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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.

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 - – 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.

Rory’s Unexpected Diagnosis

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.


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.

Put Your Paws Up

Join #teamSDCH in this year’s City2Surf as we run to fund the construction of Exercise and Enrichment yards for the animals that will come into our care when we build our new home.

Our current location, which we have called home for more than 70 years, has been slated for redevelopment and our facility for demolition.  We are now trying to raise the funds that will go towards the construction of our new home.   We have set an audacious goal, to raise $30,000 to help fund the build of best-practice amenities for the enrichment of the more than 3,500 lost and abandon pets who will come through our doors each year.

Our own General Manager Stuart Paine has dusted off his running shoes to help raise funds and awareness for Sydney Dogs and Cats Home by running in this year’s City2Surf.  Stuart joined Sydney dogs and Cats Home five months ago.  He was drawn to our organisation because of his own unique experience with Woody, a dog he adopted some 11 years ago.  “Adopting Woody was the best decision I have made to date.  I want to give other people the opportunity to adopt their own rescue pet and share the same amazing journey I did with Woody,” explained Stuart.

It’s been more than two years since Stuart competed in a marathon and even longer since he participated in City2Surf.  Stuart isn’t counting on beating his personal this year as he’s going to be wearing a doggie onesie.  “Our new shelter will provide a better quality of stay with more mobility and outdoor space for the animals that come into our care, and I’m wearing a doggie onesie to emphasise the importance of shelter enrichment and exercise. Whilst promoting the need for donations to build Sydney Dogs and Cats Home – our new home,” said Stuart.

To join Stuart and the rest of #teamSDCH head over to and sign up.  Extra perks for joining the team include:

  • An exclusive team running singlet given to each member who raises $100
  • Recognition of your support when you raise $1,000 by dedicating a real paver that will be laid in a path at our new Home
  • A dedicated contact from Sydney Dogs and Cats Home who will provide one-on-one support

So, are you in? We hope so!

Chuck’s Changing Fortunes

Brought in as a stray, Chuck first arrived on the doorstep of Sydney Dogs and Cats Home in May 2017. A lovely Kelpie Cross, Chuck wasn’t microchipped and no one came to claim him.

With the exception of his teeth, this 10 year old gentleman was in good health. After performing much needed dental work resulting in the extraction of some teeth, Chuck was ready to be rehomed.

However, it soon became apparent that Chuck wasn’t coping well in the shelter. He was anxious and fairly distressed and we knew we had to take action. Thanks to our wonderful network of volunteers a temporary foster home was found for Chuck, enabling him to have some time out of the shelter.

Fortunately for Chuck it didn’t take long upon his return to SDCH to be adopted. But after only four months in his new home, Chuck’s circumstances changed. His new owner had to move into an aged care facility and couldn’t bring Chuck along.

Chuck once again found himself at SDCH. Knowing that the shelter was too stressful for Chuck, we placed him into a foster home with Caroline, a first-time foster carer. Chuck spent two months in his foster home before Alexis spotted him on the SDCH website.

A meet up with Chuck, Caroline and Alexis was organised to see if Alexis and Chuck would be a suitable match. Based on the photos below, we think Chuck and Alexis are a perfect match. So our beautiful old boy, almost a year on from first entering the Home, has landed himself a wonderful new forever home and human.

Transforming Lizzy

Young mum Lizzy was found and brought into Sydney Dogs and Cats Home with her two kittens.  While they were all now safe, Lizzy had a skin allergy resulting in excessive itching and licking as well as hair loss.  The SDCH vet team quickly identified that Lizzy was suffering from a food allergy.

Food hypersensitivity can occur in both cats and dogs, and it can appear at any age or at any time.  The exact cause of food allergies is not yet know but is likely to be triggered by a change in the animal’s immune system.  This results in certain ingredients become perceived as foreign by the pet’s immune system and triggering an immune response.  This response can result in the typical symptoms such as itching, licking and chewing, and diarrhoea may also occur.

To minimise the stress on Lizzy’s compromised immune system, she and her kittens were place into a foster home which would be less stressful for them all.  Lizzy was also put on a specialist diet,  Hill’s Prescription Diet z/d, to try and eliminate the adverse food reaction.

It took several weeks, but Lizzy’s condition cleared up and her hair grew back.  And we are happy to report that Lizzy and her kittens have all been adopted.  In fact, Lizzy has found her new home with her wonderful foster carer.