Halcyon is a pet friendly lifestyle community, meet some of our furry friends
Halcyon is a pet-friendly lifestyle community, meet some of our furry friends including Larraine Olzard and her fabulous feline, Shadow.
Every afternoon, Larraine sets off on her trike for a leisurely ride around the community with Shadow calmly - and comfortably - sitting right in front of her in his quilt-lined cage.
“I think I’ve created a stir,” she said of the surprised looks she gets as she rides around.
“People do a lot of double-takes. They are fascinated by it and they say, ‘oh it’s a cat in there, not a dog’.
“It’s a really, really lovely experience, Shadow loves it and I love it.”
She’s found that having Shadow along for the ride is a great conversation starter.
“I’ve met people I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise,” she laughed.
“It takes me a while to get around the block - it’s a 15-minute ride that turns into half-an-hour with all the chats I have.
“And one of my neighbours loves Shadow and has offered to look after him if we go away.”
Shadow’s afternoon trike excursions aren’t as surprising when you learn that he was happy to ride in the car when Larraine and husband Tom lived at Beerburrum.
“Puss loved the car, he’d sit on the back seat and look out the window,” she said.
The 13-year-old Birman cat became part of the family five years ago when Larraine and Tom adopted him from the RSPCA.
At first, he would cringe when they patted him but over time Shadow has rewarded their kindness with loyalty and trust.
“He IS my little shadow,” she said. “He follows me around and if I’m up, he’s up with me.”
“If I get up to do some sewing in the middle of the night, he follows me and sits in a chair next to mine.
“We love him to bits and he’s a big part of our life.”
So, when the couple decided to downsize, there was no way they were making the move without Shadow.
“Puss had to come,” Larraine said.
“One place we looked at would not allow pets and I said, ‘forget it, if my cat can’t come I can’t come’.”
Tom, who was a dog lover before he met Larraine, also takes Shadow for walks on a leash around the community.
Meet Roxy and Rambo; two of the newest arrivals at Halcyon Lakeside.
The feathered couple are loving their new lifestyle after moving into the community with their owners Darlene and Paul Smetana five months ago.
Darlene said she was thrilled their chirpy Alexandrine parrots had been welcomed just as warmly to Halcyon Lakeside as she and Paul had.
“I was concerned about how they would be received but people knock on our door and ask to see them and say how nice it is to hear their sounds,” Darlene said.
“If we’re in the backyard, we can hear our neighbours whistling to them.
“We’ve even had offers to look after them when we go away.”
A self-confessed “crazy animal lover”, Darlene rescued Roxy from a miserable life 14 years ago and soon discovered that a mate was needed to complete the picture.
Enter young Rambo, who paired wonderfully with Roxy and - unlike his namesake – is a lover not a fighter.
“I’ll put my arm into the cage and say, ‘step up buddy’ and he comes out like that,” Darlene said.
“He also sits up on a stand and lets Paul clip his feathers in the bathroom.”
As is common with the breed, Roxy and Rambo talk. They often say things like “what are you doing” or “come on” to Darlene and Paul. They even speak to each other using words.
“Rambo tells me when he wants to be covered up at night and he has special calls for when he wants me to come and clean up or to feed him in the morning,” Darlene said.
Favourite foods include passionfruit, toast and fried egg.
Darlene said the birds seemed happier since the move; something she attributed to the design of their new home.
“The open-plan layout means they can see me most of the time from their cage,” she said.
“There’s more whistling and talking than before.
“I can’t believe how well they’ve adjusted, they’re as good as gold.”
Darlene said that Roxy and Rambo needed a lot of care but were wonderful company.
She added that the plucky pair aren’t looking their usual sleek and spectacular selves because they are shedding their old feathers to make way for new growth.
Jasper the Ragdoll cat made a shock entrance into Dick and Shirley McCann’s world eight years ago.
Just a few months old, the adorable bundle of cream and grey fur was Shirley’s birthday surprise from their three children.
“It was a bit of a shock initially, but he took over,” Dick laughed.
It’s fair to say that Jasper has become the McCann’s fourth child. And like most children, he has his moods.
“I’ve always had dogs and I didn’t realise that cats can be affectionate,” Dick said.
“He’s never far from us. No matter where we are in the house, he’s sitting close by.
“But if he’s not happy, he walks off with his tail in the air like a human would stick their finger up.”
Long-time feline fan Shirley said she loved Jasper from the instant she laid eyes on him.
“My mum has always had cats, but I was a bit concerned because Dick didn’t like cats at all,” she said.
“But Jasper sat on his lap the first afternoon we had him.
“We love him, and Dick really spoils him.”
Dick said he appreciated Jasper’s companionship when Shirley was in hospital for five weeks several years ago.
“I’d come home from the hospital and Jasper made me feel as if he knew what was happening,” he said.
“They are great company for a person by themselves, that’s for sure.
“From that point of view, I believe every older person should have a pet.”
Alice the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is living like a queen at Halcyon Waters.
The seven-year-old ‘fur baby’ goes everywhere with her doting mum Lynne Williams, who moved into the community in early October.
Formerly a therapy dog for Lynne’s late husband Bob, Alice now occupies a large place in Lynne’s heart.
“She’s all I’ve got really and she’s a huge part of my life,” Lynne said.
“Having her around to help me cope with the grief has been lovely because I’m not on my own.
“She’s a one-person dog and I’m happy to be that one person.”
They lead a full and active life together, with Alice accompanying Lynne on shopping excursions, visits to friends, and trike rides around the community.
“I do a lot of biking, so she hops on the back of the trike and we also have a dog pram which allows her to come along while I train for the 21km walk in the Queenstown Marathon,” Lynne said.
Alice and Lynne also volunteer several hours each week in the Story Dogs program at Musgrave Hill State School.
The program involves young primary school children reading books to dogs as a way of improving their literacy and confidence in a relaxed and non-judgemental environment – an ideal fit for this calm and patient dog.
All this is done in style, with Alice having access to a wardrobe of eye-catching outfits – lovingly made by Lynne - as well as hats and special goggles to protect her eyes during trike rides.
Lynne is now working on a reflective outfit for Alice to wear on those trike rides.
Like any modern miss, this pooch is on social media with her Facebook page – Awesome Alice – highlighting her busy life, including encounters with her feline ‘siblings’ Basil and Willow.
And because she’s no stranger to the camera, Alice will feature as Miss December in the Q Super Centre’s 2019 calendar.
“I’m such a tragic mother,” Lynne laughed.
“We’re very close, everybody says I spoil her too much.”