By DAVID BRASCH
IT could probably be called Berwick Palace, a home fit for a king or two or even three.
That\’s the two-acre property established by Michelle and Paul Westerveld to house legends like Barcia Bale and Fernando Bale.
Meticulous Lodge is its name and ‘meticulous’ could even be an understatement such is the palatial housing for the greyhound bluebloods.
Barcia Bale has since died, but Fernando Bale and his kennel compatriots Fabregas and the new kid on the block, Orson Allen, are catered for in the sort of luxury befitting their status in the greyhound racing world.
The Westervelds moved four years ago from their racing and breeding kennels at Devon Meadows, about 50km south-east of Melbourne, to a scaled down property, before settling at nearby Berwick on two acres.
\”Yes, the property is purpose-built to cater for the best of stud dogs,\” said Michelle. “The kennel block is fully heated, cooled during summer, has a high degree of security, includes a kitchenette, dog walker, day yards and a paddock off the day yards.\”
The Westervelds built six kennels, all built by a good friend, a builder, and specially designed by Paul and Michelle after years at Devon Meadows refining that property etc.
It is a scale down of the Westervelds\’ life forsaking the thrill of training winners for the success of mapping out the careers of some of the world\’s best stud dogs.
\”Our children Chloe (10) and Zac (9) are right into footy, cricket, basketball, you name it, so racing greyhounds has been put on the shelf for now,\” said Michelle.
\”But, who is to say Paul might not want to get a dog to train in the future.\”
The Westervelds had three kennel blocks at the Devon Meadows property and quickly found limitations.
\”We had 24 dogs in one of those kennel blocks and quickly found the dogs did not really relax as well as they should,\” said Michelle. \”When the time came to let dogs out, by the time you physically got to the last couple, their excitement had boiled over and they had emptied.
\”We found a kennel block of eight works really well.\”
Meticulous Lodge these days is a peaceful routine.
\”As you can imagine having three Group 1 stars as stud dogs, they are pretty well behaved, very settled and never a problem,\” said Paul.
\”Superstars like them really spoil you though. All of them have great temperaments, but that is why they are great race dogs.\”
But Paul says there is still a great degree of ‘alpha male’ from Fernando Bale, Fabregas and Orson Allen.
\”All of them show that,\” said Paul. \”None of them would take a backward step. That is probably why they were as good as they were on the racetrack.
\”But, we never put them in a position where they can act aggressively towards each other. But, you can see the competitiveness still in them years later.\”
The actual kennels which house the Meticulous Lodge stud dog stars includes an above ground boxed area.
\”But Fabregas always has to be different,\” said Paul. \”He will always pull his bed out of the boxed area and drag it onto the floor and rest there. It is just something he does.\”
The Westervelds say their move to reduce semen prices for the trio during the coronavirus problem has been very well received by the greyhound industry.