Source: ABC News (Extract)
Posted: July 22, 2021

This no-kill shelter in central Queensland will go to any length to save dogs and cats, even shipping pets thousands of kilometres to see them in loving homes.

Despite the rescue group’s hard work, Gladstone Animal Rescue said there was a never-ending demand for foster carers and adoptive families – far and wide – to house animals.

Elsewhere in Australia, adoptive families are reporting lengthy waits and difficulty adopting pets because of ongoing pandemic demand.

Emma Williams searched for 18 months trying to adopt a rescue dog in Victoria, before finding two-year-old Zena from Queensland.

The Melbourne resident said she thought her applications were ignored because she wasn’t the ideal candidate, adding that she felt for animal shelters that were largely volunteer-run and had to sift through applications quickly.

“We’d never had a dog, we’d always had cats … and we live in the inner city so we don’t have a really big backyard,” Ms Williams said.

“What we did have in our favour is that we’re super full of love for the dog, [are] home a lot, we’re a close family and we spend a lot of time in parkland … so we thought we could give a dog a really good home.”

The dog, a cross between a staffy and a cattle dog travelled more than 2,000 kilometres from Gladstone, Queensland to become a city dog in Melbourne through a specialised pet trucking company, which stopped along the mammoth journey for breaks to walk Zena.

Ms Williams said her new pet “settled in really quickly” to family life.

“She just burst in the door. It was really magical.”

Pandemic pets

President of the Gladstone Animal Rescue Group Judy Whicker said she believed people were more willing to pay transport fees because of the high demand for pandemic pets.

She said a significant number of dogs were being adopted from Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Perth resident Ashleigh Skewes said she adopted through the Gladstone shelter because it was easier than adopting from WA.

“They were pretty bad at getting back to you quickly and promptly, and then by the time they did get back to you the dog you were interested in was gone,” she said.

Ms Skewes adopted Ruby, a six-month-old ridgeback cross, who travelled more than 4,000 kilometres by plane to join the family.

She said the rescue group was helpful and prompt, which made the adoption process easier.

Demand for foster caring

Gladstone Animal Rescue says it has a high influx of dogs due to its relationship with the local pound and any dogs that pass behavioural tests are sent to the shelter.

Ms Whicker said despite the interest from interstate, there was a continuous need for adoptive families and foster carers.

“We do a yard check, we supply absolutely everything; bedding, leads, flea and worm treatments, all vet treatments are paid for.

“All we ask is for is that people give them a secure yard and a bit of loving on the side.”

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