Mildura Weekly December 20, 2010
MAN’S best friend might be a dog, but on the NSW side of Sunraysia, a dog’s best friend at the moment is mother-of-five Elizabeth Linklater.
Elizabeth, 49, has helped re-house hundreds of stray, impounded or unwanted dogs over the past four years, working in conjunction with Sunraysia Animal Re-housing Group.
This year the Gol Gol animal lover is concentrating on finding homes for the bigger dogs, which are the most difficult to re-house.
“Some of them are failed pig dogs, and they are really just big sooks,” she said. “They just need love and attention. They are really friendly, and just wander in and out of the house as they please.”
Elizabeth said she couldn’t remember a time growing up in Mildura when dogs weren’t always a part of the family. She said her mother always made sure there was a bowl of water out the front of the house for any stray dogs that were wandering past.
She started fostering dogs for the Victorian Dog Rescue Group in 2007, and has been helping rescue dogs and cats from pounds in Mildura and Wentworth ever since.
Her main concern was the bigger dogs. As far as re-housing went, she found that many of the medium to large dogs were missing out, as they seemed to take longer to re-home. “They’re not suitable for the city, and really require a new home in a country area where they have the space to have a good run around,” she said.
“I decided I had to try and give them a fair go too.”
At the beginning of the year, Elizabeth started up her ‘Rural Rescues’ program, which aims to find suitable homes for large dogs.
“So many dogs are surrendered in this district due to the hard times we are all facing,” she said. “Some are just dumped because they are no longer wanted. If pet owners would just have their animals de-sexed, it would put an end to so many litters of pups and kittens turning up in the pounds.
“It is so heartbreaking to see these innocent animals with only a slim chance of making it out of the pound.”
As a result of her campaign, Elizabeth has an assortment of dogs that need loving homes – dogs that range in size from small kelpies up to mastiff, ridgeback, greyhound-cross and others.
“These animals have all be professionally assessed, checked by a vet, de-sexed, microchipped, vaccinated, heartworm tested and wormed,” she said. “An adoption fee is charged to successful applicants to help cover vet costs.”
Elizabeth said the message she wants to get across is a simple one… if anyone is considering getting or giving a dog or cat, especially in the lead-up to Christmas, consider adopting a pound or rescue dog or cat…..”there are so many beautiful animals that need a loving home,” she said.
“If anyone would like to help with rescue animals, but aren’t sure what they can do to help, they can give me a ring… there are many ways to help, including taking animals to vet appointments, visiting the pound and assessing animals to see if they are suitable for re-homing, collecting animals from vets, walking a dog, fostering an animal, or donations of cash, old blankets, food, leads or food dishes.”
Elizabeth said some readers might even like to sponsor an animal – to help cover things like vet fees.
“There are a few special cases,” she said. “One of them is Hendrick, who was left with an old injury to his leg. He had to have extensive surgery, and is now undergoing physio to try and get good movement back in his leg. His surgery was very expensive, but we wanted to give him the best chance possible.”
Elizabeth said she was sure there were many people in the region who could provide good homes for some of the animals in her care.
“There are so many more coming into the pound, and I can only help them if I can find lovely homes for the ones I have already rescued,” she said.
“Unfortunately Christmas is a terrible time for pound puppies. Animals end up in the pound because their owners are going away or shifting. We try to help as much as we can and would like to save more.”
Elizabeth also wants to hear from anyone who is travelling down south towards Melbourne – they might be able to give a puppy or two a ride to their new homes.
“Please contact me as we always need help with transport. No offer of help is too big or two small,” she said.
Elizabeth can be contacted on 0408 248 635.