25 January 2018

Meet the adorable Canberra pets behind the RSPCA’s rehoming success story

| Glynis Quinlan
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Winter was surrendered to the RSPCA due to a change in family circumstances but she was successfully rehomed last month. All photos supplied by the RSPCA ACT.

Meet Winter! The sweet white dog with the big grin and tongue lolling out is just one of the success stories of the RSPCA ACT which for the first time last year achieved a rehoming rate of 90 per cent across all species.

A massive 94.5 per cent of dogs were rehomed by the animal welfare organisation in 2017 while 90.7 per cent of cats were rehomed.

These figures look all the more impressive when you consider that the RSPCA ACT received 3,562 domesticated animals in need at its shelter in 2017, as well as another 499 non-native species and injured wildlife.

For Winter, this meant a chance for a fresh start after being surrendered by her owner due to a change in family circumstances. Winter was rehomed in December and couldn’t look happier.

Lana is another face behind the success story. Pictured below with her favourite toy, Lana ended up at the shelter after her owner died. She was also rehomed in December.

Lana pictured with her favourite toy. Lana was brought to the RSPCA shelter after her owner died but a new home was found for her in December.

And then there’s Broderick the rabbit. He came to the shelter as a stray but also managed to find a home in December.

Broderick the rabbit was adopted by new owners last month after entering the shelter as a stray.

Last month was obviously a big month for the RSPCA ACT which recorded another milestone when it managed to rehome 97.62 per cent of the kittens it received that month.

This is seen as a substantial achievement given the delicate disposition of young kittens – with veterinary literature showing that the mortality rates for orphaned kittens up to 12 weeks of age range from 15 per cent to 40 per cent.

The adorable black kittens shown below are among the pets behind this statistic. Born to a mother who should have been desexed, they made their way to the RSPCA shelter but thankfully were all rehomed.

These adorable black kittens were adopted out last year.

It was a similar situation for the kitten Nubbins whose mother was very young and not desexed. Nubbins arrived at the RSPCA shelter this month and has been placed in foster care.

Little Nubbins was this month placed in foster care.

Another canine success story takes the form of the one-eyed dog Cornelius. The 13-year-old dog came to the shelter as a stray and suffered from eye endothelial dystrophy – which led to his eye being removed.

However, Cornelius looks to still have plenty of life left in him and was happily adopted in October last year.

13-year-old Cornelius came to the shelter as a stray and had his eye removed due to endothelial dystrophy. Cornelius was adopted out in October last year.

RSPCA ACT Chief Executive Officer Tammy Ven Dange said the high rehoming rates are a reflection of the organisation’s dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as Canberra’s animal-loving community.

“Few people would really understand how hard it is to achieve such numbers in an ‘open’ shelter like RSPCA ACT – a shelter where we take in almost any animal that needs us, especially for felines,” Ms Ven Dange said.

“These rehoming rates are, firstly, a reflection of the hard work of our amazing staff and volunteers including foster carers that keep the animals healthy.

“Secondly, it’s a huge indication of what an animal-loving community the ACT is. They are the ones that decide to adopt from us rather than buying pets online.”

Ms Ven Dange said the RSPCA ACT saw a 15.4 per cent drop in incoming animals in 2017 which she believes was the result of several factors.

These include ACT Wildlife volunteers providing a greater amount of care for injured and orphaned native wildlife, and also more focused efforts by the RSPCA’s Inspectorate to educate pet owners in the community.

Ms Ven Dange said there was also a 17.8 per cent decrease in incoming kittens and a 21.6 per cent decrease in incoming cats.

“Whether this was due in part to our efforts to provide discounted and free desexing through our Frisky Tom program for the last three years is hard to tell. What we do know is that we’re seeing less felines coming into the shelter and hope that the message has finally come through to desex your pets,” Ms Ven Dange said.

However, despite the decrease in incoming animals in a range of areas, the shelter still saw a 37 per cent jump in the number of stray and surrendered dogs.

“Fortunately, a large number of stray dogs were reunited with their owners,” Ms Ven Dange said.

Have you ever adopted a pet from the RSPCA? Let us know about your animal tale in the comments below.

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