It's been a decade since the Red Collar Rescue team opened their doors and hearts to the many abandoned dogs in the region and this weekend they plan to celebrate with a huge adoption day.
Sharyn Banks founded the organisation 10 years ago after the successful re-homing of two dogs and now almost 4000 canines have walked through their doors.
“I took home two dogs from the pound one day after realising what their fate would be if they weren't claimed, much to my husband's amazement,” she said.
“I spent my own money to desex and vaccinate them and we were able to find them new homes.
“That's where it all began.”
Sharyn said Red Collar Rescue began re-homing a couple of dogs a month before things really ramped up during the 2011 floods in Bundaberg.
“I remember hearing about two Sher Pei dogs who were in the pound during this time,” she said.
“That's when I approached Council and told them about what I wanted to do, to try to re-home these animals that were not being claimed”
From sad to glad: Red Collar Rescue team experience it all
Sharyn said while her role at Red Collar Rescue was often gruelling and included many challenges, there were also many highlights about the job.
“The best thing about this job is re-homing the dogs,” she said.
“Just a few weeks ago a lovely lady adopted a dog who was terrified of people and extremely broken.
“That same dog is now living an amazing life and has completely changed.”
Sharyn said it was those stories and many more that made her want to get up each morning.
“I often get messages from the people who adopt these dogs about how their lives had changed for the better,” she said.
“For example, one of our vets adopted a dog that was quite literally on death's door.”
“I recently received photos from this couple's wedding day which featured this gorgeous dog happy and healthy again.
“Those are the things that keep you going.”
Community support ongoing
Sharyn said Red Collar Rescue had received an outpouring of support from the community since their inception 10 years ago.
“Without the Bundaberg community getting behind us, we would not be able to do what we do,” she said.
“From the volunteers to the foster carers to the people who donate … everyone who is doing something small has helped us in a really big way.”
Sharyn said Red Collar Rescue's relationship with Bundaberg Regional Council had also been a positive influence behind the charity organisation's work.
“The animal management team at Council are absolutely amazing people,” she said.
“They are so great to work with and the team love animals, we are very blessed to have them.”
Council's animal control portfolio spokesperson Cr Scott Rowleson echoed those sentiments, stating the relationship between Red Collar Rescue and Council continued to be a positive one.
“We are very thankful for the hard work and commitment of Sharyn and the team,” he said.
“Red Collar Rescue provide an amazing service and their care for animals is outstanding.
“I thank the team for their diligence and congratulate them on the many amazing rehoming successes they have achieved throughout their 10 years.”
Advice to pet owners
Sharyn said if she could give one bit of advice to future pet owners, it would be to research what it takes to own a pet and adhere to the desexing and vaccination laws.
“I still meet people who have no concept of the dangers of parvovirus or heartworm,” she said.
“Desexing your dog is one of the biggest blessings you can give them, it prevents unwanted pregnancies and, in turn, less puppies have to live just to suffer.
“We don't want to keep doing this. We want to eventually be null and void but the only way that can happen is if people take on responsible pet ownership.”
Red Collar Rescue event details
This Sunday, the Red Collar Rescue team will be at The Queenslander for their Adoption Day and 10th birthday from 11 am.
“To celebrate, join us for a paw-some Sunday session at The Queenslander as we try to find homes for some of Bundy's most eligible pooches,” Sharyn said.
“Head through to the beer garden to meet some of Red Collar Rescues adoptees and stay for lunch and a few cold ones with all day dining and kids eat free.”
As part of the fundraiser event, 4670 BBQ will be in attendance, with $1 from every burger donated to Red Collar Rescue.
The team will also be holding raffles throughout the day to raise money for their cause.
“The pups will be available for a meet and greet between 11 am and 2 pm so come along and say hi,” Sharyn said.
To find out more about Red Collar Rescue, visit the Facebook page.