'They're our kids': Macaw, boerboel and pomeranians make this family complete

Melanie, Ryan, Savannah, Phoenix and Shadow's story is part of a series on Hawkesbury people and their pets, featuring the work of Gazette and Courier photographer, Geoff Jones.

"NOT having children, they're pretty much our kids."

Meet Melanie Jobse, self-confessed "crazy dog lady" and, along with her partner Ryan Mcalister, owner of a four-year-old macaw, a 20-month-old South African boerboel, and three miniature pomeranians.

Bonded for life: Melanie Jobse with her feathered baby, Phoenix the blue and gold female macaw, who likes to sit on the lounge and watch television with her canine brothers and sisters. Picture: Geoff Jones

Bonded for life: Melanie Jobse with her feathered baby, Phoenix the blue and gold female macaw, who likes to sit on the lounge and watch television with her canine brothers and sisters. Picture: Geoff Jones

"I wouldn't change it. We love having the animals around. When they're not there you feel things are a bit quiet, which I think most parents would say about their kids!" Melanie laughed.

The Quakers Hill residents, who both grew up in the Hawkesbury, are animal lovers through-and-through.

It must run in the genes, because Melanie's niece, nine-year-old Savannah from Bowen Mountain, visits her auntie's place whenever she can, partly so she catch-up with her furry and feathered cousins.

"Savannah is absolutely an animal lover, but her parents aren't. We have all the animals in the world at our house!" Melanie said.

When they're not there you feel things are a bit quiet, which I think most parents would say about their kids!

Melanie Jobse

One of her most distinctive babies is Phoenix, a blue and gold female macaw, whom Ryan reportedly bought for himself but bonded with Melanie instead.

"She'll come in the house of an afternoon and all the dogs will be together in the loungeroom and she'll sit on the couch and everyone will watch TV together," Melanie said.

"She's alright with the other animals but she's probably my pet more than anyone else's.

"Birds usually pick one person to bond with unless you get them a mate, that's their nature."

Female boerboel, Shadow, is "more Ryan's dog", according to Melanie.

Family: Bowen Mountain's Savannah with her 'cousins' Phoenix the macaw and Shadow the South African boerboel. Picture: Geoff Jones

Family: Bowen Mountain's Savannah with her 'cousins' Phoenix the macaw and Shadow the South African boerboel. Picture: Geoff Jones

"The little dogs are easier for me - Shadow is too big for me to control!" she said.

South African boerboels are a type of mastiff, and not too common in Australia.

"Shadow is still puppy-like at about 20 months - they stay puppies for a long time. Her temperament is really lovely, and she loves kids," Melanie said.

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