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Willow’s Journey: From Shelter to Forever Home

Willow spent her first week of 2024 lost before coming into Sydney Dogs & Cats Home. At 12 years old, this golden oldie should have been spending her days relaxing in her home, not in a shelter. Willow was safely off the streets and happily spending her days snoozing and going on walks with staff and volunteers and making doggy friends.

While Willow was a happy dog and in good spirits, she had dental disease and needed some teeth extracted to reduce any pain and discomfort and she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her hips and hind legs. Willow underwent surgery to remove the affected teeth and was put on medication to help with the osteoarthritis. Willow spent the next few weeks in the shelter recovering and becoming the office dog during the hot summer days, basking in the cool AC.

It wasn’t long before Willow caught the eye of Sarah-Jane and her family who brought Willow home at the end of February. Sarah-Jane sent an update recently and has commented on how wonderful Willow has slotted into her new family’s home and lives, “it’s as if she has been here all along!”

Willow has been quite fond of Sarah-Jane, sleeping next to her bed and under the desk while she is working. Willow has become fond of dinner time, parking herself in the kitchen amongst the action.

Apart from spending time with her humans and dinner time, Willow enjoys her twice daily walks and visiting the pet supply store for new treats and squeaky toys, and always receives a lot of love when out and about.

We’re so happy to see a senior dog like Willow receiving the love she deserves.

If you are looking to add a furry friend to your life, consider an older pet who still has so much love to give.


Published April 2024




Donut the dog says THANK YOU!

We are excited to share that Donut the dog, thanks to supporters like you, has found her forever home! Donut came to us in November 2022 as an 11-month-old who was found lost and scared wandering the streets. She was very skinny, required two major surgeries to fix the pain in her knees and she needed dental surgery to address some severe issues. Despite her health issues, Donut is an incredibly friendly dog and loves being around people, so it surprised us that it took just over a year to find her forever home.

But good things happen to good dogs who wait! Donut’s new mum Phoebe had also been patiently waiting for the perfect moment to adopt a dog, something she had been wanting to do for most of her life. As soon as she and her family moved into a new home, her hunt for the perfect dog begun late last year. Phoebe instantly fell in love with Donut’s gorgeous smile, standing out from all the photos on our website. Phoebe and Donut’s wait was worth it as they have both found their soulmate.

Donut is now living her best life and hasn’t let her multiple surgeries slow her down! She enjoys going on daily walks, going on beach adventures and frolicking in the water throughout the summer, chasing balls at the park and playing with any toy that squeaks. She quickly found her spot on the sofa which remains ‘Donut’s spot’ and learnt that the vacuum cleaner is her number one enemy.

It didn’t take Donut long to settle in at all. She is loving being around her people and playing as much as she can, showcasing her funny, clumsy and bright side.

It is because of your support; sharing our stories, emails and social media posts, and donating that allows us to help Donut and other pets like her.

Want to support more dogs like Donut? You can donate here.

Add Fun to Your Dog’s Day


Are you looking for ideas to make your furry friend’s life better?  

We delve into the transformative realm of dog enrichment activities—an essential ingredient for nurturing happy, healthy, and well-rounded dogs. We lead busy lives and often it’s necessary for us to be away from home for long periods. But just like us, dogs like to be kept entertained and can easily become bored without enough to do leading to unwanted and destructive behaviours. 

Enrichment is more than just a buzzword; it’s a commitment to providing an environment and activities that look after your dog’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  In other words, finding ways to enrich your dog’s life! 

 Below are some ideas, but explore limitless possibilities by tapping into your imagination. Try to mix it up too – doing the same activity day after day lowers its value. When presenting a new challenge or food toy to your dog, start easy. Let them see you scatter the food, have the food in a ball that easily comes out etc. Then, slowly increase difficulty.

Enrichment toys 

Interactive toys stimulate a dog’s natural impulses to chew, gnaw, chase, and forage. Not only do puzzle toys give your dog’s brain a workout, but they also allow your dog a positive sense of achievement. 

  • Snuffle Mat: A snuffle mat keeps your dog entertained and slows down their mealtimes. Simply sprinkle their favourite treats or mealtime kibble through the ruffled wing sections and let them find it when they are home alone for a long-lasting, tasty and brain-stimulating exercise! 
  • Kong: A Kong is a hard, rubber, snowman-shaped toy with a small hole on top and a large one on the bottom. It takes just a few minutes to stuff a Kong toy with food or treats and can occupy your dog for several hours, depending on your dog’s personality and interest level. As your dog works to remove food or treats from the Kong toy, they expend excess energy. Not only does this help reduce boredom, but it can also help alleviate anxiety. For a longer experience, freeze the Kong before giving it to your dog. 
  • Lickimat: A lick mat is a flat mat, designed for your dog to lick, over and over. They are usually coated with ridges and brittles that encourage licking. Since they are flat, dogs are not able to grab food with their teeth and must use their tongue instead. The result: it takes much longer to eat all the food and provides a fun and stimulating activity for your dog.


Chew toys 

Chewing naturally increases a dog’s overall well-being. The repetitive action of chewing releases serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters in the brain that support mental health, and a feel-good vibe. Provide your dog with some long-lasting chews such as: 

  • Bully stick 
  • Goat horn 
  • Deer antler  
  • Kangaroo tails 

DIY enrichment 

Enrichment doesn’t need to be expensive, and you don’t have to spend money to get started. In fact, there are many things you can do using things you’ve already got at home! 

  • Rolled-up towels: Roll some treats into a towel or bathmat and let your dog unroll it to find the treats throughout. You can level up by tucking the end of the towel into a box or plastic container, so it doesn’t unravel as easily. Encourage the dog to interact with the towel to get to the treats. 
  • Frozen treats: Freeze some of your dog’s favourite treats into an ice block! Let them enjoy and uncover the treats within.
  • Scavenger Hunts: Put your dog’s food or dried treats in multiple places around the house or your yard, or simply scatter it amongst the grass and let your dog search! You can start with just one room or a small area of lawn and level up by using your entire yard or house.
  • Toy hide-and-seek: You can even teach them to find toys. Get them excited about a toy, then let them see you go hide it somewhere easy – say “go find” they get it and you play. Then you slowly make it harder. You could even choose two toys for them to play with each day.
  • Recycling pit: Add loose cardboard boxes, empty toilet rolls, egg boxes, scrunched-up towels etc to a large box or shell pool and scatter food throughout. You can level up by adding some food into closed boxes, stuffing scrunched paper and food into tubes so there are multiple small puzzles within the bigger puzzle! 

Get started with dog enrichment and tag us on social media to spread the joy!  

Lexie’s Incredible Journey

Lexie when she first arrived at Sydney Dogs & Cats HomeAlexis (better known as Lexie) is probably a familiar face. It’s hard to forget the sad, forlorn face of Lexie the Border Collie, who captured hearts as the face of our Best Friends Campaign in May and June last year. From the moment Lexie came into the care of Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, her journey from a painful and extremely sad dog to a friendly and beloved family pet has been awe-inspiring.  

 Lexie arrived at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home in February 2023 with some of the worst skin disease the Head Vet had ever seen. She was covered in fleas, her skin was infected, thickened and red. She was so itchy that she had lost most of her fur. Additionally, Lexie was undernourished, desperately requiring TLC. Our vet team quickly devised a comprehensive plan to tackle her skin disease. Through medications, supplements, and a tailored diet, they began her recovery. Placed under the watchful care of Sydney Dogs & Cats Home Foster Carer Annie, Lexie embarked on a journey of physical and emotional healing. 

 Annie’s dedication to earning Lexie’s trust and providing a safe haven was nothing short of heroic. From patiently sitting by her crate to creating enticing, dog-friendly meals to entice Lexie to eat and take her medication, Annie proved to be the steadfast support Lexie needed. As days turned into weeks, Lexie’s progress became evident, and her true personality emerged, marked by both friendliness and a touch of sass. 

 Without Annie’s persistence and unwillingness to give up on Lexie and with the help of the team at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home, Lexie wouldn’t be in the position to have met Jeff and Jane.  

 Jeff and Jane had recently lost their rescue Border Collie x Jack Russell who they had for 15 years and felt like they had so much more love to offer a rescue dog, so they began searching for their perfect match. They saw photos of Lexie when she first arrived at the Home, sad, frightened and in such poor physical condition and then saw newer photos of her in foster care with Annie, where she was much happier, rediscovering the joy of being loved and taken care of. Jeff and Jane were determined to give Lexie the chance to receive the love and care she deserved.  

 Lexie after her rehabilitationAfter engaging in meaningful discussions with the Home’s team regarding Lexie’s needs and being aware of their capacity to provide her with love, time, patience, and resources, Jeff and Jane, who had a wealth of Border Collie experience having cared for three in the past, submitted their application. Before long, they had the privilege of meeting Lexie face-to-face for the very first time. 

 For Jeff and Jane, it was instant love. While Lexie was initially timid and anxious, her loving and sweet nature quickly shone through, and it wasn’t long before she approached for pats and a quick cuddle. Jeff and Jane say they were quietly ecstatic by this and were excited to go for a walk with her around the block. They also had the chance to meet Annie at the meet and greet, who answered all their questions and queries and gave them invaluable advice and tips that she believed Lexie would benefit from. It was clear to Jeff and Jane just how much care Annie and the team at the Home gave  Lexie and they would not want anything less than total commitment and love from potential adopters.  

 Annie has been an integral part of Lexie’s transition to her new home with Jeff and Jane, from being Lexie’s personal chauffer from Sydney to her new home in Bowral, visiting Lexie when she can, providing Lexie with care packages including treats and toys and instructions that Annie herself found useful when caring for Lexie. In the process, Annie has not only become a trusted friend to Lexie but has also forged a friendship with Jeff and Jane. 

 Lexie has settled into her new home beautifully. Jeff and Jane were able to gradually build Lexie’s trust and she is now their little shadow, participating in all the family activities. Jeff says, “We found that by taking things slowly and quietly, giving Lexie her own space and time letting her decide when and how to react to situations, was the key to success.” 

 Now Lexie spends her time playing with her dog and human friends at the dog park and often playing ‘referee’ to the squabbles when some of the dogs are playing a little too rough. She has enjoyed rides in the car, walks along the beach, lounging in front of the fire on cooler winter nights, helping to unpack groceries and loves having her tummy rubbed and her ears stroked.  

 Jeff and Jane have spoken highly of the exceptional dedication shown by Sydney Dogs & Cats Home and Annie. They praise the time taken in ensuring not only Lexie was loved and cared for while she began her healing journey and her quest to find a new home, but also ensuring Lexie’s wellbeing remained the central focus during the adoption process. Jeff says, “The level of support for adopters is comprehensive and outstanding, nothing is too much trouble.”  

Lexie has made incredible progress while in her new home and it’s clear Jeff and Jane are devoted to ensuring Lexie feels safe, cared for, and loved and continue to help build her confidence. They are even looking forward to enrolling her into scent work classes which they hope will be a rewarding adventure for the entire family.  

 It can often take a whole village of people to ensure dogs like Lexie recover and heal and gain their happiness and joy back. Jeff and Jane acknowledge that without an amazing foster carer like Annie, they are certain Lexie wouldn’t be the dog she is today.  

 They say to anyone thinking of welcoming a rescue dog into their heart and home; “The chance to answer that call is a blessing and one that will almost certainly reward adopters with so much love and joy. It’s an enriching experience to witness Lexie’s zest for life and beautiful personality re-establish.” 

Published 1st September 2023

From the Racetrack to Your Heart

Do you have a spot in your heart and home for a Greyhound who’s ready to leave his racing days behind? Meet Jerry Rascal, a charming and eager dog with a heart full of love and a zest for life. Despite never quite finding his stride on the racetrack, Jerry Rascal is determined to show the world just how much he has to offer in a loving forever home.

Jerry Rascal might not have been the fastest on the racetrack, but he’s racing into his next chapter with boundless enthusiasm. This Greyhound is ready to prove that his potential goes far beyond the racecourse. With his friendly nature and a heart full of affection, he’s prepared to win over the hearts of his future family members.

Having spent his early years on the racetrack, Jerry Rascal is embracing his new social life with open paws. He’s a social butterfly who adores meeting new people. His tail wags in joyful anticipation whenever someone approaches, and he’s always ready to shower them with love and warmth. Jerry Rascal’s eagerness to connect with people is truly heartwarming and a testament to his spirit.

Jerry Rascal’s love for food is matched only by his desire to please. He’s motivated by treats, making him an ideal candidate for training and building a strong bond. While he might need some guidance in mastering the art of taking treats gently, his food motivation can be a valuable asset as he learns what life is like off the track, out of the shelter and into a home!

Jerry Rascal’s ideal home is one where he can be the centre of attention. He’d thrive in an environment without small animals or small dogs, but he might be open to having another large dog friend pending a successful meet and greet. It’s important to note that Jerry Rascal has a lively personality and a talent for jumping quite high. To ensure his safety and containment, a home with secure fencing or boundaries is essential.

Transitioning from the racetrack to a home environment might require a bit of patience and understanding, but the rewards are immeasurable. With time, guidance, and your unwavering support, Jerry Rascal will blossom into a loyal and cherished member of your family. By giving him the chance to experience his first-ever home, you’ll not only transform his life but also discover the remarkable joy of watching a Greyhound discover the comforts of a loving forever family.

To learn more about Jerry Rascal’s journey and how you can provide him with the loving home he deserves, click here to view his profile and send an application today. Embark on this beautiful journey of companionship and watch as Jerry Rascal’s spirit shines brighter than ever before.

Posted 8th August 2023

A Haven for Lost and Abandoned Pets

Since its establishment in 1946, Sydney Dogs & Cats Home has been a beacon of hope for Sydney’s lost, abandoned, and neglected pets. Our mission is simple: to provide shelter, nourishment, veterinary care, and an abundance of love to animals in need, with a primary focus on dogs and cats. Whether we reunite them with their owners or help them find new loving homes, our ultimate goal is to bring pets and people together. 

 As Sydney’s sole charity pound and community facility, we open our doors to thousands of pets each year, extending our services across multiple council areas and servicing over a million Sydneysiders. We proudly support the Getting to Zero movement, which means that we don’t place a time limit on any healthy and treatable animal that enters our care. 

 Every day, we see animals with varying levels of need. Some simply require a warm bed and nourishing food to regain their strength and grow, while others need extensive medical intervention. One such case was Alexis, an 8-year-old Border Collie who arrived at our facility in an appalling state. Infested with fleas, plagued by infected and inflamed skin, and suffering from severe itching that resulted in substantial fur loss, Alexis was also severely underweight and extremely fearful. In a heart-wrenching discovery, council rangers found her tied up in a backyard helpless and desperate for treatment, care and love. We can only imagine how long she had suffered in this state. 

As soon as Alexis entered our care, our dedicated team of veterinarians promptly assessed Alexis’s condition and gave her appropriate medication to address her skin issues. Additionally, we provided her with supplements and nutritious food to help her reach a healthy weight for her breed. But soon it became apparent that what Alexis needed most was love and care. That’s when Annie, one of our exceptional foster carers, stepped in and offered Alexis a safe haven. 

 Annie dedicated the first four days to helping Alexis feel secure and loved. Despite initial challenges, such as Alexis’s refusal to eat or take her medication due to fear, Annie tirelessly experimented with a variety of dog-safe foods, from chicken to lamb chops, and ultimately found success with soup. She spent countless hours outside Alexis’s crate, showing her that she was safe and loved. Gradually, Alexis began to trust and feel more confident, eventually emerging from her safe space and blossoming into an entirely transformed dog. 

 Nowadays, Alexis loves her daily walks, eagerly stretching her legs and exploring the neighbourhood and all it has to offer. With a new zest for life, she zigzags around, joyfully sniffing every new scent she encounters, and spends the rest of her days peacefully dozing. Alexis has undergone an incredible change, evolving from a timid and frightened dog into a playful, sassy, and affectionate companion. 

 Our passion for our work is unwavering, but we cannot achieve our goals alone. Providing care for pets in need requires substantial resources, including daily essentials like food, bedding, treats, and toys, as well as funding for vital medications, surgeries, and training. In addition, we are also battling with the challenges of the rising cost of living prices and keeping two temporary facilities operating while we wait for the promised funding from the NSW Government.  Paying for essentials such as utilities and rent has added pressure to already sensitive circumstances.  

Your support can make a tremendous difference in the lives of our animals and wider organisation to continue to allow us to do the important work we do. We invite you to consider making a tax-deductible donation by clicking here. Every contribution, big or small, helps us continue our mission of providing second chances and bright futures for pets like Alexis. 

 Together, let’s make a positive impact on the lives of Sydney’s cherished companions. Join us in creating a world where every pet is given the love, care, and forever home they deserve. 


Published 2nd June 2023

Bright Future for Bailey

Beautiful Bailey is the sweetest and happiest boy and it’s hard to believe he found himself in a shelter. While Bailey has such a large smile and happy personality, the first thing that stood out about Bailey when he walked through the doors of the Home was that you could barely see his eyes. Bailey was suffering from double entropion. This occurs when the eyelid rolls inwards, and the eyelashes irritate the eyes. Imagine having sand in your eyes all the time, this is the feeling that poor Bailey had been experiencing. His level of pain and uncomfortableness that was so bad, he chose not to open his eye.

Bailey underwent a delicate and life-changing surgery to correct the entropion and make him a lot more comfortable and pain-free. He has recovered well and is enjoying seeing much more clearly and without pain and has shown more of his happy personality. Bailey had spent his time in the Home being a customer care mascot, keeping our customer care team company in reception and greeting any visitors to the Home and has enjoyed some time in foster care.

He recently had his final checkup with our vet team who are happy with how well his eyes have healed!

It is no surprise that Bailey has found his forever home so quickly after recovering from surgery! With such a kind nature and happy personality, Bailey recently went to a forever home where he will get to play and be spoilt by 4 human siblings!

Congratulations Bailey! Here’s to looking to your bright and clear future!

Foster Carer Highlight: Monica

Why foster a rescue animal?

There are so many reasons to consider welcoming a rescue animal into your home. Perhaps you can’t commit long-term to an animal but want the companionship that only a pet can bring, maybe you want to help free up some space at the already at-capacity shelters in your area and give a rescue animal an environment they can decompress and relax in.

For Monica, there are many rewarding sides to being a foster carer. Monica and her husband have been fostering for close to 3 years at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home as well as volunteering her time around the shelter. While animal shelters aren’t always a great environment for an animal to be in, Monica notes that without them, many animals could end up on the street or on death row. “We took rescue animals on because the shelter environment can sometimes be a detriment to them, but you don’t give up.”

For Monica, being a foster carer has its rewarding sides such as seeing pets who are often frightened, stressed and nervous or lacking training, bloom into wonderful family pets. She says, giving pets the opportunity to learn, who may have come from less-than-ideal circumstances is a challenge she is willing to take on.

Monica has been fostering Alice the cattle dog, the Home’s current longest resident. Alice has come leaps and bounds from the young dog who came into this world during a global pandemic and didn’t receive the training, socialisation and enrichment she needed to become the best dog she could be. But Monica and her husband opened their home to Alice and have committed to guiding her and standing by her until she finds her forever home.

Monica says, “The reward is witnessing their transformation while they are with you. Then you get a call saying someone wants to adopt them. It’s time to say goodbye but knowing that you have prepared them for their new home is rewarding.”

It is because of our wonderful foster carers like Monica that many of our pets go on to find their forever homes and go on to live their best lives! We couldn’t do what we do without them!

Volunteer Spotlight: Jayne

Jayne first became involved in volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home when she developed a special bond with her neighbour’s rescue dog named Bomba. Through her special connection with Bomba, Jayne learnt about animal rescue organisations and felt compelled to be involved in helping animals in need.

Jayne recently celebrated 10 years of volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home and it’s hard to imagine the Home without Jayne and her husband Michael’s involvement each and every week. From cleaning kennels, washing dishes, general cleaning, walking dogs, sitting quietly in the kennels keeping dogs company, helping out at events and fostering, Jayne’s impact has been felt deeply within the organisation.

Jayne says volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home is a part of who she is. Her dedication for the past 10 years has not only positively impacted the well-being of the animals, but her unwavering commitment and dedication are felt enormously by the staff and other volunteers at the Home. By building a community through volunteering, Jayne has made long-term friendships with the staff, volunteers and some of the Sydney Dogs & Cats Home adopters.

Jayne’s favourite part of volunteering is the feeling she receives. “Volunteering provides a meaningful purpose and also provides me with a sense of contentment and happiness from helping animals in need, assisting the staff and supporting the organisation and most importantly, supporting the community. Because of the level of purpose and meaningfulness, this continues my drive and passion to continue to volunteer, knowing I have contributed towards a positive difference.”

Jayne and Michael have given many animals the much-needed break from shelter life with a furcation, where volunteers can give animals a short-term break from the stresses of shelter life and decompress. With so many years of volunteering under her belt, it is no surprise Jayne has had ‘foster fails’, with 6 foster animals becoming lifelong family members, including 5 kittens and 1 dog.

One of Jayne’s proudest initiatives is developing a community program through her work in the Army. The Army Program provided soldiers who had been injured the opportunity as part of their rehabilitation to visit the shelter, spend time with the animals and complete tasks around the shelter grounds. The program provided positive psychosocial attributes and provided the soldiers with a sense of purpose by giving back to the community while completing their physical rehabilitation.

Jayne encourages anyone who is thinking of volunteering at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home to go ahead and do it. “It provides a true sense of giving and purpose, especially with a not-for-profit organisation, where you know every little bit contributes to the bigger picture.”

Thank you, Jayne, for all your hard work, dedication and commitment to the animals at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home!

Jimmy: A Foster Success Story

Jimmy (previously Dobby) found himself at Sydney Dogs & Cats Home in the thick of the pandemic in 2020. Jimmy, a small Chihuahua, wasn’t coping with the stress of a shelter environment and the staff wanted to get him out into a foster home as quickly as possible.

Kerry had just received confirmation that she would be working from home for at least the next few months and took the opportunity to give a rescue dog a break and a chance to flourish away from the shelter until they were adopted. Kerry picked Jimmy up from the Home on her lunch break and he was in her lap making himself at home as soon as Kerry sat down. Kerry was smitten and had texted her partner “we might have a problem here!”

It was clear Jimmy had quite a rough first part of his life and needed training, rehabilitation, time to develop trust and a stable and loving home. But despite the challenges presented, Kerry and her partner Paul decided to adopt him. Kerry says, “not all adoptees are suddenly cured of their trauma once adopted” and they have worked closely with a trainer to acknowledge his behaviour, respect his boundaries and ensure he feels comfortable and safe.

Jimmy is the perfect example that some rescue dogs won’t fit into their families’ new lives seamlessly and require training, learning to respect boundaries and finding what works for everyone, including the dog. “We’ve accepted he’ll never love the dog park, joining us for coffee or beer or going on holidays; he is happier at home in a predictable environment.”

While Jimmy has come a long way from the nervous, frightened and stressed little dog that Kerry first picked up from the Home, he is still learning that the rough life he once experienced is well and truly in the past. Kerry and Paul have committed to providing the loving home he should’ve received from the beginning and are ensuring that he feels safe and protected. “The best thing we can do for him is to be his advocate, never force him when he clearly feels unsafe, quickly remove him when he feels threatened and continue to develop his trust that we’ll protect him and his boundaries.”

Giving a rescue animal a second chance can be a very rewarding experience once they’ve learnt to trust again, know they can relax and that they are safe and loved. Our foster carers go above and beyond to ensure that the pets that come to Sydney Dogs & Cats Home have an environment to unwind, relax, and play and for their little personalities to truly shine and most importantly for some, to trust again.

Kerry and Paul are happy they can provide Jimmy with a safe and loving home he can trust for the last part of his life and hope to foster or adopt another dog sometime in the future.

Published 6th January 2023

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