The dogs and cats that find relief through a foster care model

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ABC North West WA

By

Susan Standen

Posted

September 19, 2018 06:19:12

Video: On a mission to save companion animals

(ABC News)
Dog day care: Not just a cute and fluffy story
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(Supplied: SAFE)
Now, City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long and council rangers work in collaboration with SAFE for the betterment of animals, by preventing them from roaming the streets or being kept in cages.Ms Hedley said carers can be located anywhere for SAFE to try to find a foster home, and sometimes a new permanent home, in the digital age.”I’ve saved animals over the years from all sorts of places. They don’t have to be in a specific location,” she said.”Animals can stay in their area in foster homes and we can advertise them online.”If I get a call about an animal in trouble I’m not going to say ‘oh, it’s too hard’. (Supplied: AWL)
People from the Lort Smith Hospital in Victoria, AWL Queensland, AWL NSW, Dogs Homes of Tasmania, SAFE in WA and AWL SA met with workers, volunteers and carers.Richard Mussell, president of Animal Welfare League Australia, said that SAFE WA had been highly influential in educating welfare centres across Australia about the foster care model.”It’s difficult for local government to manage dogs and cats,” Mr Mussell said.”Quite often they don’t have a bricks and mortar facility and they often don’t have an RSPCA or an AWL in that area.”Working with volunteer groups — and a foster model where you’re spreading the care across many people — is a perfect way of trying to address that.”His facility in Adelaide alone has seen the numbers of foster carers, in the homes of South Australians, double since they adopted the SAFE model.Support in remote and regional areasMs Hedley has been dedicating her life to the cause of re-homing animals since 2003 when she founded SAFE after finding dogs roaming the streets of towns across   the Pilbara. (ABC North West: Susan Standen)
More than 23,000 animals have been re-homed by SAFE and well over 70 per cent have gone to other parts of Australia with a very low return rate of animals, even though Ms Hedley does take animals back if it does not work out.”With enough footage, Skype and honest carers, you can get enough of a feel for an animal,” Ms Hedley said.”It can be a dog in Broome and a new owner in Albany, it opens up a whole new world.”People are matched with dogs or cats that suit their needs, and after lengthy discussions between SAFE volunteers, foster carers, and the prospective new owners, animals are transported to new homes.Hema Mageswaran from Karratha always wanted a dog, but had no experience with pets at all.She said her fostering came with a lot of education and support from SAFE.When the new owners contacted Ms Mageswaran, they were keen to know about behaviours, sports, outdoors, temperament and her actual size before buying her.”The SAFE model in WA offers the prospective new owner the opportunity to speak to the [foster] carer and get information about the animal’s behaviour — how they might be with small children, how they might be with other animals, whether they are digging up the yard or whatever,” Mr Mussell said.When SAFE volunteers drop her at Karratha airport, Stella will fly to Perth and be collected to travel by car to her new Esperance home.Mr Mussell said it is this diversity of operations that is key to educating national members about the benefits of home-based foster care.He said he believed the ‘no bricks and mortar’ model is cost-effective and better for animals, and the community. She was working for the Australian Bureau of Statistics at the time. We fly them all over the place.”In a deal with Qantas, the animals travel on the passenger discounted rate and new owners pay approximately $500 for the costs of immunisation, de-sexing and microchipping and $150 for a flight.A real-life example of interstate travel recently came from the Tennant Creek area of the NT where the animal welfare person on the ground organised transport to Darwin, and from there the animal was advertised on local webpages and sites where carers were found.”We want extend our carer base,” Ms Hedley said.”People aren’t used to looking on a WA site for animals in the NT, so we need to work on that.”Wingellina is another remote location on the corner of WA, SA and NT where SAFE manages carers and adoption by getting animals to Alice Springs, then flies them to WA.”It’s like internet dating,” Ms Hedley said.”You make educated decisions for animals, as well as people.”I don’t want to offend people who have shelters, it’s not a condemnation of what was done before, but with technology nowadays we’re in a whole new world.”Animals in aged care facilitiesIn a recent national strategy paper, Animal Welfare League Australia advocated to help recognise aged care facilities that allow pets in an attempt to reduce numbers of abandoned animals by the elderly.Even though laws on pets are state-based, the issue is common across the whole of Australia, so aged care bodies are keen to work with AWL on creating a successful model that works.”One of the top five reasons why people will surrender a pet to an organisation like SAFE or AWL is because they’re moving into a facility where they don’t allow pets,” Mr Mussell said.”There’s masses of research to show that the human animal bond is very special, in particular as people are getting older.”The companionship of having an animal, even just giving people exercise or a reason to look after an animal, is positive for their wellbeing.”There’s an amazing aged care facility in Tamworth where they have all sorts of farm animals, rabbits and cattle dogs.”This facility had a program for their dementia residents with the rabbits and the effects have been phenomenal.”Matching people with pets

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Foster carer Hema Mageswaran has handed on hints to Stella’s new owners. Photo:
SAFE’s Sue Hedley says remote locations are no barrier in fostering-out animals. A Karratha woman is sharing her life mission with other welfare agencies to see that no healthy, re-homable animal is euthanased, and to get all abandoned pets out of cages.Sue Hedley and her team at Saving Animals From Euthanasia (SAFE) has inspired animal welfare groups across the country to reassess their business models.”To really do that completely you need a lot of behavioural support and a lot of people available for that,” she said.A visiting delegation of 12 people from Animal Welfare League Australia this week saw the evidence needed to inspire them to increase the numbers of volunteer, in-home foster carers of companion animals, in conjunction with their shelters. Photo:
Richard Mussell of Animal Welfare League Australia says a foster model has seen great results.
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Forever Young seniors choir rocks out on stage to Bon Jovi and AC/DC

(ABC Central Victoria: Mark Kearney)
For June Ellis and her husband, Cliff, the repertoire is a far cry from what they perform as long-serving members of their church choir.”I usually go from practice here on Thursday morning with rock and roll, to the church choir at night singing sacred songs, so I have variety,” Mrs Ellis said.Vocal support from famous artist

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ARIA Award-wining Kate Ceberano performs her song, Pash, with the choir of over-65s. (ABC Central Victoria: Mark Kearney)
At 91 years of age, Frank Roberts is among the choir’s most senior members, and has performed with Forever Young since its inception eight years ago.”In old age, you have to have something to do, you’ve got to remain as active as you can,” he said.Forever Young was a re-introduction to singing for Mr Roberts, who said he had not performed a lot since a childhood stint in a church choir.He credited the choir with keeping him in good health and even better spirits.”I figure it keeps your lungs active with your breathing, plus if you get enjoyment out of it, it must be good for your health,” he said. Photo:
June Ellis (L) finds the rock and roll repertoire a welcome change from hymns at church. (ABC Central Victoria: Mark Kearney)
For the past four years, the choir has attracted well-known Australian musicians on to stage, including Normie Rowe, Wilbur Wilde and Mark Seymour.This year’s guest, Kate Ceberano, will sing several numbers with the choir, including a rendition of her raunchy hit, Pash.But the singer-songwriter said the community often forgot that sex, drugs and rock and roll were as much a part of older people’s lives as they were experiences of youth.”They actually lived through Sunbury. (ABC Central Victoria: Mark Kearney)
An orchestra of students from Bendigo school Girton Grammar provides musical accompaniment for the choir.Girton music teacher Laura Dusseljee, who founded the choir, said interactions between singers and school students made the experience more profound for both parties.”The youngsters love playing for the ‘oldies’, as they’re called affectionately by the children at school,” she said.”For the oldies, it’s time to get out, mingle, make friends, challenge their brains and their memories by learning new repertoire.”Also poignant is the way a song’s meaning changes when performed by a choir of senior citizens.In the hands of the choir, Talking Heads’ Road to Nowhere becomes a bittersweet dissertation on old age.”If Freddie Mercury sings Who Wants to Live Forever, that’s one thing, but when you get someone in their eighties singing it, it changes the whole meaning of the song,” Ms Dusseljee said.Musical mindset good for health

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Frank Roberts, 91, says the Forever Young choir gives him purpose in later life. These are the people who were in their 20s when AC/DC hit,” she said.”We’re talking about people who are at the core of Australian rock.”Ceberano hoped those new to performing would use it as an opportunity to explore their talents and personalities.And not unlike the artists whose songs they perform, these ageing performers are not without some rock-star bravado.Asked whether he was excited to sing with Ceberano, Mr Roberts, with a wink, replied: “[The question is], is Kate Ceberano excited to be singing with us?” A choir of senior citizens performing a repertoire of rock songs is living proof you are never too old to try something new.The Forever Young choir in Bendigo, Victoria, has just one eligibility rule: singers must be aged 65 or older to take part.But it is their setlist that sets the 85-person choir apart from the pack.A sell-out concert at the 1,000-seat Ulumbarra Theatre this week opens with the Bon Jovi rock anthem You Give Love a Bad Name.Audiences leave with the sound of Aerosmith’s Dream On ringing in their ears.The choir even has its own roadie, a volunteer who plies the singers with snacks as well as making sure their uniforms — a black t-shirt featuring the group’s winged heart logo — are in good order.Meeting of the generations

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The choir’s founder, Laura Dusseljee, takes the 85 members of Forever Young through their final rehearsal before showtime.
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ABC Central Victoria

By Mark Kearney

Updated

September 19, 2018 12:58:46

Video: Seniors choir rocks out on stage to Bon Jovi and AC/DC

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Vet rapt with return of beloved dinosaur sculpture years after theft

ABC Radio Brisbane

By

Jessica Hinchliffe

Posted

September 19, 2018 13:52:44
(Facebook: Eatons Hill Veterinary Surgery)
The triceratops, named Topsy, also serves the family in a festive way each year.”We can’t fit a Christmas tree in the house, so the kids decorate her with tinsel and lights and that’s their Christmas tree.”We knew she died in a pine forest as they found pine cones in the rocks around her.”

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Each year the dinosaurs are decorated for Christmas. Photo:
Dinosaur fans John and Bonnie were married with the T-Rex in the surgery grounds. A Brisbane veterinarian with a love of dinosaurs is celebrating the return of a raptor sculpture that had been stolen more than two years ago.Police returned the raptor to Allan O’Grady from Eaton’s Hill Veterinary Surgery after it was discovered during a raid at Albany Creek earlier this month.Dr O’Grady said it was good to have the dinosaur back home.”She’s in a sorry state as when they stole her they broke the feet and the toes,” he said.”She has come back badly damaged and it will take some restoration to get her back in her original state.”The raptor was found along with a quantity of cannabis, steroids and other controlled dugs and utensils during the raid. External Link:

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“The day she was stolen was a Saturday morning in 2016 and it was pretty high up as they were up on the front gate,” Dr O’Grady told ABC Radio Brisbane’s Craig Zonca and Rebecca Levingston.”It’s about 20 foot up (6.1 metres), so it was well planned to remove it as they would have needed ladders, tools and a ute to get it away.”It definitely wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing; it was well planned.”The female raptor, which Dr O’Grady said children had called Steven, was replaced with a replica about 15 months ago.”It was the same dinosaur but a different colour,” he said. (Facebook: Eatons Hill Veterinary Surgery)
Dr O’Grady said it was “good police work putting two-and-two together”.”There’s not many raptors around and we put in a police report when they were stolen,” he said.”They were in the police database as they came and took photographs, so they were aware of it.”It was also well publicised when she first went missing.” The dinosaurs can be seen from the road perched up on the veterinary surgery sign.Many nearby residents have marked special events in front of the dinosaurs, including having their wedding photos taken there. (Facebook: Eatons Hill Veterinary Surgery)
For the love of dinosaursDr O’Grady said his love of dinosaurs started at the age of six and prompted him to become a collector over the years.”I’ve been collecting real fossils for many years and we have a triceratops skull in the kitchen at home on a mobile stand,” he said.”It came from America and it took me seven years to get it while it was being cut out of the matrix and put back together again.”

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The well-loved dinosaurs had been part of the surgery signage for years.
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The raptor sat high atop the vet surgery sign seen by motorists each day. (Facebook: Eatons Hill Veterinary Surgery)

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