Sunshine Coast Daily; Belinda Warren | 3rd December 2010
CHRISTMAS has come early for Sunshine Coast-based 4 Paws Animal Rescue Service, but not in a good way.
The annual dumping of unwanted pets usually starts after the cheap plastic toys have been broken, along with the New Year’s resolutions.
This year, however, the abandonment of cats and dogs has started early.
4Paws founder Julie Penlington said the phone had not stopped ringing with people wanting to surrender their pets, an unprecedented situation.
She said one of the saddest cases was a young girl who had taken her pomeranian puppy to the vet to be put down.
“Thankfully they alerted us and we now need to find a home for it, but this is becoming very common,” Julie said.
“People have spent up to $800 for a pet they’ve purchased from a pet shop and have realised it’s all too hard.
“At the moment we’ve got an eight-month-old pure labrador and a five-year-old purebred golden cocker spaniel.
“Another lady had just brought in a pedigree Jack Russell, and today I’ve received an urgent call to find homes for a mother (cat) and kittens.
“Then there are the tragic cases, the elderly who go into aged care homes and can’t take their pets.”
She said others were distraught when forced to surrender a pet due to changes in their family’s life or financial problems.
To cope with the increased demand, 4Paws urgently needs foster carers.
Julie said foster care was perfect for young professional couples or older retirees who wanted to travel.
“They get the best of both worlds, the love of an animal without the permanent care a full-time pet requires,” she said.
“We have about 15-20 foster carers, but people do go away on holidays and their circumstances change so we are always looking for more.
“You’ve got to be committed and have a nice, secure place; a warm, stable and loving environment.”
Julie said renters needed written permission from the landlord that animals were allowed before taking part.
“We cover the veterinary cost for the animal and food, where we can,” she said.
To stop the cycle of abandoned animals, Julie had some advice for those contemplating buying a pet.
“Don’t buy a pet as an unsolicited gift. Pets are for life, not just for Christmas,” she said.
“Because of veterinary care, dogs these days are living a very long time and you must consider that when buying a pet.”
Dogs needing fostering include miniature foxies, chihuahua crosses, terrier crosses and labradors.
If you’re interested in foster caring for 4Paws call 0411.144.689.