Your New Best Friend is Waiting at Shenton Park Dogs Refuge

There’s a saying that the best breed of dog is a rescue dog, and as Shenton Park’s Dogs’ Refuge Home braces for another bumper festive season, Dianne Bortoletto meets some of the very good boys (and girls) looking for a forever home.

Owning a dog is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Like all rewards, it takes some work but the more you put in, the more you’ll get back. Whether it’s welcoming a puppy or adopting an older dog, those in the know say make sure it’s a rescue dog.

Karen Rhodes, President of the Dogs’ Refuge Home in Shenton Park, says adopting her pitbull was the best thing she’s ever done. “My first rescue was in 2006, a boy called Homer who was neglected and mistreated. It took some work initially, but he changed my life immeasurably for the better. I’d adopt him a thousand times over,” Karen says. “He was the softest, most gentle and forgiving dog ever, especially considering how badly he’d been treated before. “With big dogs, there’s more to love. They are usually such cuddlers and they tend to be less work. They’re often couch potatoes, much more than small dogs – Jack Russells and kelpies are smaller but are high energy dogs that need an hour-and-a-half exercise each day. So, I’d say, consider a larger dog.”

Karen says that with all dogs, new owners need to adopt the 3-3-3 rule – three days, three weeks, and three months – to set their dog up for success. Allow three days to let your new family member decompress and just get used to their new surrounds. They may not feel comfortable to be themselves and they might be shut down or test the boundaries.

Then there’s three weeks of settling in. The dogs start to wonder if this could possibly be their forever home. They start getting into a routine and behaviour issues may start to show so it’s important you do the training, desensitise and socialise your dog with other dogs (in a controlled environment) and people (potentially including children) to see what they are comfortable with.

In three months, after you’ve built a bond, a trust and a sense of security, the dog in front of you is the dog you’ll have for life. “Training a puppy or a dog is so important to set them up for success. It takes work, commitment and discipline, but it’s also fun for both you and the dog. It’s so important because once trained, you’ll have a dog who will be a lovable member of the family.”

WA’s largest shelter and re-homing centre, the Dogs’ Refuge Home cares for lost, surrendered, abandoned, and mistreated animals. The registered charity, pound and adoption centre prides itself on providing the best possible care and enrichment for dogs while new forever homes are found. Opened in 1935, Perth’s oldest animal charity cares for about 1,400 dogs and puppies which are rescued and rehomed each year. It houses about 120 dogs at any one time, including dogs in quarantine. The Dogs’ Refuge Home is desperate to find foster carers and new owners for homeless hounds.

The Dogs’ Refuge Home motto is “rescue is the best breed”. It is almost entirely self-funded, relying on community support to fund its operations. The Refuge has a pro-life policy and does not euthanise any healthy, re-homeable animal in its care.

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