19 October 2023

Tails wagging ahead of Domestic Animals Services' first open day in five years

| Claire Fenwicke
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DAS workers holding puppies

Domestic Animal Services assistant director Jackie Gardner and adoptions coordinator Tara McMahon hope all their eligible dogs and puppies find forever homes at the open day. Photo: Claire Fenwicke.

Two litters of puppies and more than 30 adult dogs are excitedly waiting to find their forever home, and you can meet them at Domestic Animal Services’ first open day since 2018.

The community has been invited to come along for a meet and greet with the dogs at the Domestic Animal Services’ (DAS) Symonston facility on Saturday (21 October), as well as browse pet-related stalls, buy some delicious treats, get faces painted, play with the puppies and meet staff and volunteers from RSPCA ACT, ACT Foster and Rescue (ARF) and ACT Lost Pet Rescue.

DAS assistant director Jackie Gardner said a mix of stray and surrendered dogs was available at the centre.

“We had a very significant increase in surrenders in September … with more than 30 surrenders for the month, which is unheard of for us,” she said.

“We do have a lot of strays who come in as well but aren’t claimed, so then they’re put up for adoption.”

Many dogs are surrendered because of ‘behavioural’ issues such as not being house trained, barking or being reactive to other dogs.

Each canine is given a medical check and behavioural assessment before being deemed suitable for adoption.

Ms Gardner said people would also be interviewed to ensure they were suitable to take their chosen dog home.

“Every dog’s going to have some sort of ‘behavioural issue’ which is normal for them but unwanted for us humans,” she said.

“So we just need people to understand it is a lifelong commitment, and it does take a bit of work to own a dog in suburbia.”

Factors such as an active lifestyle, children or other pets and suitable homes are taken into consideration.

“It’s important that we match the dog to the owner as well,” Ms Gardner said.

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It’s not the end of the road for dogs who are deemed at this time as unsuitable for adoption.

The centre can hold up to 74 dogs and currently has 70 in the kennels.

Ms Gardner said the animals not available for adoption at the open day will have their background considered, with work then put in to try and get them to a point where they could be given a new home.

“We won’t rehome a dog that we think will be a potential risk,” she said.

“But we also use rescue organisations … including ACT Foster and Rescue, who take on some of our dogs that need a bit of work and they will rehabilitate them in foster care before putting them up for adoption themselves.”

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Ms Gardner encouraged anyone considering surrendering their dog to call the team as sometimes they can suggest alternatives.

“Ideally, we can give advice on behavioural things you can do, or [see] if there’s another way to rehome a dog,” she said.

“We don’t think we should be the first stop if you’re having issues with your dog.”

Yellow Dog bandanas, leads and vests will be available for pick up on the day for dogs that need a bit of space when out in public.

The items indicate that people shouldn’t approach a dog or its owner, as it could still be in training, nervous or anxious, old and grumpy, recovering post-operation, or a rescue dog being rehabilitated.

The ARK, a special vehicle designed to support animals and pets in emergency situations such as bushfires, will also be set up on the day.

The DAS Open Day will be held on Saturday, 21 October, from 10 am to 2 pm at 92 Mugga Lane, Symonston. To learn more about the dogs up for adoption, visit City Services.

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I wish I was financially capable of owning a big doggie, so many need homes it’s heartbreaking.

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