Crunch Time With A Special Pooch
There aren’t too many dogs who have their own business card, but Milo Crunchitino is no ordinary dog. Jolene Ogle discovers what sets this special pooch apart.
On the business card of Milo Crunchitino, aka Crunchie, he is listed as a public figure, world traveller, gourmet dogitarian and founder of the Crunchie Cut – his cute little top knot – but it forgets to mention two-time cancer survivor.
This special (and stylish) pooch has twice battled cancer, celebrating his 13th birthday the day after I was lucky enough to meet him. Whether you are a dog person or not, it’s impossible not to fall instantly in love with this calm, confident boy.
A first-generation spoodle, Chrunchie has the right pedigree, but it’s his resilience and dedication to supporting other dogs that sets him apart. Crunchie started his career as the head pup at Wunderdogs, a doggie daycare based in Noosaville, 10 years ago.
For Wunderdogs co-founder Melanie Rowland, Crunchie was the inspiration for her now-flourishing dog daycare business.
“We moved to Noosa and were wondering what to do with Crunchie while we worked,” she recalls.
“There are lots of dog daycare centres in Melbourne and Sydney but not here, so we thought ‘why notʼ? We did lots of research to make sure this was something locals wanted, and it turns out it is!”
Since launching 10-years-ago, Wunderdogs now welcomes up to 100 dogs per day, all greeted at the door by Crunchie. “He’s such a social dog and he just loves showing new dogs the ropes,” Melanie says.
“He’s given himself to this business for the past 10 years.”
Crunchie is the Wunderdog mascot, helping new and sometimes nervous dogs settle into the centre. He is a role model for other dogs, ensuring everyone is comfortable and confident. But on 4 April 2018, Melanie received the news she had been dreading – Crunchie had cancer.
“It wasn’t visible that he was sick, but he just didn’t look good. I knew something wasn’t quite right,” Melanie recalls. After a trip to the doctors and a gruelling wait over the Easter holidays, Crunchie was diagnosed with a carcinoma that had spread to two lymph glands. He was rushed into surgery.
After he was released from vet care, Melanie realised she needed to change Crunchie’s lifestyle.
“We instantly got to work. We asked ourselves what needs to be addressed? What changes do we need to make to keep him healthy?” she says.
Melanie and Wunderdogs co-founder Stephen Ah Chee started on a holistic natural approach to keep Crunchie happy and healthy. He receives acupuncture, is on a paleo diet along with herbs and immune boosters. Despite their efforts, Crunchie was amongst the rare few dogs who are diagnosed with a second carcinoma.
“They found a tiny growth during one of his scans. We had it tested and it was the start of cancer,” Melanie says.
“He was looking so good, so fit. He was playing with other dogs in the park. I’ll never forget the way he looked at me, like why are doing this. But we had to.”
That was in January and already Crunchie is back at work helping new dogs settle into the Wunderdogs Doggie Daycare. He’s there to greet them at the door and make sure they too make new friends.
You would never guess this sweet, calm and playful dog was 13 years old let alone a two-time cancer survivor. He’s just too busy being a good boy. You can keep up with Crunchie’s adventures by following him on Instagram @milocrunchitino.