The Canberra Times; BY MEGAN DOHERTY, 03 Nov, 2011
Mishka with new owner Paul Sadler from Michelago and RSPCA carer Sharon Woods. Photos: Andrew Sheargold
Cue the Born Free theme – Mishka is going home.
After 700 days, 1500 meals and 1100 walks, the wire-haired Irish wolfhound cross is finally leaving the RSPCA ACT shelter at Weston after arriving there in December 2009.
The hulking dog is believed to be one of the longest, if not the longest, resident at the shelter.
And he’s testimony to the commitment by the RSPCA ACT to find a home for every animal that finds its way to the shelter.
Mishka’s departure, which would take place on Monday, was yesterday bringing staff to tears, although as RSPCA chief executive officer Michael Linke reminded everyone it was a ”happy sad” time.
Mishka has been waiting for someone who could take on a big dog with a big heart and he’s found it in Paul Sadler, a groundsman on a 100ha property at Michelago.
Mr Sadler said the wide open spaces of the property would be perfect for Mishka, who apart from regular walks was usually confined to a small holding pen at the RSPCA shelter.
But Mr Sadler’s first priority was ensuring the dog felt comfortable in his new surroundings before he went bounding off over the first hill.
”I just saw him and fell in love with him,” he said. ”He’s got a lot of love in him. You can see that.”
It’s a change of pace for Mr Sadler whose most recent pet was a cockatiel called Flood which he rescued during the Brisbane floods earlier this year. Flood died two weeks ago.
”I was heartbroken,” Mr Sadler said. ”He never left my shoulder. I could have a shower, go to the pub with him.”
Mr Sadler’s boss Chris Clearihan encouraged him to fill the void by adopting an animal from the shelter.
”Paul’s very gentle,” Mr Clearihan said. ”He’ll look after that dog like a baby. It’s just in his nature.”
RSPCA senior inspector Judy Liosatos was in tears to see Mishka go after having him at the shelter for almost two years but ”thrilled” he had found a good home. ”We love him because he’s just a big baby,” she said.
Mr Linke said Mishka was the 36,346th animal the RSPCA ACT had ”re-homed” since its computerised records started in 1995. On average, it found homes for 2200 animals every year.
Mr Linke said Mishka ”loves to chase, he loves to run and he loves the company of people” and it was important to find a secure home, especially when the dog was able to leap tall fences in a single bound.
”It’s taken 700 days but we know that each and every one of those days we gave Mishka the best chance at finding a home – we never, ever gave up on him,” he said.
”This success is what the RSPCA is all about. We are absolutely committed to animal welfare, we are absolutely committed to saving lives and Mishka will forever remind us of that.”