It’s a dog day afternoon

Northern Rivers Echo; Rudi Maxwell | 6th October 2011

Fifteen years ago the Animal Rights and Rescue Group (ARRG) took a litter of frightened heeler puppies to their shelter at 135 Three Chain Road, South Lismore.

Alison Hutchins adopted Blue a few weeks later. Cassie Cook took home Pirate four months after that. Last year, Patricia McCarthy fell in love with Fleur.

On Tuesday the three companions of dogs from the same litter got together at ARRG to look at photos of each other’s dogs and have a piece of a cake with the words ‘Thank you ARRG’ iced on it.

This Sunday, October 9, ARRG is holding a dog picnic day to celebrate World Animal Day from 11am to 1pm.

There will be a cafe for dogs and humans are also welcome (vego options available).

ARRG is hoping to get as many of their rescued dogs to visit again for a photo shoot.

Alison, Cassie and Patricia all believe taking in a dog is an incredibly worthwhile and valuable experience.

“Blue was cringing in a corner but we took him home, put him on a lead, took him to the beach and when he saw the ocean and felt the sand under his paws he knew he was going to be right as rain,” Alison said.

For Patricia it was love at first sight. She had recently lost her beloved cat and was dropping off some towels and pet bowls at ARRG when she saw Fleur being walked.

“She looked at me and I thought ‘I’ve got to have her, that’s what I want’,” she said.

Like many relationships it took a while for the trust to build between Patricia and Fleur, who was still traumatised by whatever had been done to her previously. Patricia visited Fleur in the ARRG kennel several times, getting in the enclosure and just spending time with her, before she took her home.

One year on and Fleur is quite happy for strangers to pat her – after, as with all dogs, asking her human companion first.

“Fleur insists on a walk every morning. We meet people with dogs and she’s quite happy. She used to cringe at their owners but now she knows them and she’s fine,” Patricia said.

It was slow going at first for Cassie’s family and Pirate, who spent three days under a chair when she first went to her new home and is still scared of men with beards.

“You wonder what someone did to them. At nine weeks they hadn’t been touched and the story goes that they were in a cage with someone throwing food at them,” she said.

Cassie’s son Hayden, 11, was delighted to see pictures of Fleur when she was younger and meet her in canine.

“She looks like Pirate!” he said.

Patricia believes adopting an older dog is a wonderful fit for older people.

“You can guarantee you’re going to have it for the rest of its life. If you get a puppy and have it for 11 or 12 years then what?” she said.

‘Hey Scrubba Dog’ mobile dog wash will be available at the ARRG picnic day from 11.30am to 12.30pm, for $10 (BYO towel).

The parade of ARRG adopted dogs and their humans will begin at noon.

For more information or to ask about adopting an animal companion phone ARRG on 6622 1881

Original story here

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