IT was Eric Hutchinson in distress that first attracted his wife, Amanda.
The Lyons Liberal candidate in the 2013 federal election, then a trader and wool buyer for a number of Japanese companies, was in Canberra visiting his brother in the late 1980s.
Mr Hutchinson's future wife, a pharmacist, was there too, staying with a friend while she waited for a job interview.
The friend happened to be going out with Mr Hutchinson's brother.
The two Tasmanians met just after Mr Hutchinson had been pulled over and fined by police for driving with a dog sitting in his lap.
It wasn't just any old dog.
Will was a white bull terrier who belonged to his best mate since primary school in Launceston, Freya Cleary.
``I was trying to look after him for her. I ended up taking him on,'' Mr Hutchinson.
``I thought at the time that he was quite a nice bloke really,'' Mrs Hutchinson said, grinning.
They kept talking.
It has been a long journey littered with adventures and animals to a tilt at politics.
Mr Hutchinson was born and grew up in Launceston.
He describes himself as the son of ``a 10 pound Pom.''
His father was one of Launceston's best-known general practitioners and bushwalkers.
He was a life member of the Launceston Walking Club and passed his love of bushwalking on to his children.
Mr Hutchinson still walks - at least one big trip a year with a group of mates who have been pulling on their packs and boots for an expedition together for years.
``We did Queenstown to Lake St Clair over the Eldon Ranges a while ago - that was a good one,'' he said.
It provides a fallback from a very different kind of work life for the former Launceston Church Grammar School student.
``I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I left school so I spent a year working on a farm down near Ouse and then did a three-year wool and fibre marketing course at The Gordon [college], at Geelong, near Melbourne,'' he said.
The job he secured straight out of college took him around Australia and overseas for the next 14 years as an exporter and trader for the Japanese group of companies called Nissho Iawi (Aust) Ltd.
``They were great years - I got to travel around the country and worldwide, specially throughout Asia and into China,'' he says.
``In 1988 Shanghai's No. 1 woollen mill was smack-bang in the middle of Shanghai. Now you have to drive for hours out of the city to it.''
He had been working back in Tasmania as Roberts' wool department state marketing manager for more than a decade when he decided to have a go at politics.
``I see it as a way of giving something back,'' he said.
The Roberts job was good training for working Lyons - Tasmania's biggest electorate.
``It took me all over the state and I got to work closely with a lot of regional communities and directly with a lot of farmers,'' he said.
``I like that - I like people.''
He agrees he has set himself a big task to topple incumbent Lyons Labor MHR Dick Adams.
``We were at a forum together last week at Sorell and I said to him that I reckoned I'd nearly met all his relatives,'' he said.
But he also remembers the advice from Max Burr, one of the few Liberals to hold the seat of Lyons for several terms.
``He told me `you will need 18 months to touch Lyons','' he said.
It's been an intense five years for Mr Hutchinson and his family as he unsuccessfully fought the last federal election, then opted to have another go this year.
His sons, Dave, 14, and John, 11, prefer to kick the footy around the back yard with their dad or go fishing rather than talk politics.
``We don't do too much of that at home until we find out what happens so it's not too disappointing,'' Mrs Hutchinson said.
``We try to keep life normal.''
And then there are the animals.
These days it's the chooks in a fancy new run beside the vegetable patch since Mr Hutchinson's dear old dog, Bert, died earlier in the year aged 13 1/2.
In the run with a couple of average pullets are two black Australorps, regarded as Australia's own hardy, docile and best-laying chooks.
Mr Hutchinson paid twice as much as he expected for the fine pair at the Poultry Club of Tasmania show at Longford.
But the animal-loving political candidate said they'd earned their keep.
And there's head space to be found digging in the garden, chatting to the chooks.