19 June 2020

Franklin the Gungahlin Maremma moving to a rescue farm

| My Gungahlin
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We have been following the story of Franklin the Gungahlin Maremma now for around four years and now we can report a major change for Franklin.

We initially had several reports of a Maremma dog sighted on it’s own roaming the streets of Franklin, Harrison, Bonner and Forde. This dog raised the interest of several people that follow us on Facebook and often reported him wandering on his own as a lost dog. He has often been mistaken for a Golden Retriever or Labrador. It was Ben and his wife who suggested he be called Franklin because he was spotted frequently in that suburb and the name stuck.

Franklin has over the years been a bit of a mystery with people wondering where he came from and where are his owners. We have since learnt that Franklin was actually adopted from the pound 5 years ago by Shiara and her daughter who live in Downer. Unfortunately the day they brought him home he escaped and were unable to catch him. He was initially found in Florey by ACT Rangers. Shiara and her daughter named him Samson.

Whilst Franklin has been roaming Gungahlin there has been many attempts to try to catch him however he has been to quick and evasive to be caught.

Over the last couple of years Franklin adopted a couple in Bonner, Andy and Mel who were able to get close to Franklin and earn his trust and were able t feed him. For unknown reasons Franklin stopped calling in at Andy and Mel’s but found a new friend in Barb in Bonner. Barb and Franklin have formed a very close bond and he now sticks very close to her house and keeps watch over her.

Earlier this year Franklin made the media after calls were made for his capture by some concerned residents. This was a contentious issue with some supporting this call whilst the majority of people saying let him roam comparing him to Red Dog and other such characters. As the admin of his Facebook page I was interviewed by The Canberra Times and other international news outlets when they picked up on the popularity of this discussion.

It was at this time I was able to meet Franklin after only spotting him in passing. This meeting was on Barb’s driveway and whilst he gave a few warning barks from him I was able to get close to him and have a good chat when Barb let him know I was ok. I was impressed at his condition, particularly his teeth that were so white! Barb has taken such great care of Franklin at her personal expense with buying him food, bones and worming tablets. She has been supported by a number of people in the community with them donating food and money to go towards Franklin’s care. Any and Mel have also continued to take a continued interest in Franklin’s well being.

Over the years I have been conflicted with what should happen to Franklin. I can recall a phone call a couple of years ago when through friends of friends of friends it was reported someone had him captured in the Forde dog park. At first I was elated thinking yeah we have caught him safely now he can be re-homed and looked after but then I started thinking about how his breed does prefer to roam and would he be happier being free. After talking with the person that had him in the dog park I quickly realised this was not Franklin based on the dogs behaviour and soon learnt of another Maremma that lived across the road from the dog park.

It has now been arranged for Franklin to go to a Maremma Rescue Farm where he will be trained and allowed to do as his breed does which is be a guardian on a farm. I know that this is a hard time for Barb, her family and Andy and Mel and many many others however this is the right time for Franklin to move on. I will miss seeing Franklin roaming the streets of Gungahlin, I would always get excited when I saw him but I won’t miss worrying about him as well. On behalf of the Gungahlin community and all of Franklin’s Facebook followers I thank Barb, Andy and Mel for their care and support of Franklin.

I will be making arrangements for his Facebook page www.facebook.com/FranklinTheGungahlinMaremma/ to be administered by the rescue organisation so they can continue to share his story as it evolves.

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