Man’s best friend?

Western Australia’s largest dog shelter is at breaking point with the overwhelming amount of surrenders since November last year.

Dogs’ Refuge Home communications officer Jasmine Suter says they have 2500 applications for dog surrenders but the shelter can only facilitate about 1500 dogs a year.

“It’s just skyrocketing, like there is so many dogs that we cant take them all,” she says.

“We haven’t had this kind of intake, like there hasn’t been this sense of urgency before of people really needing to rehome their dogs … it is really bad.”

Ms Suter says the rental crisis and increased cost of living have played a significant role in the increased number of dogs left without a home.

Joshua Gibson and his partner are struggling to find a rental they can afford and accepts pets.

“We were at a home open in Yangebup over the weekend and there was probably between 40 to 60 other people there with us.

“It’s hard enough trying to actually find somewhere as it is already but you know finding somewhere that also allows a dog is even worse,” he says.

“If you jump on and try and find a pet friendly rental, it’s just impossible.”

The Dogs’ Refuge Home is a pro-life shelter meaning there is no time limit on how long a dog can stay at the facility.

With the home being at capacity it means no new dogs can be rescued from pounds and other facilities that may euthanise the animals after a period of time.

Dogs desperately await adoption. Photo: Fred Knickel.

“The number of adult dogs being adopted is really incredibly low,” says Ms Suter.

“We only had 12 adult dogs get adopted in the past week and as fabulous as it is to rehome puppies, we’re not freeing up any kennel space. We need adult dogs to be adopted to free up space so we can then intake dogs that are waiting at pounds.

“Our biggest goal is to save dogs from pounds because inevitably they’ll be euthanised if they stay in the pound for too long. So we’ve got this like real pressure to save the dogs looking at the death penalty.”

The roll on effect of an at-capacity shelter is the stress and pressure then put on the dogs in kennels.

“There is a huge change in their behaviour when we have a full kennel block … they definitely feed off each other’s energy and if you’ve got a stressed dog that’s been here for longer, then you’ve got a whole block of stressed dogs,” she says.

“This can affect their kennel presentation, which then affects people not having that moment where they fall in love with the dog at the kennel front because they think it’s just going to come up to them and give them puppy dog eyes. But it’s stressed, so it’s this roll on effect.”

The Dogs’ Refuge Home heavily relies on foster homes to help give dogs the opportunity to relax and be out of a kennel in a homely environment allowing them to decompress and present better for adoption.

Ferdinand pacing at the Dogs’ Refuge Home. Video: Fred Knickel.

Jasmine Suter asks people looking to adopt to please be patient with the dogs as they’ve most likely just spent weeks or months in a kennel environment and need time to decompress before rushing in to things like walks and going to cafes.

“Just allow your dog to settle in naturally and 100 per cent sign up for training. Most of the time the owners need more training than the dogs.”

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