^ Nicole at the Save a Dog Scheme.
This week we speak to Nicole Bradford who spends her weekends volunteering at Save a Dog Scheme. She talks to us about why she spends her time volunteering, what the organisation is about, what the highs and lows working there are, reasons dogs end up being dumped at the pound and what you need to know if you are thinking of giving a dog a second chance at life.
Save-A-Dog Scheme (SADS) is an autonomous not-for-profit animal welfare organisation which operates as a registered animal shelter with a no kill philosophy. They are based in Glen Iris where they run a regional pound – the building is owned by Stonnington Council and operated by SADS. SADS also have their own property of 33 acres at Yarrambat with a permit to house 210 dogs and 50 cats
SADS have a no-kill philosophy and they save hundreds of dogs and cats from being killed every year. Each dog is desexed, vaccinated, wormed, microchipped, vet-checked and temperament-assessed prior to adoption. SADS relies on donations for its continuing existence and does not receive any government funding. It is run by volunteers with the help of paid staff members.
I have always been a passionate animal lover since as long as I can remember. I am especially a dog lover and when I found out about puppy factories and where puppies in pet shops actually come from it horrified me. I wanted to help in some way but I knew I could never volunteer at a shelter that put dogs and cats down because it would upset me too much and I would take all of them home with me! I started researching animal shelters that have a no kill philosophy and found Save a Dog Scheme. They are an amazing organisation that really care about their animals and want to find caring and loving homes for them all – even if that takes some time to find the perfect home for each and every one.
When I see dogs being adopted it always brings a smile to my face! It’s great seeing them go to happy homes. I also love reading the happy adoption stories on the website where people write in to let SADS know how the dog is settling in and photos of the dog in their new home.
I also love spending time with the dogs – whether it’s sitting down and petting them or playing ball. They love the attention and it makes me smile seeing them happy.
It makes me sad thinking about the reasons the dogs have ended up there and that someone has surrendered them. The dogs don’t know why they are there and some can be quite scared or stressed in the shelter environment. If a dog doesn’t adjust to the shelter they will be put in a foster home where they can wait for a permanent home in an environment comfortable to them.
Dogs end up at Save a Dog Scheme for a number of different reasons. People sometimes get a dog without realising the huge commitment having a pet is. Puppies do not come toilet trained and hours need to be spent toilet training, setting boundaries and limitations and teaching them commands and some people do not have the time or patience for this and the dog ends up with behavioural issues.
Sometimes people surrender their dog due to lifestyle changes such as going into nursing homes, moving overseas, marriage/relationship break ups etc. Some people don’t desex their dogs so they end up with unwanted litters that they can’t care for. Other people surrender their dog due to not having enough time or money to care for it and other people just decide they do not want the dog anymore. Basically it is down to people prioritising things in their lives and sadly the dog ends up at the bottom of the list.
To those people thinking about adopting a dog from the pound, thank you! Adoption is the best option. Shelter dogs aren’t ‘broken’ or ‘used’ although some people think of them this way. They are animals that under poor circumstances have ended up at a shelter and deserve a second chance at a happy and loving home.
Deciding to get a pet of any kind is a huge commitment so people need to make sure they have thought it through and can offer their new pet enough time, love and attention that it deserves and also be willing to share their lives with the new pet. Dogs are pack animals and boredom and loneliness are two big problems for dogs and can lead to behavioural issues.
There are so many different breeds of dogs available for adoption at Save a Dog Scheme and the staff there are careful to make sure that potential adopters are matched with a suitable breed of dog that is going to fit in with their lifestyle and that the dog is going to fit in with other human and non-human members of the household.
For more information and profiles on pets for adoption can be found at www.saveadog.org.au
Have any questions for Nicole? She is more than happy to answer them, just leave your question on the comment section by clicking the speech bubble on the right hand side.