THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF VOLUNTEERS

LAST week, Australia celebrated National Volunteer Week, the perfect opportunity for everyone at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to reflect on the incredible work we see people do every day.

Our community of volunteers are the threads that bind the rich tapestries of our country and for anyone who got to witness the army of volunteers at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, you get a sense of how we feel about our own dedicated troupe.

Much like the Sydney Olympic Games, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home simply wouldn’t function without the devoted group of people we feel privileged to have.

Operations manager, Sofi Sey, said the importance of volunteers to the four-legged visitors of the shelter, is beyond measurable.

“There is no way we would be able to keep our doors open without the daily help of our volunteers,” she said.

Sofi added that it’s also rewarding to watch people experience the joy of helping animals in-need.

“I have seen confidence grow both personally and in their handling of animals — they come out of their shell,” she said.

Coming to the decision to freely volunteer for a cause has many different incarnations and Sofi said finding the story about how they’ve arrived to help care for Sydney’s lost and abandoned pets is always remarkable.

“People come to us as pairs to do something in common together,” said Sofi.

“Or they can’t have their own pets, are expats or international students who are greatly missing their pets.”

Volunteering is also an opportunity to connect with like-minded people or to help through their own grieving process.

“Some volunteers have lost a loving pet and find it cathartic and healing coming to help our pets,” Sofi said.

Long-time volunteer of almost a decade, Dorothy, said she wanted to keep herself occupied while also giving back to the community and Sydney Dogs and Cats Home was the right fit.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said while cuddling a Fox Terrier on her lap. “The animals are always so happy to see you. Everyone’s got the same interests at heart; we want the best for these guys.”

Dorothy started by volunteering in the cattery because she had cats of her own, and graduated to dogs soon after.

With a background in administration for university research centres, Dorothy said she had more to offer and has been a crucial cog in the running of the office ever since — and all done for the love of animals.

Sofi said besides our band of volunteers within pet care, Dorothy is only one of so many essential volunteers who help in the various areas of the shelter.

“There’s Peter our handyman, the two Johns — our photographer and backup and assistant, Margaret our all-rounder and Michael, Koula, Rob, Pat — our extraordinary big dog walkers, just to name a few,” Sofi said.

“But there are so many special volunteers it is impossible for me to give you special mentions. Perhaps at a push I could give you our top 50,” she laughed.

From all of the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home team, we thank each and every one of our volunteers. The happy tails of our furry and feathered residents speak volumes of your dedication.

If you want to get involved with Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, check out the different ways you can help here.

Donate to help Sydney’s only charity pound to continue in caring for the city’s lost and abandoned pets.

A Classic Disney Tale Complete With a Happy-Ever-After

DISNEY movies are renowned for their happy-ever-after and that’s exactly what’s happened for this pooch with the namesake.

Once upon a time, on a dark and gloomy day, a three-year-old Shar Pei named Disney arrived into the care of Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.

Just like the beginning of the children’s classic, The Ugly Duckling, it was devastatingly obvious that he was an unloved stray when he arrived in October 2016 — he was in an appalling state.

 

Without a microchip, collar or tag, Disney looked gauche and sadly no one came looking for him.

His body was covered in itchy and sore mange, he was malnourished and completely overwhelmed by his whole ordeal of life on the streets.

 

During his medical consultation, the veterinary team discovered Disney also suffered from an incredibly painful condition called Entropian.

This condition is when eyelids grow inwards, causing extreme discomfort from eyelashes continuously rubbing against the cornea, which in turn decreased his vision.

The vet team worked tirelessly to perform a delicate operation on Disney to correct his condition.

Over a number of weeks the whole team of staff and volunteers at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home meticulously treated Disney’s skin to rid him of the awful mange.

All thanks to our food sponsor, Hills Pet Nutrition, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home were able to get Disney to a healthy weight by using Hill’s Science Diet, and his body responded wonderfully.

With all the love and affection Disney received from everyone, his joyful personality slowly began to shine — he was experiencing love like never before.

The playful boy was also evolving into a handsome prince, and his glossy coat was his pride and joy.

 

As he patiently waited for his fairy tale ending, a hard-working volunteer, who has been at the shelter for seven years, Elena, began to fall in love with the adorable mutt.

Helping to care for him took on a whole new meaning for Elena, and soon true love broke the evil spell cast over Disney.

After six months, and a long road to recovery, the happy-ever-after came to fruition for Disney and his new family.

For Elena and her family, their life now feels complete.

The moment Disney became part of the family, they loved and adored the pooch who had come from ugly duckling to a magnificent swan.

“Everyone’s sooo happy. Disney slept well. I got up a couple of times to put extra blankets on him,” Elena said after their first night as a family.

 

Whether he is the frog who turned into a prince, or the ugly duckling that grew into a beautiful swan, the transformation everyone saw Disney go through proves every rough mutt deserves their fairy tale happy-ever-after.

Help us cement the future and continue caring for Sydney’s lost and abandoned pets, just like Disney.

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