For more than a decade now, Dog Rescue Newcastle has been saving the lives of in-need dogs and cats across the region.
With a team of dedicated volunteers and foster carers, the not-for-profit has successfully rehomed 11,869 canines and more than 3,800 cats.
They’re figures that’ll continue to grow thanks to their hard work and an exciting new project.
Earlier in the year, the organisation purchased a block of land in Fullerton Cove to build a new shelter.
“It is the most exciting and terrifying thing I have ever done in my life,” volunteer and marketing manager Jesse Reinhard said.
“For as long as I have been involved with DRN – which is over six years now – the leadership group has always talked about having a shelter or sanctuary in the Hunter.
“We get so many calls from people and we see a lot of urgent dogs in pounds around the state that need to be rescued and more often than not we don’t have enough foster carers, especially in short term situations to get the dog out of the pound and into safety.”
The project has not come without a lot of challenges though.
“Sue Barker, our president, has been working really hard the last 14 years to get the charity in a position where we are able to do this,” Jesse explained.
“The overall goal of the shelter is to provide a safe space before foster care and attend to any animals that can’t go straight into foster care or adoption.
“A lot of animals come into care and they need lots of physical, behavioural and medical rehabilitation and sometimes, more often than not, you need a safe place for them to land so we can assess them properly before placing them in foster care.
“It’s going to remove a lot of stress for the organisation and it’s going to make a larger impact because there is so much more we can do with it.”
The rescue organisation is also hoping to create a community hub at the site – it’ll benefit pet owners but they’re also planning to host programs to support people who are struggling with their mental health, living with a disability, surviving domestic violence and so much more.
To help get it all up and running, Dog Rescue Newcastle needs donations to fund construction, continue paying for the property and maintaining their vital work supporting animals.
“We launched the campaign about 15 months ago in the middle of a pandemic, great timing, but as we were looking for properties, with the rising house market we couldn’t find anything suitable,” Jesse said.
“When this property came up at Fullerton Cove, it’s only two acres but it was so close to town and it already had a kennel approval for 40 dogs so we jumped on it straight away.
“We knew we would be waiting for a long time to find a bigger property and do all the council submissions, it could have been years before we got anywhere.
“We still need to raise money for the new kennel housing block which will probably be about $300,000 not to mention extensive renovations on the house, perimeter fences, the yards and everything.
“We still need to raise over $500,000 in the next six to eight months but we have a lot of interest at the moment and we’ve got a lot of good things happening.
“We’re just going to keep building as much as we can at each stage until we are finished.
“It’s moving pretty quickly, we’re hoping to be operating to some level in about six months.”
Jesse says they are grateful for every single donation they receive but adds there are other ways to help.
“I’ve always said aside from donating there are so many things you can do,” he said.
“If you can’t adopt, foster, if you can’t foster you can volunteer, if you can’t volunteer you can donate and if you can’t donate you can advocate.
“You can do something as little as share one of our Facebook posts or throw in a couple of bucks here or there.
“We also have a couple of volunteer opportunities now through the shelter in terms of cleaning and labouring and all sorts of jobs that will be coming up in the New Year.
“Obviously, all of us are volunteers but like I said you can do something big, you can do something little.
“It’s better to do something rather than nothing.”
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