Because you can tell something about a city from the way it treats its animals - Mahatma Gandhi had the far bigger idea that ''the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated'' - we report some fairly heart-warming data for last year just released by the saintly ACT Rescue and Foster. ARF retrieves otherwise probably doomed dogs, often the unfashionably large and cross-bred variety, from pounds, works with them to make them sociable and then finds them foster homes.
ARF's foster carer co-ordinator Dallas Burkevics reports that last year the organisation rescued and found new homes for 163 dogs, bettering the 151 success stories of the previous year.
''The 163 dogs were made up of 78 females and 85 males, 38 large dogs, 62 medium and 63 small. The dogs were rescued from pounds in Canberra, Queanbeyan, Wagga, Yass, Temora, Goulburn, Wollondilly, Junee and West Wyalong. Three of the dogs were born while their mother was in foster care.
''Forty-five of the dogs were cross breeds, while the next highest number of a particular breed was the kelpie at 17, followed by the Staffordshire terrier (15) and fox terrier (13).
''The most popular name was Bella followed closely by Holly, Guy, Louie, Patch, Tia and Zena.''
Parliament House, seen here enjoying the glory reflected on it by rescued and adopted Dusty, adorned ARF's 2012 Christmas card. Ways to help ARF's noble work can be found at fosterdogs.org