At Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, not only do we bear witness to the transformative effects of adoption on lost and abandoned pets, but also the ability of pets enrich the lives of people who adopt.
In the midst of the July 2021 Sydney Covid-19 lockdown, while people were isolated in their homes unable to visit friends and family, many sought comfort and companionship in their pets.
This had normally been the case for Stefania, a Sydney-based woman in her 90s who lived independently with her rescue cat. She loved her cat dearly and enjoyed the sense of responsibility and companionship her cat provided. Sadly, just weeks before a stage 3 Greater Sydney lockdown, Stefania’s cat unexpectedly passed away from health complications, leaving Stefania heartbroken and more alone than ever.
After taking some time to grieve, Stefania decided it was time to welcome another rescue into her home. She wanted to give a senior cat a second chance. While many shelters had paused adoptions due to Covid-19 restrictions, the Sydney Dogs & Cats Home adoption process had moved online, so Stefania’s granddaughter put in an application on her behalf for a nine-year-old tabby named Abbi. Abbi was looking for a low-energy household with no other pets where she could be the centre of attention, so Stefania’s application was a perfect match.
Stefania’s family helped her conduct a virtual meet and greet with Abbi and her foster carer, and the decision was made to adopt. Abbi was returned from foster care and one of our Animal Attendants dropped her off at Stefania’s home where she was welcomed with open arms. Stefania’s son David told the Home, “my mum was delighted to meet [Abbi] and felt she looked more beautiful in real life than in the photos. She had a huge smile on her face.”
Abbi settled into her new home within days and has developed a comfortable routine sleeping, exploring, playing and spending time with Stefania. Abbi has a special cat tower next to Stefania’s favourite chair where she goes for company and a pat. They’ve formed a very special bond. As David notes, “she seems to only have eyes for Mum, [but] she is making an effort to like me!”
Abbi has brought a great deal of happiness to Stefania’s life and helped her cope with the Covid-19 lockdown. Stefania calls her family regularly to update them on Abbi’s escapades. David said, “Usually, Mum says she can’t find her anywhere in the house, then suddenly finds her squashed between pillows or in the cupboard sleeping soundly. Mum laughs a lot about what Abbi gets up to… Before Abbi arrived Mum hated lockdown because she had no company. Mum is dealing with lockdown much better now… She doesn’t feel so alone.”
Published 9 September 2021
Don’t be fooled by Trifle – he may look mean and scary, but he is the complete opposite! Trifle came into the Home after a life on the streets, a little worse for wear. He tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), a life-long virus that weakens the immune system; was unwell with cat flu; had a large scar on his left eye and had a number of dental concerns. Trifle was in need of a lot of love and affection, which the staff at Sydney Cats & Dogs Home were quick to deliver!
The Animal Care Team determined 6-year-old Trifle would need his canine teeth extracted so he could eat and groom comfortably. After successful treatment for his flu, Trifle went in for dental surgery. The procedure was a success and Trifle is now able to properly enjoy his one true love – food. After examination of his eye, it appeared Trifle has some previous trauma which lucky hasn’t affected his vision; it just gives him loads of character!
When Trifle first came to the Home, he was fearful of people and other animals such as dogs. Any sudden movements would startle him and he would hide in the comfort of his cat pod. Trifle was placed in a large enclosure in reception where he could get used to people, and his progress was amazing! Over time, he began to approach our staff for pats and soon, he discovered he loves being brushed. These days, Trifle will come running when he hears a can being opened and will give you one of his strong headbutts!
Because Trifle took his time warming up to new people, is FIV+ and has a cool battle scar on his eye, he looks a bit scary, so it was anticipated he may take some time to find the perfect home. But shortly after his dental surgery, Trifle has found his forever home!
It is because of the ongoing support of our community that cats like Trifle are able to receive the care and support they need and the opportunity to find their forever home. If you want to help cats like Trifle receive a second chance, donate today at https://sydneydogsandcatshome.org/donate/.
Updated 15 September 2021
King was one of the Home’s longest-standing feline residents, spending nine months in our care before finding his forever home in March this year.
For a very long time, King was a crabby kitty and didn’t want anything to do with humans. He’d come from a colony where he clearly had minimal human interaction. He spent a few months in the cattery at the Home getting used to the sights and sounds, hiding away in his boxes. Month by month he would gain a little confidence and eventually he started to explore the cattery. Four months on, he was accepting pats from his favourite people. Everyone else would receive his ‘boxer paws’. It wasn’t long before he learned to play. He particularly loved using his boxing skills on wand toys.
Almost nine months into his stay and King ruled the cattery. He knew what he liked, what he didn’t, and especially what he loved – food. We had never seen such an insatiable cat. Our Animal Care Team had to ‘King proof’ the food containers and put him on a special diet. King wasn’t receiving much interest when visitors met him in the cattery. He tended to be aloof with new people and has Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). While cats with FIV often live long and healthy lives, they sometimes have difficulty finding a family willing to monitor potential symptoms associated with their weakened immunity.
To give King a taste of home life, the Animal Care Team decided to send King into a foster home. He went home with one of our office staff Laura, who noticed swift changes in his behaviour: “For the first few days he wouldn’t come out from under the furniture and I was worried he’d regressed. My partner and I used food to coax him out for short periods, which worked a treat. Within two weeks he transformed from a shy, angry kitty who ‘King hit’ us when we tried to touch him to an affectionate, confident companion who actually enjoyed our company.”
Shortly after King went into foster care, the Home received an unexpected application from Yvetta, who was interested in adopting King. We organised for Yvetta to meet King via Facetime and she decided instantly he was the right fit for her home. “He sounded like a bit of a challenge. He also looked cute yet serious,” Yvetta said.
“For the first few weeks, King was very timid. Even after he got more used to the place he seemed to be quite scared of us. But now he’s much more comfortable, friendly and playful, and a lot more receptive to pats. King likes my housemate more than me. I put this down to my roommate being soft and feeding him more… Other than eating, King really enjoys playing with us. Although he mostly ignores the toys we’ve got him and prefers just a piece of string. He also loves to lie in the morning sun that shines through our lounge room window. “
King is one of the many furry reasons why the Home supports the Getting to Zero movement and never places a time limit on any animal awaiting adoption – so we can achieve amazing outcomes for pets like King!
Published 22 July 2021
Georgia the Bulldog is a sweet little peach who came to the Home a little worse for wear. She arrived in June with blood on the tip of her nose, scabs all over her head, runny eyes and suspicious masses on her ears. It was clear Georgia needed immediate vet care from our Animal Care Team.
Our vets gave Georgia a thorough health check, but she didn’t make it easy! Georgia is one of those dogs who loves everything and everyone and was very friendly and cheeky, trying to play with the vets as they examined her. Our vets discovered there was a lot more to Georgia’s health concerns that met the eye. Georgia had had discharge and inflammation in her ears and her remaining teeth required a thorough clean. She also had overgrown nails and seemed to have difficulty walking, lying down and getting up. Our vet team booked Georgia in for a much-needed dental scale and polish, radiograph for her hips, biopsies of her skin masses, ear flush and full spa treatment with a manicure and pedicure (nail trimming).
Last week, Georgia had her big surgeries and tests, which resolved her ear inflammation and dental concerns. Her nails are now picture-perfect, making it much easier to get around. Unfortunately, Georgia’s tests revealed she has a few more health hurdles including hip dysplasia, a common abnormal development or growth of the hip joints, especially among larger dogs like Georgia. She also has a degenerative condition of the spine that usually occurs in older dogs and ear masses are a symptom of a rare chronic inflammatory skin condition. While these conditions can’t be cured, Georgia is now on a series of treatments that will keep her comfy and content in her adopted home.
It was no surprise that Georgia would be adopted quickly as she is the perfect angel towards humans and other animals, loves to play with toys and also loves sleeping. Going on walks, not so much! Georgia was adopted shortly before her major surgeries and had a loving home where she could rest and recover. Our Animal Care Team have been working with Georgia’s new owner to ensure she is recovering well from her surgeries and receiving proper treatment so she can continue to live her best couch potato life!
The support we receive from our community is vital to all animals that come to the Home. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to help darling dogs like Georgia become health and happy companions. As we’re a charity, we rely on donations to provide tests and treatments like radiographs, biopsies and ear flushes. Please consider making a donation today by visiting: https://sydneydogsandcatshome.org/donate/
Published 21 July 2021
Senior sweetheart Poppy (previously Geranium) is a Maltese x Shih Tzu who came to the Home in April with concerning lumps and bumps under the skin of her abdomen, severe dental disease, sensitive ears and a nasty eye ulcer. Despite her obvious discomfort, Poppy was the most lively 12-year-old around, looking for as many pats as she could get her paws in, as long as we didn’t touch her sore eye. Poppy was immediately put on medication for her ulcer and booked into surgery to investigate her mammary masses and resolve her dental disease. Her teeth were in such bad shape that one of her molars fell out during her stay at the Home. Poppy received a nice payday from the tooth fairy for that one – lots of soft tasty treats.
Poppy spent a few weeks in a comfy foster home while her eye ulcer resolved. Within two weeks, it had cleared and the swelling had resolved. Her eyes were crystal clear. When Poppy’s surgery day came around, there was a big sense of relief across the Home. All her masses turned out to be harmless and were removed with ease. She had dental surgery to clean up her remaining teeth, and now she has the most adorable tongue-y smile.
As a senior dog, Poppy was at the Home for a while before she was adopted, strutting around town in her signature bumblebee harness. Even for cuties like her who are spirited and lively, senior dogs often find themselves in shelters for extended periods as they often require extra veterinary care and face challenges finding a suitable home willing to provide love, care and ongoing monitoring and treatment. That’s why we run the Senior Pet Project appeal to raise much-needed awareness and funds for the senior pets that come through our doors.*
Lucky for Poppy, a lovely couple who last year had lost their previous dog, adopted Poppy pre-surgery, without knowing the nature of her mammary lumps. They took a chance on Poppy, committing to caring for her no matter the outcome. Poppy now has a comfy spot on the couch at her new home where she will enjoy the rest of her days, with a family who bonded with her instantly. Her new mum told us, “it’s as if she has lived with us all her life.”
*If you’d like to provide pets like Poppy with essential vet care in their senior years, donate to the Senior Pet Project today.
Published 21 July 2021
Sticks and Stones Won’t Break My Bones, but they Will Clog My Intestines
Lucia arrived at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home in a terrible condition. This poorly kitty was found dumped outside the Home in June hunched over with health concerns including dehydration and hypersalivation. She was dangerously underweight and couldn’t keep down food or water. It was clear Lucia was very uncomfortable and needed urgent care to ensure she didn’t waste away.
Our vets gave Lucia a thorough health check, suspecting she may have enlarged organs or internal obstruction. While she felt normal on the surface, her lack of appetite was a clear indication some further testing was required. Lucia received further supportive care including major abdominal surgery to ensure all bases were covered. During the exploratory surgery, it became clear little Lucia had sticks and grass in her intestines and without immediate surgery, Lucia would not make it.
The vets removed the obstruction in Lucia’s intestine and she is now recovering in the comfort of her foster home. She is making great progress and is now on her weight gain journey receiving a yummy diet of Hill’s Prescription Diet i/d for digestive health. Once she has gained weight and fully recovered from her surgery, she will be available for adoption.
Cats are notorious for ingesting all types of materials, and a cat such as Lucia who likely lived a life on the streets will eat anything that is available to them. Unfortunately, situations such as Lucia’s can be the result. Fortunately, Lucia came to the Home in time for us to perform lifesaving surgery.
Lifesaving surgeries, important medical care such as medication, testing and scans and other necessities such as food, bedding and toys are all crucial in caring for each and every animal that comes to the Home. The support of our community is vital in allowing us to transform animals like Lucia into healthy, happy companions. Please help us help them by making a donation today.
Published 16 June 2021
When Jasper (previously Jammie) arrived as a 4-week old kitten, he had fleas and a ruptured right eye. Despite the fact his eye was bulging from its socket, he was a bright little boy who was affectionate and friendly, rubbing against our veterinary staff like nothing was wrong.
We had to act fast to help Jasper. Our vets started him on pain relief and flea treatment and booked him in for surgery for his eye. Suspected to be from an advanced case of cat flu, Jasper’s eye was unviable and had to be removed to relieve his discomfort and swelling.
Jasper got stitched up and spent his recovery in a comfy foster home with our Volunteer Coordinator Sue, who gave him all the time and creature comforts he needed to heal. He started experiencing mild discharge from his nose, indicating he still had cat flu so he was treated with antibiotics in foster care, which resolved swiftly.
Jasper didn’t let his ordeal slow him down. Throughout the rehabilitation process, he was playful, cuddly and even learned to walk on a harness and lead in Sue’s backyard.
Last week, after just seven weeks of rest and recovery, Jasper the one-eyed kitten found the purrfect forever home with Stacey, Mark and their senior Kelpie Angus. They recently lost their senior cat and wanted to give a home to a cat who needed a little extra love.
Within a day, Jasper was right at home. He’s made best friends with Angus and has earned himself the nickname ‘Hurricane Jasper’. He has not let his disability slow him down. In fact, with his parents working from home, he’s taken to jumping on their desks, typing emails and knocking office supplies onto the floor – all in a day’s work.
Stacey tells us she and Mark are completely in love with Jasper and he’s the perfect cat. He might be bouncing around like crazy one minute and snuggling on their lap the next.
Jasper is one of many cats who arrive at the Home with complications caused by cat flu. If you’d like to help provide the resources we need to rehabilitate pets like Jasper, please make a donation today: https://sydneydogsandcatshome.org/donate/.
Published 21 July 2021
The health and safety of our community, staff, volunteers and animals is our highest priority at all times. In light of the evolving COVID-19 stay at home orders affecting Greater Sydney, we have implemented the following temporary measures for our organisation to ensure the safety of our community, in line with directives provided by NSW Health agencies.
Sydney Dogs & Cats Home will be temporarily closed to the public for all non-essential services. Please be assured that our animals are still receiving high-quality care from our shelter staff during this time. This closure is to help minimise the amount of risk and exposure to our team and the wider community.
To ensure that we can continue to deliver our Mission, including adhering to our legal obligations to protect the welfare of animals in our care at all times, we have implemented the following measures:
- Appointments may only be made for the following contactless services:
- reclaim of lost but found pets
- adoption finalisations
- Covid Safety practices will apply at all times
- Customers can make an appointment with staff by phone on 9587 9611
If you recognise your lost pet on our website, please phone our team. The reclaim process will then be conducted over the phone. Please do not go to our shelter until your contactless reclaim appointment is confirmed.
If you’re interested in adopting a specific animal, please fill out an adoption form online and wait for our team to get in touch. The adoption process will then be conducted over the phone and via FaceTime. Please do not go to our shelter. If approved for adoption, an animal care team member will arrange contactless adoption finalisation and transport option, ensuring all physical distancing measures are adhered to.
NSW Government – the NSW Department of Primary Industries have clarified that you can leave your home when COVID-19 movement restrictions are in place to provide care to an animal.
Sydney Dogs & Cats Home is closely monitoring the evolving situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and will continue to follow the directives of the lead public health agencies, including NSW Health and the Australian Department of Health.
We thank our community for their patience and cooperation during this challenging time. For more information about Covid-19, please visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/rules
Last Updated 15/07/2021
Piper the cat was found at the base of a nine-storey apartment building in late February with injuries suggesting she fell from a balcony. When council rangers brought her to the Home, it was clear she needed immediate vet attention.
Physical examinations, blood tests, x-rays and an ultrasound revealed Piper had subcutaneous emphysema (air in her chest and under her skin), bruising along her belly, a graze on her chin and damage to her liver.
Piper required urgent overnight care with a specialist, so we sent her to Sydney Veterinary Emergency and Specialists (SVES) where she was put on IV fluids, pain relief and antibiotics.
Repeat blood tests and monitoring overnight revealed Piper’s health concerns including her subcutaneous emphysema and liver trauma were temporary and resolved with time and medication.
While Piper was receiving treatment at SVES, Sydney Dogs & Cats Home Animal Care Manager Dr Renae Jackson was determined to find Piper’s owners. Renae printed some lost posters and plastered them all over the apartment building where Piper was found. Within 24 hours, Piper’s owners contacted the Home to reclaim her and cover the costs of her medical treatment.
It’s now over two months since Piper’s fall, and we’re pleased to reports she has completely recovered and is getting back to her active self. There’ll be no more balcony adventures for her in the future.
Injuries like those sustained by Piper are one of the many reasons we recommend for apartment cats to be kept inside, away from open balconies. Renae notes, “Cats and open balconies can be a very dangerous mix. Usually, cats who fall from balconies have a fractured jaw, their bladder may burst, their diaphragm may rupture or they may have broken bones. Piper was lucky not to have any of these.
We recommend for all apartment cats to be indoor cats. Cats are very agile and they can slip, be startled or try to chase a passing bird, which can have disastrous consequences on an open balcony. A fully enclosed balcony is great, but if you don’t have one you can still give your cat a great quality of life indoors by providing lots of enrichment like toys, hiding areas, scratching posts and cat trees.”
Stewy was one of the most anxious dogs our animal attendants had ever met. He was terrified of every noise and movement. When people came to see him in his kennel he’d freeze and stare or hide in his crate. He refused to leave the driveway to go for a walk.
It’s not clear what happened in Stewy’s past to make him so anxious, but when he came into our care in October 2020, our team was determined to transform his future.
Our animal attendants worked with Stewy every day to earn his trust, keeping him company in his kennel and giving him treats when he was brave and accepted a pat or came onto the street.
Progress was slow, but over time, Stewy formed bonds with animal attendants and volunteers and started showing his affectionate side, cuddling with them and jumping in excitement when they came to say hello. He started coming into the courtyard every afternoon for playtime and went home with staff on the weekends.
Once Stewy was confident with select people, we introduced him to a friendly dog and discovered he loves canine company. We paired him with other dog residents to play, and occasionally, they would encourage him to go for a walk.
We saw huge improvements in Stewy, but after three months in our care, it was clear he wasn’t suited to the shelter environment and needed to find a home away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
We contacted Dunroamin Animal Rescue in southern NSW who have previously rehomed some of our dogs who need a country home. They had a space ready for Stewy with one of their foster carers.
SDCH animal attendant Natalie, who had formed a close bond with Stewy, drove him five hours south, where Dunroamin picked him up for his new life. Natalie said, “there were some tears shed!”
Stewy went into a foster home with Dianna where progress was slow. There were sleepless nights, but Dianna never once gave up on Stewy. After hearing about how he responded to other canines, she borrowed a friend’s dog and we’re told that worked a treat on his confidence.
But Stewy’s new doggy friend couldn’t stay forever, so Dunroamin sent one of their dogs into foster with Stewy and he’s thrilled with his new friend.
Not long ago, Dianna adopted Stewy! Stewy may never be a dog who is confident in a busy setting, but with his new understanding and patient owner, we’re confident he’s going to have a very comfortable life!
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