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Read heartwarming tales about wagging tails and warmed hearts.

Senior Pet Project: A Second Chance

At the age of 9 years and 7 months, this sweet gentle lady, who we named Arlo, found herself at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.  Arlo had escaped her owner’s care and was found and brought into the Home by a council ranger.  The team was eventually able to contact Arlo’s owner but sadly her owner had fallen on difficult times financially and was struggling to find suitable accommodation for them.  Additionally, Arlo was suffering from a degenerative joint disease, evident by a slight limp in her walk, and she would need ongoing veterinary care and treatment.  Arlo’s owner made the decision to not reclaim Arlo but to leave her in our care.

Every year more than 10% of the animals entering the Home are in their twilight years like Arlo, and sadly these pets are less likely to be reclaimed than the younger counterparts.  And like Arlo the seniors typically need additional veterinary care.  In Arlo’s case the team began a course of treatment for Arlo’s osteoarthritis designed to improve the cartilage in her joint.

Our Senior Pet Project, entering its second year, was started as an initiative not only to put a spotlight on these golden oldies to help with their rehoming, but also to raise the funds required for their much needed veterinary care and often prolonged stay at the Home.

Not surprisingly, the majority of senior cases do require extra veterinary treatment. This additional cost may be the reason why many owners choose not to reclaim their senior pets. Seniors also tend to have a longer stay in the shelter or foster care whilst we search for a suitable home, and in some cases that one in a million person willing to provide love and palliative care in a pet’s final months, weeks or even days.

With your support we are looking to raise $150,000 by 30 June to fund the Senior Pet Project for the next 12 months, enabling us to provide the seniors with the much-needed care to set them up for success in their twilight years, just like Arlo.

Fortunately Arlo, now known as Chance, spent only 4 weeks in the Home before finding her humans – Adam and Natalie Goodes, who have become ambassadors for Sydney Dogs and Cats Home’s Senior Pet Project promoting the benefits of adopting a senior pet.

Adam Goodes, former professional AFL player, owner of Chance and Senior Pet Project ambassador said: “We always knew we wanted to adopt a senior pet, giving them a loving and caring home for their golden years. We met our little lady at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, after a team member suggested we take her out on a walk. The rest is history and she is no longer shy but a happy go-lucky, much-loved member of the Goodes family – people often think she’s a puppy!”

Natalie Goodes added, “Adopting Chance has changed our lives in such a positive way, we think about all our plans with her in mind and actually spend more time at home to be together as a family. She is housebroken, doesn’t chew up our furniture and isn’t destructive – we haven’t had to worry about the ‘puppy phase’. Her love is unconditional, and we can’t get enough of her little butt wiggles every time one of us walks in the door!”

With your support we are looking to raise $150,000 by 30 June to fund the Senior Pet Project for the next 12 months, enabling us to give the seniors entering our care a new leash on life.  Support the Senior Pet Project today.

Neptune’s Living with FIV

Since the beginning of the year Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has welcomed more than 400 cats and kittens through our doors. Several of these purr machines, like Neptune, have tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) during our routine health check.

FIV is a viral disease that affects the immune system of cats. It makes them more susceptible to illness, but with proper care FIV cats can lead long, healthy, loving lives.

FIV is commonly spread through deep bite wounds, which would typically occur during aggressive fights between cats over territorial disputes. FIV is not transferable to humans or other species (e.g. dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc).

As the virus only lives within the infected feline it is unlikely to spread to a non-FIV cat. However our team recommends that FIV cats be rehomed as an ‘only cat’ or with other FIV positive felines; even household cats can have spats resulting in bites which could transmit the disease.

We also recommend that FIV cats be indoor-only cats. With a compromised immune system keeping them indoors reduces the risk of them contracting a disease or infection from other cats, parasites, fleas or ticks.

Currently there is no cure for the disease, but it is easily managed. Cats with FIV are living happy and healthy lives, bringing much joy to their owners.

Neptune arrived at the Home four days ago and we hope his owner will still come forward for him.  However if Neptune’s human can’t be found he will be one of several FIV residents waiting to find their forever home. If you think you could offer one of our lovely FIV friends a home please call the team on 9587 9611 or email info@sydneydogsandcatshome.org

Baby Girl Finds a Home

Baby Girl waited in the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home cattery for more than 20 weeks to find her forever home.  Originally adopted from Sydney Dogs and Cats Home as a three-month-old kitten, Baby Girl unfortunately found herself back at the Home due to a change in her adopter’s circumstances.

Baby Girl had been living a quiet apartment life in an adult household as the only cat for just over two years.  Not surprisingly finding herself as an adult back in our cattery was a bit overwhelming for her.  However, thanks to the patience and care of our wonderful team of volunteers and staff Baby Girl gradually came out of her shell a little bit each day.  Eventually this shy girl would even pop down from the top shelf of her pod to greet and get a pat from whoever came in to visit her.

Finally, just the right human came along to offer Baby Girl her perfect home.  Baby Girl is one of the 181 felines we have been able to rehome during our January and February adoption drives.

Sadly even in March we still have kittens and cats arriving each day.  If you are interested in adopting one of these precious pets please go to the Adopt Page of our website to see who’s still looking for a human to call their own.  If you are unable to adopt please consider a donation to assist us with the costs associated with desexing so many cats and kittens.

A Tale of Hope

Hope arrived at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home just before Christmas and the team was immediately concerned for her wellbeing. She was afraid and suffering with severe weeping eyes and patches of raw itchy skin on her body. Pain relief was promptly provided to alleviate her misery.

Taking an extra gentle approach the team soon had this scared girl coming out of her shell and giving them kisses. Having no microchip, we were unable to locate Hope’s owner and no one came forward to reclaim this beautiful but neglected girl. It was estimated that Hope was approximately 6 years old, and the team turned their attention to getting this girl fit and healthy, ready to find her new loving family.

 

Our Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Cole diagnosed Hope with bilateral entropion, a painful condition in which eyelids are inverted, causing the eyelashes to constantly rub and scratch the eyeball.

This condition required surgery to alleviate Hope’s discomfort and prevent it from permanently damaging her eyes. Hope also needed in-depth investigation to properly diagnose her skin condition as well as a major dental clean and desexing surgery.

With the generous support of our community we were able to raise just over $5,000 to help cover the cost of Hope’s much needed veterinary care.

We are now pleased to report that Hope’s surgery was a success, her skin condition is resolving and the best news of all - Hope has found a new loving forever home!

Bo Bounces Back

Bo arrived at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home early in the new year.  A beautiful older Labrador, Bo walked well on lead, knew a few tricks and had obviously been someone’s much loved pet.  Sadly, Bo was not microchipped and no one came forward to reclaim him.

So after 7 days Bo was transferred into the care of Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.  It had been obvious from the moment Bo entered the home that he had a large mass protruding from his left hock.

Our Chief Vet Officer Dr Christine Cole took a biopsy of the mass and sent it off to pathology for diagnosis.  The results revealed that Bo had a Mast Cell Tumour, the most common skin tumour found in dogs.  The team immediately set about liaising with our third-party off-site vet clinic to organised a suitable time and access to a surgical theatre in order to surgically remove the tumour from Bo’s leg.

Sadly when Dr Cole began operating on the tumour she found that the mass had infiltrated the surrounding tissue and tendons.  There was no way to remove the tumour leaving sufficient margin of healthy non-cancerous tissue.

An otherwise healthy and active dog, the team decided the best treatment option for Bo was to remove his left hind leg, ensuring the cancer was completely removed.  Once again access to the third-party vet clinic was organised and the surgery booked in.  The operation went smoothly, Bo being an ideal surgical candidate.

Post – op Bo was brought back to the shelter for observation and within less than 24 hours he was up and negotiating his way around the admin office.  As no one, despite his beautiful demeanour and handsome good looks, has expressed interest in adopting Bo he will now go into foster care while the surgical site continues to heal.

The team estimates Bo is approximately 9 years young and should have a good five years ahead of him.  He’s such a great dog and would make someone a wonderful companion.  Please contact Sydney Dogs and Cats Home if you think you could provide Bo with the care and loving home he so justly deserves.

Fund our life-saving clinic to help pets like Bo

Bo’s case is just another example of the team having to juggle schedules to fit into the available time slots at an offsite vet clinic.  We are currently seeking donations to fund the build of our own vet clinic which will be integrated into our new Home in Kurnell.  So far we have raised $80,000 to cover the cost of the essential, life-saving equipment that will be needed.  We are still seeking to raise and additional $120,000 to cover the cost of the complete build and fit out.

Django’s Perfect Match

Bondi Behaviourist’s Ian Shivers recently adopted Django from Sydney Dogs and Cats Home and has this wonderful advice for people looking to welcome a new dog into their lives….

When choosing a dog, as hard as it is we should select the dog for our homes with our heads rather than our hearts.

When I was looking for my boy I set out what I was looking for by being honest with myself about my situation.

While I love big dogs, I wanted a dog that was small, because I rent and that can make things easier in the future if I move home.

I live with a cat and so he had to be cat friendly.

I love to exercise, but when I thought about it… this is my alone time and so I didn’t actually need a high energy dog because I exercise for me rather than my dog.

I also prefer taking my dogs to places to relax with them such as quiet walks, picnics, cafes and pubs rather than dog parks so again not a highly active dog.

I work with dogs every day of my life, so I didn’t want a project. This meant choosing a dog that was good with children, adults and other animals.

And finally although I work from home sometimes, he does have to be left alone and so a dog that is comfortable with this was important so that I didn’t stress him out when I leave.

The other things I wanted with my heart was a male dog, a scruffy dog and one that was a bit older so that I could take on a dog that perhaps others might not.

I weighed up my options and waited patiently, there were many dogs that I could have taken home but didn’t quite fit the bill. Little Django came in and since then it’s been plain sailing, he’s a legend of a dog who has done nothing but bring happiness to my life and the only credit I can take is that I was honest with myself and waited patiently for the right one, he did the rest by just being him.

Everyone is different and lives different lives, some people will want the exact opposite from me and that’s perfect. Getting a dog requires commitment no matter what and even the best thought out plans go off track but if we all take the time to assess our situations and be patient when choosing then it is likely fewer dogs would end up in the shelters.

Thank you to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home for being patient with me when helping find Django as well!

And thank you Ian for providing Django with such a great home.  Bondi Behaviourist works across Sydney, with dog behaviour issues and the training of pet dogs.  Their aim is to create a closer bond between people and their dogs, helping rebuild any parts of the relationship that may have broken down.  Learn more about about Bondi Behaviourist and there services here.

 

 

 

Senior Pet Project Update: Bluey’s Happily Ever After

At 15 years of age, Bluey found himself lost and homeless.  He was picked up as a stray and brought into Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.  When no one came forward to reclaim this senior gentleman the team set about finding Bluey a forever home where he could enjoy his twilight years.

Given his advanced age and arthritic condition we were concerned that it might take some time to find that one-in-a-million person willing to take this boy into their home and heart.  Although the entire team had quickly fallen in love with this affectionate old soul, we knew it was best for Bluey to be placed into foster care while we searched for his ideal retirement home.

Thankfully we had a couple of foster carers ready to provide Bluey with a temporary home.  Amy and Mish, who had previously fostered a high-energy young, active dog for us realised with their full-time work schedules their lifestyle would be better suit an older, less active dog.   So Amy and Mish took Bluey into foster care.

In less than a week, Bluey also enchant Mish and Amy who made the decision to adopt him.  They realised they could give Bluey the home, comfort and support he needed in his final years.  “We’ve had to adapt our lives very little and in return we have a loving, loyal, complete goofball as a companion,” said Amy. “Coming home after a long shift and having a very happy, excited Mr Bluey waiting to greet me is the best stress reliver ever,” she continued.

Amy also has some very good advice for people looking to adopt, “Don’t focus on the breed, gender, colour or age of a dog.  Focus on a dog that will fit your existing lifestyle and you’ll end up with a loving companion you deserve and who deserves you.”

Bluey has blossomed in the care of Mish and Amy, growing healthier and stronger in his new home.  He’s gone from only taking very short 5-10 minute walks to playing and running at the beach for 1-2 hours.  He’s also learned to play catch.

If you are interested in adopting a senior pet or even providing temporary foster care to a senior that may come into the Home please contact the team on info@sydneydogsandcatshome.org or call 9587 9611.

Life and Love with Lorenzo

In the past two months we’ve welcomed nearly 300 cats and kittens at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, including several who tested positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) during the routine health check that we provide.

FIV is a viral disease that affects the immune system of cats. It makes them more susceptible to illness, but with proper care FIV cats can lead long, healthy, loving lives.

FIV is not transferable to humans or other species (e.g. dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc). It is commonly spread through deep bite wounds, which would typically occur during aggressive fights between cats over territorial disputes. The virus is also transmitted via seminal fluid and in the womb of an FIV-positive mother.

As the virus only lives within the infected feline it is unlikely to spread to a non-FIV cat. However our team recommends that FIV cats be rehomed as an ‘only cat’ or with other FIV positive felines as even domesticated cats can have spats resulting in bites which could transmit the disease.

FIV cats also need to be indoor-only cats. With a compromised immune system keeping them indoors reduces the risk of them contracting a disease or infection from other cats, parasites, fleas or ticks. Cats with FIV also require a diet that excludes raw meats because of the risk of parasites.

Currently there is no cure for the disease, but it is easily manageable through treatment, diet and care. Cats with FIV are living happy and healthy lives, bringing much joy to their owners.

Our current resident Lorenzo has FIV and has been patiently waiting in foster care 137 days to find his forever home. If you think you could offer one of our lovely FIV friends a home please contact the team at info@sydneydogsandcatshome.org

Restoring Rusty to Health

With the holiday season, a time of giving and sharing soon upon us, we wanted to thank our community for their ongoing  support and to share a touching story of a special dog named Rusty who, thanks to our community, we were able to provide the care and treatment he desperately needed.

So far this calendar year Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has welcomed more than 2,000 of Sydney’s lost, abandoned, injured and neglected pets through our doors.  Our team, sadly, is often confronted with animals that are malnourished or unwell. Many are infested with parasites such as fleas or mange mites. Some have untreated tumours and cancers. Serious dental problems are commonplace. Many have coats which are matted and overgrown.

One recent case that needed our help is current resident Rusty, a three-year-old Shar Pei who arrived in mid-September.  Rusty had been found wandering the streets alone and with severe and obvious eye problems causing squinting and weeping of both eyes. He was diagnosed with bilateral entropian.

This painful breed-related condition in which eyelids are inverted, causes the eyelashes to constantly rub and scratch the eyeball. Rusty’s entropian was so severe that it had left permanent scarring on the cornea, he was in constant pain and his vision was seriously impacted. This condition requires early correction and is ideally corrected in puppyhood.

With no owner coming forward, Rusty was transferred into our care and our vet team, led by Chief Veterinarian Christine Cole, set about with a surgery to correct Rusty’s condition and alleviate his suffering.  As with all our surgeries, Rusty was taken to an offsite vet clinic, as we have no facility to perform surgeries at our current location.

Examination of Rusty’s eyes under general anaesthesia revealed that scarring to his right eye from years of chronic irritation was irreversible, and that he had barely any vision left in this eye. The decision was taken to remove this painful and useless eye.

Thankfully, his left eye was able to be saved, and corrective surgery was done to restore comfort and function to the eyelids of this eye and protect his vision. Rusty was transferred back to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to recover.

Rusty’s troubles were not over however. Although he had bounced back initially after surgery he was put on sick report after refusing food and vomiting. These were concerning signs taken very seriously. Another trip to the vet hospital was necessary to investigate these new concerns and it was just as well that we didn’t hesitate.  Our vet team worked on Rusty for three hours in what turned out to be a life-saving procedure.

Rusty had been suffering from a twisted bowel and part of his intestinal track had died. Dr Cole removed twenty centimeters of necrotic intestine and then stitched the healthy intestine back together. Once again Rusty was transferred back to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home to be vigilantly monitored.

Thankfully Rusty recovered uneventfully from this, his second procedure, and within 24 hours he was eating vigorously and up and about.  We know that the care that we are able to provide neglected pets like Rusty is only possible because of your generous support of the community.

As we prepare to build our new Home in Kurnell, we have the opportunity to establish a fully equipped and functioning onsite vet clinic, which will enable us to perform most medical and surgical procedures on site, more efficiently and without the need to transfer animals back and forth.

Having an onsite veterinarian facility in Kurnell will enable us to continue to transform and save the lives of the thousands of animals coming into our care like Rusty, but we desperately need funds for the build.

It is with this in mind, that we ask if you would support us this holiday season by making a donation. We are looking to raise $200,000 by the calendar year’s end to help fund the build. Please donate now to help us make this dream come true.

Rusty has recovered fully and is now available for adoption. In the meantime, we will continue to look after this beautiful boy until he finds his permanent new home.

From Rusty, all the team and residents past, present and future at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season.

Build the Home

In 2015 Sydney Dogs and Cats Home received the news that we would have to vacate our current Carlton location. While the news was devastating it created a wonderful opportunity.  The opportunity for us to look to the future and build what will be a world-class combined animal shelter and community facility servicing the Greater Sydney Area.

With the site secured on a vacant parcel of land in Kurnell, we have turned our attention to the build.  Following months of research and consultation, the preliminary plans for our new Home have been developed.  We have met with the Sutherland Shire Council, and hope to be submitting a Development Application in the near future.

Our new Home will sit on 9,720 square metres; that’s nearly 8 times the size of our current site in Carlton.  It will have capacity to house 64-90 dogs, depending on size, and 120 cats.  We will have purpose-built areas to accommodate the pocket pets – like the rabbits, birds and ferrets that frequently come into the Home.  And we will have an area reserved for the farm animals such as the goats and sheep that sometimes arrive on our doorstep.
There will also be 3 exercise and challenger yards to be utilised by the shelter residents.

Having access to more physical space means we have the opportunity to expand our community programs, enabling us to support even more people in need, who benefit from working with shelter pets.  We will also have an onsite café, community centre and garden.

It’s been a long journey to get us to this point, but we still have a lot of work ahead.  To build our new Home in Kurnell we will need to raise $6.4 million. At the moment, with the community’s generous support, we have received over $1.5 million in donations specifically for the build.

However we need $4.9 million to fund the gap. We need your contribution to help us create what will be a world-class animal shelter and community centre for the Greater Sydney Area.  Please dig deep and donate today.

We hope that you will continue to follow us on this journey.  Your involvement, commitment and support is one of the key factors that helps differentiate Sydney Dogs and Cats Home from other shelters, making it such a special place for all pets and people.