RSPCA Qld - Why we proudly support them
Well it's no secret that I used to work there and before that I volunteered there in many different roles... so I suppose I have a fuller understanding of what the massive workload of this organisation than most.
When I use the word massive it's really an understatement!
A couple of years ago I was fortunate enough to win a Scholarship to attend the HSUS conference in Florida.
As a part of this we also visited a lot of shelters and welfare groups in many different states.
They all had their special part that made me remember them- some saw a lot of wildlife, others had great kids programs and community outreach, one had a TNR program with feral cats and we even visited the Gabriel Foundation which is an amazing parrot rescue.
The common theme across all of them was they were generally understaffed, under resourced, almost or at capacity and run by passionate staff and volunteers.
But one big thing I took away from this trip was that we only saw a couple of organisations who ran as many departments as RSPCA Qld and those organisations had a very real vision to changing the welfare of animals in the community through education, outreach, lobbying for laws to change and running an inspectorate to investigate and prosecute offenders.
RSPCA Qld run a lot of different departments all working as one big team -
Inspectorate, Vet services, Shelter, Wildlife Hospital, 24 Hr Call center, Animal Ambulance, Animal Training Center, Foster, Marketing, Adoptions & Customer service, Volunteering, Community Outreach and Rescue Outreach (to name a few)
All with a heavy workload, usually stretched or understaffed and rely heavily on wonderful volunteers.
RSPCA Qld have a yearly budget of $51 million to run and as most of their funding comes from donations they are usually under resourced and running at or above capacity.
Why is their workload so heavy?
Animals come into care in only a few different ways
-Sick or injured strays
-Cruelty cases via inspectorate
-Sick or injured wildlife
Last year 56,016 animals were cared for.
This is a staggering number and one that shocked many of the people I spoke to at the Florida HSUS Conference.
The care of these animals relies on all of the above departments perhaps starting from a call to the call center (the number of calls taken daily is truly staggering) who then send out an animal ambulance or notify an inspector to investigate a cruelty complaint.
The Inspectorate department handle complaints all over Qld, their time is spent educating, investigating and when an animal's welfare is at risk animals are brought into care while court proceedings take place.
This can sometimes be a lengthy process and animals needs in these cases can sometimes be complex whether it's behavioural or medical and the Shelter and Vet services work together to help them.
The Shelter team work tirelessly feeding, cleaning, medicating, training and providing enrichment to the animals in their sections. Not only do they work with the animals but they train and work with their volunteers as well.
One day is never the same as another and just when you think you have a free kennel-it's filled!
I used to think my section was like a puzzle and my goal was to work out how to keep the arousal level as low as possible. Working out who is the best neighbour for Fluffy and Freddy and what enrichment works best for Toby or Fru Fru. Making sure Oscar had appropriate bedding cause he likes to chew and shred and making sure Old girl Martha has soft enough bedding for her old bones. On top of this add vet checks ,bathing, making notes, training and helping in other sections if needed.
I know first hand how demanding and overwhelming at times this job is and have the utmost respect for everyone in this team.
The Vet Services team see just about everything you could imagine from kennel cough, Parvo, tick paralysis, dermodex skin issues, under weight or over weight animals, hit by car injuries (grazes & breaks), cruelty related trauma and illness and so much more..
When I asked Lynne what kind of surgeries the Vet hospital at Wacol do she replied :
We do laparotomies, cystotomies, enterotomies, enterectomies, gastrotomies, diaphragmatic hernia repaired, soft tissue reconstruction, wide range orthos both traumatic and developmental, ophthalmic surgery etc..
I must admit I don't even know what most of these are but I do know its not all vet checks, worming and desex ops. The nature of their intake means the vets and vet nurses see everything and are some of the most dedicated and compassionate people I know.
It is one thing for an animal to come in to shelter and get patched up but the next part of their journey is to keep them sane during a recovery period or lengthy stay while they wait for court proceedings or finding a home.
This is where foster care is a valuable resource.
A shelter environment is stressful and some animals just don't cope.
For dogs this can result in destructive behaviours or high arousal they just can't come down from.This can lead to jumping, mouthing, pulling on lead or reacting to other dogs.
Having some time in a foster home can be the time out they need to shake off the shelter.
Even animals recovering from surgery will recover faster in a foster home.
For cats this is especially stressful and they can break with cat flu.
There are some really nasty strains of cat flu and if a cat's health is already compromised this can seriously knock them.
Foster care for cats can make all the difference behaviourally and medically.
The thing I like about foster care is you only need to have space in your house and your heart to make a real difference! All food and medical needs are covered by RSPCA.
So if you cant donate or volunteer consider fostering to get some warm and fuzzy feelings going!
So speaking of donating, it's almost that time of year when all the dogs hit the streets all over Australia to raise money for RSPCA in the Million Paws Walk!
You can register and walk with your dog or sponsor a friend or team who are walking!
Phatso used to attend but now there are too many dogs for my old man to feel comfortable around. I think it is very important to consider your dog's needs when you attend these events and make sure you watch their body language and recognise when it is time to leave.
Don't worry if you turn around and leave straight away if that's what your dog is telling you they want to do (tail tucked, avoiding dogs, lip licking, hiding or snapping at other dogs)
Depending on the location it can be a very big event so be your dog's advocate and monitor them.
Having said that there are a lot of dogs who love this event and have a great time too!
So check out where your nearest event is and head on down to support them.
If you don't have a dog, sponsor a friend or head on down to an event anyway and meet all the dogs that are out to play!!
I'm heading into one of the events too so lets share our Million Paws Pics on our socials and maybe I will see you there!!!
Stay Crazy !