typing is not activism….

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Monika’s Doggie Rescue: Paws for Thought

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After more than a decade as a self-financed band of gypsies practicing random acts of canine survival, Monika’s Doggie Rescue became a fully registered charity in 2001. Now a network of over 300 volunteers, Doggie Rescue is reshaping its Sydney pawprint.

Speaking with Monika, she explained that their Drummoyne outlet, mainly used for weekend meetings between dogs and potential owners, has recently been dispensed with.

Increasingly, the refurbished Doggie Rescue website will play an important role for rescued dogs and their potential new families. People can look at online profiles of any of the hundred or more dogs housed at the Doggiewood compound at Ingleside. A half hour from the city, amidst scenic forests and the Northern Beaches, Doggiewood is already the main point of consolidation.

Fun, furry, pre-arranged happy petting sessions take place every Saturday at Pet Barn in Alexandria. This ongoing adoption program through Pet Barn provides an important physical gateway to potential inner city owners and foster homes.

Combined, these elements currently see Doggie Rescue place about a thousand dogs in new homes each year. But Monika’s real hope is for a change in the culture that produces abandoned animals.

Just last year, a small amendment to NSW law introduced a compulsory reporting mechanism for councils. As reported in late January, for the first time official figures confirmed that of close to 50 000 cats and dogs taken in by NSW pounds alone, nearly half were killed.

The Department of Local Government’s most recent figures also include the death rates from all other shelters, and indicate that over 60 000 cats and dogs were killed by the NSW system in 2007.

“We have an oversupply of animals because they get pumped out of impulse outlets,” said Monika. “And until people start thinking more about what they adopt when they take an animal – that it’s not just a disposable item – we’re just going to continue all these problems.”

In an effort to challenge this situation, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been working to put the Animals (Regulation of Sale) Bill through state parliament. If she can build the necessary support, what began as a bumper sticker – ‘Say No to Animals in Pet Shops’ – could become law.

Clover’s Bill,” said Monika, “really is the most crucial thing in trying to stave this awful production line, this breeding without very much care or nurturing.”

Monika described ‘the rescue cycle’. Similar to the cycle of homelessness facing many streetSpoilt… kids, abandoned animals get dumped and re-dumped, usually ill-treated by more than just one home.

The proposed law, currently sidelined following a motion by Joe Tripodi, would end the sale of companion animals in pet stores. Sale would instead be restricted to breeders, shelters, vets, and pounds with a proviso that potential buyers are screened, educated, and matched to the needs of their new pet.

Monika’s Doggie Rescue already follows such a process. Perhaps uniquely, they also follow the progress of re-homed pets, requiring that mismatched pets be returned – an outcome that occurs in less than one per cent of cases according to Monika.

Doggie Rescue also provides a permanent backstop. In the event of an owner’s death, departure, or if it is at all needed, they offer permanent right of return for all dogs that come through their doors.

She lists her husband as the group’s biggest supporter who, along with Double Bay Vet Clinic and a number of private donors and supporters, makes it all possible. On the feeding, cleaning, caring, and financing rollercoaster, Monika’s ride has elements of Zen, Old Yeller, and Superfriends.

It is this environment which seems to produce the many Monika’s stories – one particularly sweet one being of a family that adopted a needy little dog with heart problems to keep their father company as he struggled with heart problems of his own.

Drop by www.doggierescue.com, Pet Barn Alexandria, or call Monika’s on 02 9486 3133 to find out more, or even see how you can help.

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Written by typingisnotactivism

March 4, 2008 at 2:34 pm

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