28 March 2024

For Arthur, it's just a dog's life ... why he and so many others deserve better

| Sally Hopman
Join the conversation
Black dog

Arthur the rottweiler cross needs a forever home. Is it yours? Photo: Sally Hopman.

This is Arthur. He’s big, boofy and all he wants in life is a place he can call home, forever. Something soft to snooze on, a bed, couch or human would suit, but for this fellow, anything without bars would be better than a bone.

Arthur was surrendered to the ACT’s Domestic Animal Services (DAS) more than 100 days ago, making him one of their longest serving residents.

Unlike most places where staying for a long time is a good thing, that’s not the case here.

Dogs mostly end up at the pound through no fault of their own.

Animal rescue services everywhere are full. When COVID hit and people had to stay home, there was a huge increase in people adopting animals from shelters. They were working from home, estranged from loved ones and in need of companionship. Pets ticked all those boxes.

But now, two years later, those cute puppies are bigger, active dogs. They dig up stuff, bark for no reason and leave things inside that should only ever be left outside.

They’re not socialised because they weren’t allowed to meet other dogs or humans during the lockdown, so there are more attacks.

To make it worse, their humans are back at work, rather than spending their days at home, so a new set of problems emerge because they’re not used to being left alone for so long. It gets too hard, and the dog is surrendered.

Places like DAS and the RSPCA are left to pick up the pieces – without any additional funding or staff.

READ ALSO RSPCA ACT’s Pets of the week – Lola and Milo

Then you get people like Di Johnstone. She and Arthur the rottweiler were the stars of the show this week when DAS celebrated her 20 years as one of its volunteers.

While Di spoke passionately to journalists about why they should write stories about volunteering at DAS or why everyone else, if at all possible, should adopt one of the dogs, Arthur stood, or occasionally sat, by her.

He was a little confused as, usually, Di plus lead – to say nothing of the fact they were on The Trail – a long bush track on the Symonston property – meant walkies. He clearly wanted to continue along the trail, to see if any new smells had surfaced since yesterday, or whether there was a tree trunk left that he had yet to relieve himself on.

But no. He stayed with Di throughout, looking up at her occasionally to make sure she was still there, and watching her pocket just in case a treat fell out.

You know Di is one smart woman, not just because she helps out at DAS every week, although clearly only clever people do that, but because as former ambassador to Nepal and senior public servant with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, she knows how to get things done.

What she wants is for Arthur to have a second chance at life. Like many dogs who end up at the pound, he’s not perfect. He is not a fan of other dogs, needs a bit of time to get to know his humans and needs a home with high fencing. But what he needs more than anything is love. He certainly has plenty to give.

Read more about Arthur and all the other dogs in need of homes on the ACT DAS website.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.