ACT News

ACT Rescue & Foster found homes for 169 dogs in 2015

As a volunteer foster dog carer Helen Shannon has become used to watching her furry friends go off and join new families.

But sometimes it's too hard to give them up as was the case when she and pet greyhound Max met Poppy, a mini foxie cross she fostered in 2010.

Foster dog carer for ACT Rescue and Foster, Helen Shannon with her dogs Max the greyhound and Poppy the mini Fox Terrier ...
Foster dog carer for ACT Rescue and Foster, Helen Shannon with her dogs Max the greyhound and Poppy the mini Fox Terrier cross (blue collar) with Robbie a Jack Russell terrier currently up for adoption. Photo: Graham Tidy.

"The two of them bonded really well and they slept together and we just usually liked her," she said.

"Some special ones you really don't want them to go but you can't keep them all.

"You're always looking for the next foster, so it's just ongoing."

In 2015 Ms Shannon was one of around 40 ACT Rescue & Foster volunteers who rescued 202 dogs and helped 169 find a new home – 33 remain in care. 


It was a bumper year for the charity which rescued and re-homed 144 dogs in 2014.

Over the past 10 years Ms Shannon has lost count of how many dogs she has fostered but knows it's more than 100 – in 2015 alone she cared for six.

Of the 25 breeds represented in 2015's cohort, Australian cattle dogs and cattle dog crossbreeds were the most frequently rescued dogs.

ARF president Wendy Parsons said many people didn't realise working dogs needed to be kept busy.

"They're gorgeous looking dogs and they can be great pets if you're active people but there's a misunderstanding that they look beautiful and you can sit there and look at them," she said.

While most of the dogs are rescued from Canberra's Domestic Animal Services and Queanbeyan pound, volunteers travelled further afield in 2015 rescuing dogs from the rural pounds of Yass, Goulburn, Griffith, Gilgandra, Parkes, Harden, Cootamundra, Gundagai, Hawkesbury and Sunraysia.

Since it began in 2001 the charity has rescued and re-homed almost 2600 dogs and helped hundreds more find homes when their owners were unable to keep them.

Ms Parsons said the organisation tested the temperament of dogs due to be euthanised to give them a rating for would-be owners before they were matched with the best carer.

Initially the dogs are quarantined for two weeks while they are vaccinated and desexed if required with the charity fund-raising to pay for vet work and food while they were in temporary care.

After the dogs are re-homed there's a two week cooling-off period for the new owners, but Ms Parsons said dogs were rarely returned.

Ms Shannon said often dogs were in search of a new home when their elderly owners were moving into aged care or retirement facilities like her current foster dog 11-year-old Jack Russell-cross Robbie.

"A lot of the dogs we get from the pound are from happy homes … they aren't aggressive, they don't have issues," she said.

"The public think a dog that goes to the pound is a bad dog but it's not necessarily the case."

Ms Shannon keeps in contact with many of the new owners receiving Christmas cards and even Santa photos from her former furry foster children.

While smaller dogs were often snapped up by new owners within the two weeks, Ms Shannon said for others it took longer.

"Some of them might try to jump out so they need secure fences, or they need to be an only dog or they just haven't found the right person," she said.

"I had a cattle dog staffy cross for six months who was very good at getting over fences … she went to a lovely home where the owner had to raise his fences, but she's very happy."

Being a carer Ms Shannon has the unenviable task of deciding on the best new owner for her foster dogs, but it's a process that she's found easier over time.

To find out more about ACT Rescue and Foster visit: