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Friday, May 31, 2024

National Pet Day in Canberra

Today is National Pet Day, celebrating the joy that pets (particularly certain Irish terriers) bring to their owners. The benefits of pet ownership, RSPCA ACT chief executive Michelle Robertson said, include companionship and improved mental and physical health.

“Pets make us happier, they make us healthier, and honestly, they probably make us better humans,” Ms Robertson said.

“It helps with our physical health. Often, if you have a pet, it will encourage you to play; it will encourage you to do physical activities. But it’s really good for our mental health as well. It offers companionship by having just the best mate that’s always here, that will always be loyal and always be there for you.”

If you are considering getting a pet, both the RSPCA and the ACT Government’s Domestic Animal Services have plenty for adoption.

“We have so many animals in care we are overflowing with animals,” Ms Robertson said. “We’re all hoping that they will get a really good home.”

The RSPCA has more than 30 animals: cats, dogs, birds (including 18 roosters), guinea pigs, and ferrets in their Weston Creek shelter. All are desexed and microchipped, checked by vets and temperament tested, and treated for parasites.

Every animal needs adoption, Ms Robertson said, but two dogs, Tank and Yoda, are priorities. They have been at the shelter for a long time, and are struggling – yet, Ms Robertson said, both have beautiful personalities.

Tank is a four-year-old German shepherd, accustomed to rural life. Despite extensive training in commands like sit, drop, and shake, he lacks on-lead training and socialisation with other dogs. A large and strong dog, he is best suited to a tranquil home where he is the only pet. He will need training to relax when his owners are away, but will bond strongly with his family.


Yoda, a six-year old American Staffordshire terrier, was surrendered to the RSPCA because her owner could not financially support her. She is loyal and protective, and her quiet, respectful temperament would thrive in a calm and predictable household. She loves toys, and prefers smooching with people to water sports.


Altogether, the RSPCA has 373 animals in care; not all are available for adoption yet, but as soon as they are desexed, they will be, Ms Robertson said.

“If there’s anybody out there on National Pet Day that’s wondering and has been thinking about getting a pet, now is the time,” Ms Robertson said. “Please come and see us. Obviously, it’s not an impulse decision; it’s something that you really need to think about. But there are a million reasons why you should own a pet, so why are you waiting?”

Domestic Animal Services

Domestic Animal Services urges Canberrans to adopt a rescue dog, such as four-year-old Tiny, who has been in the shelter for 338 days – a sad record. He is desexed, microchipped, and toilet-trained, and ready for adoption.

“As well as having exceptional taste in toys and being a joy to play with, he has a whole lot of snuggles and love to give his future owner,” Tara Cheyne, ACT Minister for City Services, said.

The dog Tiny. Photo: Tara Cheyne / ACT Government.

Domestic Animal Services’ shelter in Symonston has dogs of all ages and personalities, all suitable as family pets. Dogs often end up in shelters because of changes to their previous owner’s lifestyle, health circumstances, or financial situation, not because of their behaviour, Ms Cheyne said.

“Our hard-working team at DAS do not just look after the dogs in their care, but they spend countless hours getting to know their personalities and their exercise needs. It means they are uniquely placed as matchmakers for dogs and prospective owners – a rôle they are proud to play and take very seriously.

“Adopting a dog not only enriches your life, but also gives them a second chance. By providing a dog with another chance of happiness, you’re also freeing up space for other animals in need.”

The RSPCA, at 12 Kirkpatrick Street, Weston, is open for animal viewing Monday to Saturday, 10am to 3pm.

Domestic Animal Services, in Mugga Lane, Symonston, is open Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm, and Saturdays 10am to 2pm. The adoption process includes a meet and greet session to ensure compatibility.

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