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Read heartwarming tales about wagging tails and warmed hearts.

Dorothy Transformed from Mange to Marvellous

This calendar year we’ve welcomed more than 2,000 of Sydney’s lost and abandoned animals into our care.  Sadly, not every animal that arrives on the doorstep of Sydney Dogs and Cats Home is in the best of health.

This month the team was particularly challenged when the council ranger brought Dorothy into the Home after she’d been abandoned at a veterinary practice.

Dorothy had a serious case of demodectic mange and a terrible skin infection.  She was also extremely underweight.  She had lost almost her entire coat of fur and nearly every centimetre of her body was red raw, inflamed and covered in scabs, and there was a strong odour emanating from her infected skin.

Our Animal Care Manager and certified veterinarian Renae Jackson said, “I’ve never seen such an extreme case of mange in a dog in the Sydney area.”

“What’s really heartbreaking is that Dorothy’s condition has not occurred overnight but has worsened over weeks or even months.  Since she is only six months old, this means that much of her life has been spent suffering from this itchy and painful condition.”

Despite this rough start to life the team saw from the very first moments that Dorothy was a very happy, friendly girl with a loveable demeanour.

They immediately set out to get this girl settled and comfortable giving her pain-relief medication and antibiotics to treat her infection.  Dorothy was also given Simparica to kill the millions of mites that were covering her weakened body and the root cause of the mange.

A protocol of antibacterial baths followed by treatment with a soothing conditioning lotion every second day was put in place and followed diligently.  Dorothy was also put on a diet of Hill’s Science puppy food to ensure she was getting the nutrients a growing puppy needs and to help her gain weight. 

Dorothy has been in our care for a few weeks and we can see a significant improvement in her condition.  We are confident that Dorothy will make a full recovery and quickly find herself a new loving home.

Thanks to the generosity of individuals, like you, we are able to provide the care and treatment that the lost and neglected pets, like Dorothy need, restoring them to health and ultimately a new loving home.

With the holidays being our busiest time of year, it is now when we need your help, more than ever. Your support today will go a long way to funding our vital work and helping the thousands of animals who we will welcome into our care in the future.  Please donate to help support pets like Dorothy.

From all of us here at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, we thank you for your support and wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

Serpico – Three Years, Five Homes

We first welcomed Serpico into Sydney Dogs and Cats Home in 2016. Due to his approachable nature and willingness to accept kisses, the team was certain Serpico had a home. However this little darling was not microchipped and we were unable to find his original owner. Serpico had lost his way and was now looking for a new home. Over the next few years we would welcome Serpico back three more times.

Serpico’s initial stay with us was just a few weeks before we were able to rehome him. He enjoyed a couple of years in this, his second home, but his adoptive owner moved overseas, leaving Serpico in the care of a friend and ultimately his third home. The friend was not able to look after Serpico long term and surrendered him back into our care in July of this year.

Serpico second visit to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home lasted a month before we transferred him to our adoption partner Petstock Zetland. Just 10 days later Serpico was adopted by a new mum, who had another friend for him, at what would be his fourth home.

Sadly, Serpico’s stay in this home was just over a month. Serpico and his new friend, an older cat, did not warm to each other and would often fight creating a stressful home environment for everyone. So once again, we opened up our doors and our hearts to Serpico, welcoming him back a third time.

Serpico’s story, however does not end here without a happy ending. Serpico was only with us for a few more weeks before he was rehomed via our adoption partner Petstock Kingsford. Serpico is now in his fifth and what we believe will be his final home. He’s got a new name, Byron and his own Instagram account – @byron.cat. – where you can see this beautiful boy being spoiled and pampered on a daily basis. We are quietly confident that Byron has now truly found his forever home.

At Sydney Dogs and Cats Home we don’t put a time limit on any adoptable animal. We can only do this because of the generous support of the community who donate regularly to enable us to care for the thousands of lost, neglected and abandoned pets who come through our doors each year. In operation for more than 72 years, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home is currently Sydney’s only registered charity impound facility. Please support our work and the animals that we transform and rehome by signing up to become a regular giver here.

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.

 

 

 

Rory arrived at Sydney Dogs and Cats Home back in July - a seemingly healthy, eight-week-old stray kitten. It was only when our vet team anesthetised Rory prior to her desexing surgery that they noticed something was very wrong.

Rory’s breathing under anesthetic became laboured and her heart rate increased. Rather than continuing with the procedure the team immediately gave Rory a chest X-ray. The X-ray indicated Rory might be suffering from pneumonia even though she’d not exhibiting any symptoms like coughing or sneezing.

Rory was put into foster care, given a course of antibiotics and a follow-up X-ray organised to determine if the infection had cleared. Three weeks later Rory was in good condition, eating and playing well, but the second X-ray revealed no improvement with her lungs.

With basic pneumonia being ruled out, the team in consultation with other specialists identified several potential causes of Rory’s condition that needed to be considered, one of which was a lungworm infection.

Lungworms are a parasitic worm species that causes severe breathing problems. There are several species of worms that can cause lungworm by migrating to the lungs. The typical symptoms of a lungworm infection include coughing and shortness of breath. Cats can catch lungworms by drinking water infected with worm larvae or by eating rodents or birds that carry parasites.

It is very rare for a cat as young as Rory to have lungworms, but to rule it out the team organised for a fecal test to determine if larvae were present in Rory’s stool. The results came back positive and the team began treating Rory with daily anti-parasitic medication. A few weeks later Rory came back in for her third round of X-rays which revealed that her lungs were becoming clearer and her breathing improved so that she could be anesthetised for desexing.

Rory was in our care and under vet supervision for more than 11 weeks. The team were confident that she would make a full recovery and she did. A playful and affectionate girl Rory, we are pleased to report, quickly found her forever home and is living happily ever after.

Pumpkin on the Mend in Her New Home

Pumpkin arrived into our care injured and scared. She’d been found roaming the street without a collar. A scan showed she had no microchip so we had no means of finding her owner and no one came forward to claim her.

Pumpkin’s injuries were immediately apparent upon her arrival at the shelter as she was not putting weight on her left front leg.  The vet team went into action giving this sweet little girl pain relief and organising X-rays.  The X-rays revealed a fractured leg and dislocated joint.  Extremely overweight, Pumpkin was also put on an urgent weight loss program with the support of our sponsor Hill’s Science Diet.

Thanks to the wonderful support of our generous community, we raised over $4,000 through our Emergency Specialist Action fund so that Pumpkin could undergo a specialist surgery to try and save her leg.

Unfortunately, Pumpkin’s injury was too old and despite the best efforts of our team, the bone fragments could not be successfully fitted together and we were unable to save Pumpkin’s leg from amputation.

However prior to her surgery, Pumpkin had lost almost 10% of her body weight, thanks to her adoptive parents, making it easier for her to get around. So within 48 hours of surgery, Pumpkin was up, playing and running on her three legs and reunited with her new loving family.

 

Super Caturday Success

We found loving homes for 20 cats in a single day thanks to our Super Caturday Adoption Event which was held last month. Partnering with PETstock Rockdale we were able to rehome 10 cats from their location as well as clear our cattery of all but one cat – Lettie.

Lettie, we are pleased to report, has now found her forever home too after being in our care for more than seven months! As we head into kitten season being able to empty the cattery is a welcomed event as we will need the space and more in the coming months.

Bottle babies have already started to arrive at the Home and our Foster Care Coordinator Sabrina has created a Bottle Baby Brigade in anticipation of what is to come this kitten season. The Bottle Baby Brigade will be looking after the neonatal kittens – new born to four weeks old – that find their way to us.

Neonatal kittens require rigorous and intensive care. This includes feeding every two hours around the clock as well as stimulating them with a warm moist ball of cotton after each feed to help them eliminate waste. If you would like to join the Bottle Baby Brigade for this exhausting but highly rewarding task or if you are interested in becoming a kitten or cat foster carer please contact Sabrina on foster@sydneydogsandcatshome.org.

Benefits of Adopting an Adult Cat

Everyone loves a kitten, a cute cuddly little ball of fluff, however adopting a kitten may not be the best choice for you or your family.  Kittens have tonnes of energy and raising a kitten may not suit a busy, time-poor person or family.  As we spend the week focusing on all things cats – with our LOVE CATS campaign, we want to highlight the advantages of adopting an adult cat.  Some of these benefits include:

  • Adult cats require less supervision than kittens and are less likely to destroy your home if you are not around to supervise them.
  • Their personalities are fully developed so you know what you are getting.
  • Adult cats are more likely to be litter trained.
  • Most adult cats have come from a home so they may be accustomed to children or other pets (NB: they may initially be shy, but they have experience interacting with humans and are likely to be friendly).
  • Adult cats are better with children as they don’t have the very sharp teeth and claws of a kitten, and they will be more gentle-natured in their play and interaction.
  • Older cats still like to play in-between their naps.
  • Adult cats still need love and attention and are affectionate and loyal companions.

So if you are thinking of adopting a kitten please also consider the advantages of adopting an adult cat.

Before You Pack Your Bags

Imagine coming back from holiday to find that your beloved family pet has gone missing. There are messages on your phone from the local shelter and a notice in your letterbox explaining that your pet is in their care and if you don’t reclaim your pet within two weeks it will become available for adoption by someone else. You call the shelter immediately, but it is too late! Your pet – in their care for 20 days – has been rehomed.

If another 24 hours had passed this would have been the reality faced by Fonzy’s family.  Fonzy’s family had been on the overseas holiday of a lifetime, only to return and find their precious pooch missing.  Fonzy had been entrusted into the care of a family-friend.  Somehow Fonzy ended up wandering the streets and was picked up by a council ranger who brought him to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home when he was unable to reach Fonzy’s owner.  The pet-minder who lost Fonzy, didn’t tell the family he’d gone missing and didn’t know how to find Fonzy.

Fonzy’s story, unfortunately, is not a unique or isolated case.  The following week we had another occurrence of an owner leaving a dog in the care of a friend while they went overseas for three days.  The dog went missing on day number one and the minder didn’t tell the owner.  Thankfully this dog was picked-up, unharmed and brought into Sydney Dogs and Cats Home. We were able to reunite this dog with his owner during the two-week hold period.

These two instances both had positive outcomes for the pets and the owners.  However, this may not always be the case. To help safeguard your pets should you leave them in someone else’s care, we have developed the following precautionary checklist:

  1. Make sure your pet is microchipped and the contact details are current; updating your details is free and can be done at your council or online at petregistry.nsw.gov.au.
  2. Add the carer – or a trusted friend who isn’t on holiday with you – as a ‘secondary contact’ on the microchip; this can also be done at your council or online via petregistry.nsw.gov.au and there is no cost.
  3. Ensure your animal has a collar with a tag with your contact details and that of the temporary minder; do it yourself don’t rely on the carer to add their details.
  4. Leave the carer with the number of your local impound facility as well as contact details of your local vet; you can find contact details of your local impound facility from your council or via a google search.

Additional advice for people leaving their dog in someone else’s care:

  • double-check the carer’s fencing to ensure it is secure with no means to escape;
  • brief the carer to leave the dog’s collar on at all times;
  • advise the carer to only ever walk your dog on lead – even at the off-leash dog park; and
  • ask the carer to stick to your routine as closely as possible (e.g. feeding timing, walking, etc.).

Tips for people leaving their cat in someone else’s care:

  • never let the cat out whilst it is being minded by someone else, even if  it is in your own home; and
  • ask the carer to stick to your cat’s routine (e.g. feeding, toys, litterbox cleaning, etc.) as much as possible.

Accidents can happen and if you reside in one of the eight council areas (i.e. Bayside, Fairfield, Georges River, Inner West, North Sydney, Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra) service by Sydney Dogs and Cats Home please go to the lost page of our website if your pet is missing.  Nothing can ruin a post-holiday high faster than finding out your pet is lost.  We hope the above can help safeguard that from happening or at least ensure that if it does you and your pet are reunited.

 

 

Gopher’s Journey from Ringworm to Rehomed

In late March, Gopher was brought into Sydney Dogs and Cats Home as a stray.  The beautiful one-year-old Staffy X was covered in ringworm lesions.  They were on his face, head, legs and even his paws.

Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that causes hair loss, skin ulceration and itchiness.  Not only can ringworm spread from one dog to another but it can also spread from dog to human.

So poor Gopher had to spend his first weeks at the Home completely quarantined and isolated.  Gopher couldn’t go out on walks because of the risk he would spread the fungal infection to the other dogs living in and around the shelter.  Also the team members who interacted with Gopher had to be covered from head to toe in disposable protective clothing to ensure they didn’t becoming infected or pass on the fungal infection to the other animals in our care.

The team put together a treatment plan for Gopher which addressed not only his ringworm infection but also a way to keep this young boy entertained and happy whilst in isolation.  For the first two weeks Gopher’s lesions were treated twice daily with the application of an anti-fungal cream. Gopher was also given a weekly bath with an anti-fungal shampoo over the quarantine period. To keep Gopher occupied while his skin slowly healed and his coat grew back, the team provided this big boofhead with lots of enrichment games, toys and treats to keep him busy.

Finally, after five weeks, Gopher was given the all clear.  Our volunteer photographer Peter from Tame & Wild Studios captured some amazing images of Gopher which went up on our website.  And in no time at all a wonderful human came forward to adopt Gopher and give him the forever home he deserves.

Team Cat Leader Holly Shares Her Story

Loving cats and dogs equally, Holly is proud to be leader of fundraising group Team Cat in the upcoming City2Surf. “I love all the different personalities of cats,” Holly said, “from too-cool-for-school cats to loving little darlings like Gracie.”

Holly has been a supporter of Sydney Dogs and Cats Home for several years.  It was back in 2015 while helping out behind reception that Holly fell in love with and adopted Gracie, the office Cat.

“With a full-time job involving lots of travel and living in an apartment, a cat is the perfect companion for my living situation. Gracie is just awesome – she has enriched my life no end.  Such a loving and affectionate little lady.”

Holly has run the City2Surf three times and this will be her second time running for Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.  “It’s such a special event, with such a good vibe to it.  Raising money for the Home really enhances the experience on the day, and it is really satisfying to see your fundraising bank increase; it gives you such purpose.”

Holly continues, “I chose to run for the Home as I believe it’s a wonderful and essential service for lost and abandoned animals – I can’t imagine a cause more worthy!  It is also great to know that my funds raised will contribute to the new shelter.  Feedback from those who sponsored me also echoed what a great cause it is, and who doesn’t love helping animals!?”

To sponsor Holly or to join one of the running teams click here.

Purr-fect New Home

Since 1946, Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has been providing refuge to lost and abandoned pets. In early 2015, we received the devastating news that our facility in Carlton was slated for redevelopment rendering the Home – homeless.

Thanks to the support of the State Government, this place of refuge now has a much brighter future, after securing a long term community lease at a site in the Sutherland Shire Council area of Kurnell.

It has been a long road to get us to where we are today and without the support of the State Government, and the greater community, we would not have been able to achieve this wonderful result. So a big thank you to all of our supporters from all of us, especially the many animals we care for each year.  The future of Sydney Dogs and Cats Home is now secured.

We look forward to building a state-of-the-art combined animal shelter and community facility, allowing us to continue our vital lifesaving service for many years to come and to increase all our community-based activities.  These programs include aged and disability care initiatives, a student reading program as well as a rehabilitation program in conjunction with the Australian Army which supports injured trainee soldiers.

Thanks to this positive progress, we look forward to continuing our partnerships and service to our current 8 local council areas of Sydney, providing their communities, with a best-practice pound services option.

Our focus, as it has always been, is to be a front runner in animal welfare practices and responsible reuniting and rehoming options for lost and abandoned pets. Through the nature of our work, we have also found that we can provide meaningful opportunities to support those people in the community that need it most.

The team has begun extensive research into best practice animal sheltering and community facilities both in Australia and Overseas, to ensure what we build today will stand the test of time and enable us to provide a world class service to the Greater Sydney area for many years come.

The Home, has received nearly $1.5 million in donations since announcing the need to relocate in 2015, that will go towards our initial $3 million target to start stage 1 of the build. With the ambitious target to raise over $8 million by 2020, we are now calling on the community to get behind their great work and make a tax deductible donation to the build of our new Home.