17 December, 2022
Santa Paws is coming to town
IT’S the silly season at the Mareeba Animal Refuge, with puppies and kittens galore residing at their Hickling Avenue facility and the team have some very important requests on their Christmas wish lists.
Although a new pet is an exciting idea for a Christmas present, animals are not gifts.
Refuge staff member Felicity Pollard reminds people that most of the time, the recipient doesn’t even want that pet and they often end up in shelters, on the street or neglected at home.
“Pets are not a Christmas present. They are 15 to 20 year life commitment and need to be trained, fed and cared for,” she said.
“You have to be financially stable enough to care for them and it isn’t just ‘look it’s a cute puppy, let keep it for a few months and then give it up’.
“We see that all the time.
“Most people don’t even want the pet, so it is super support to know 100 per cent what your responsibility is before you adopt.”
“Puppies can’t be exchanged, returned or put in the cupboard if the Christmas present isn’t the right fit and sadly, many impulsively bought gift puppies will end up in shelters,” said Hugh Gent OAM, President of Dogs Australia.
“There’s a huge misconception that pets make great Christmas gifts when, in fact, they don’t.
“Sure, it’s exciting to see someone’s face when they first see their ‘gift’ but once the novelty wears off and the reality of owning a dog sinks in, it’s often a different story.
“Owning a dog is a big responsibility.
“Remember, you’re gifting an obligation – and you need to be confident the recipient will be able to provide for the dog beyond puppyhood and for many years to come.
“Dogs require commitment: they depend on us 24/7 for their care and they need a lot of exercise and attention.”
Those who are ready to welcome a new fur-friend into the household are highly encouraged to visit shelters and refuges before seeking out backyard breeders.
Facilities such as the animal refuge desex and microchip all pets whilst ensuring they are going to the right home.
By desexing all their animals, they can ensure unwanted litters are not abandoned and overpopulating the kennels of the shelter.
This has been one of the shelter’s biggest years on record, with hundreds of surrenders coming in with limited space and resources to help.
Despite the challenges, they have persevered with the help of donations.
With Christmas just around the corner, Ms Pollard says donations and volunteers are needed more than ever.
“Money always help with vet bills and general maintenance always very high, and food wise we are always after tinned food for puppies and satchels for kittens are best,” she said.
“We need a lot of volunteers. There have been days where it is just the two of us here and it can be a lot of pressure.
“You don’t need any training of documents – just sign in the book from 8am and help out.”