27 March 2023

Pug hugs irresistible as Senator Katy Gallagher leaves Parliament to meet special pups

| Travis Radford
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man, woman and dogs

Minister Katy Gallagher has urged people to adopt a pet as Allan Masters and his partner Jan have. Photo: Travis Radford.

Minister Katy Gallagher has met Rosie the pug, the 3500th dog rescued and rehomed by volunteer organisation ACT Rescue and Foster (ARF).

Adoptive parents Jan and Allan Masters introduced the ACT Senator to Rosie and their other pug, Frank, both wearing custom harnesses with their names.

The Minister for Finance, Women and the Public Service was a founding member of ARF when it launched 20 years ago.

A self-described “mad dog lover” and rescue dog owner, Senator Gallagher paid tribute to the volunteers saving impounded dogs from euthanasia.

“You’ve obviously got dogs like Rosie who just need to get back on their feet and then there’s dogs that need extra help,” she said.

“Traumatised dogs that might need a bit more training and support … can go and get that for months before being rehomed.

“The pound can’t do that … and a lot of dogs hate the pound for obvious reasons.”

Senator Gallagher said ARF was, however, selective with the homes it chose for dogs.

“We know it’s so good for people to own an animal but not everyone’s the right person to do that,” she said.

“So that’s the other benefit of organisations like ours: they carefully vet the home.

“Rosie’s got her fantastic parents who have won the jackpot with her.”

Adoptive parents Jan and Allan Masters applied to ARF and were interviewed before taking Rosie home.

“My daughter told us Rosie was up for adoption and we had Frank [our pug],” Ms Masters said.

“But when I saw her, I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness’.

“And we were the lucky people that got Rosie.”

READ ALSO RSPCA’s Pets of The Week – Clayton & Peaches

Ms Masters recommended ARF to anyone looking to adopt a dog.

“ARF did the best job fostering her and saving her from the pound,” she said.

“And she’s just fitted in so well … we’re retired so we’ve got plenty of time for walks and coffees.”

First-time foster carer Emma Nugent looked after Rosie for three months before the pooch found her forever home.

“She’s just such a happy, confident little girl with no real behavioural issues or anything, so it was a dream,” Ms Nugent said.

“It was hard to say goodbye to her but she’s in such a perfect home and it’s been a pretty perfect process.”

Ms Nugent said she was considering fostering another dog because so many canines were without homes.

“It feels like it’s getting worse, whether it’s the cost-of-living crisis or any other number of things,” she said.

“I want to make a difference for those animals that find themselves in those situations through no fault of their own.”

READ ALSO ‘More than 1000 kittens’: Overwhelmed RSPCA asks for community’s help

RSPCA ACT chief executive Michelle Robertson told Region in March there were consistently 20 to 30 people on her organisation’s surrender waitlist.

Ms Robertson said affordability had climbed into the top-three reasons given by people who surrendered their pets to the charity.

Senator Gallagher, who was chief minister from 2011-14, said the ACT Government worked with both the RSPCA and ARF.

“Domestic Animal Services has a really good record rehoming animals and they work with partners like ARF,” she said.

She urged people to consider adoption, while Emma encouraged others to volunteer for ARF.

“We’ve had a support person throughout the whole process, helping us with questions and navigating the different forms,” she said.

“It’s such a supportive environment to be fostering in and the outcomes are so rewarding and make it so worth it.”

To become an ACT Rescue and Foster volunteer, apply here.

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