’d found a used towel in the spare bedroom and one of our doors was open that I felt I had left closed. I just wrote this off John doing it,

I was all ready at 7pm, no one arrived by 7.15pm, 7.30pm or 7.45pm, by this stage I was getting quite annoyed at ALL my friends. I’d said I’m just going to eat. They’re obviously not coming for dinner; John did tell me to settle down at this stage.

At 8.07pm a couple of cars drove down the drive, John said I should go down to the car park to meet them. I said no, I’ll wait till they come up.

In the end they were taking so long I decided to make my way down, as I was walking down our drive, I was about ¾ for the way down, it was quite dark but I could see the silhouettes of people at the end of the drive, then all of a sudden I heard a donkey brae.

I said what is that? My friend yelled “Happy Birthday!”. They had got together and bought me a donkey. And what a day they had had.

Apparently, Sue who lived in Abbotsford had driven to Wonthaggi to pick up her Mum’s car which could tow a float then driven back to Macclesfield where she had met Judy who kept her float at Avoca Park. Here they met Jenny (who had come in and had a shower) after her riding lesson locally and left her horse in one of our stables and Mick who had driven up from Doncaster.

Then they all got in the car and drove 1 hour to the other side Colac, 4½ hours away, to pick up my birthday present… A 7-month-old donkey and here he was.

He was named Johnny Simpson after John Simpson’s Donkey in World War 1 as my birthday is the eve of ANZAC day.

And his name is never to be abbreviated. ????

Our Olive

Our Olive has quite a story and an incredibly lucky one at that….

Olive, as a kitten was dumped, when she was found and taken to the vet the prognosis was not good, she was an extremely sick kitten. The vets said “euthanise her, she is not going to make it”.

Olive that night very lucky, my friend Nadine was the vet nurse on that night as asked if she could please give her a chance. They said “yes” give it a go.

Nadine took Olive home, and a lot of love and care got this little kitten onto the path of health. It took many weeks, but Olive did survive and when ready to be placed in a loving home, I was lining up.

That was in 2001, Our Olive is 9 years old now and loves a chat. She will never be far from the stable block but if she does venture you will often see her sleeping in the sun in the hay shed, on the dummy near our under cover yards but what she loves the most is when she hears us teaching on the out door arena she loves to come up for a visit.

Say HI to her next time, she will love you for it, AND she has the best purr in the world!!!


Oliver had a quite simple introduction to Avoca Park … We needed a couple of cats in our stables. We’d already had our Olive for a couple of days and I traditionally love, love, love things to match. Well, Olive was a medium haired Tabby, so I needed to find myself another Tabby, preferably a male.

So off I went to the local animal aid to see what they had available, I wanted a kitten as Olive was a kitten too and wanted them to grow up together. I went into the kitten enclosure and there was only one Tabby kitten left and luckily, he was male too.

Our Oliver is a medium haired boy who generally is a little timid with strangers but once he gets to know you is incredibly happy to hang out, but only in the stables.

Generally, you will find him up in the rafters, sitting on a stable door or generally up somewhere high but very rarely on the ground.

When you wander through the stables always look up and you may find him hanging around up in the rafters somewhere. ????