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HomeLatest NewsThe chase for volunteers to give abandoned pups a chance

The chase for volunteers to give abandoned pups a chance

Monika’s DoggieRescue is a no-kill shelter dedicated to saving, rehabilitating and rehousing abandoned and mistreated animals, and they’re in need of volunteers to keep their service running.

“I cannot think of having a dog put down unless it’s on veterinary advice,” shelter founder, Monika Biernacki, said.

“So that’s the philosophy, and that’s what has attracted the kind of people that help us and work with us.”

Outside Monika’s DoggieRescue with all the dog adoption posters on display.

The animal shelter has been operating for over 23 years, and with over 14,000 animals rescued, they are showing no signs of slowing down, but that doesn’t mean help isn’t needed.

“We’re looking for volunteers,” Monika said.

“You can be a volunteer that just comes in ad hoc, anytime you like, when you’ve got a few hours free and can walk a dog, no commitment. Right through to rostered volunteer jobs, for instance, feeding the dogs on a certain day, and that has to all be organised in advance, of course.”

The shelter has around 200 animals not just exclusively dogs, but also cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.

Monika’s cat sanctuary.

The dogs are regularly walked, and the animals are fed, medically examined, groomed and have plenty of space to interact with one another.

It’s a tough and not particularly cheap gig to house and look after previously mistreated animals on such a large scale.

However, the registered charity has made do so far through subsidisation and community backing.

“We rely on dog lovers to keep our doors open,” Monika added.

“We don’t get funds from the government, so it’s very important that we raise funds to keep going. We have a lifesaver programme for people who support us on a monthly giving basis, which allows us to have some staff and keep our head above water.

“We set up a veterinary partnership with Cottage Animal Hospital in Parramatta. Our animals’ health care is heavily subsidised, but still, everything costs money, and we do have to provide the proper care as we would want, for anyone who adopts our dogs.”

The trajectory of Monika’s career has become far different from the consultant job her husband and she shared almost 30 years ago.

The shelter owner decided to pursue pet minding when work dried up for the married couple in their previous careers. This eventually led to other avenues such as vet work.

It was here that she saw the harsh reality of dogs who are euthanised if their owners abandoned them.

“I got in touch with a rescuer who had access to Blacktown pound, and she said, ‘We’re always looking for help to get some dogs out’. And that’s how it all started, small beginnings, one dog at a time in my home,” Monika recalled.

The business began before the days of the internet, so Monika would place newspaper advertisements and tape posters to poles for the rescues, all while navigating through animal housing difficulties and noise complaints from neighbours.

Eventually, after some time jumping around, the shelter received enough business from media exposure that they could move to the facilities in Ingleside, where they’ve resided for 20 years.

“I hope we never have to move again, because we’ve just grown so big and we’ve become well known,” she said.

“Since Covid and all the puppy farming and everyone wanting oodles and only small dogs, it’s become harder and harder to find homes for rescue dogs.”

Animals are abandoned largely throughout the holiday seasons, from unwanted gifts to people not wanting to be burdened by the cost of animal boarding while they are away.

Covid and puppy farming also caused an influx of abused and discarded animals.

There are around 100,000 adoptable, treatable animals euthanised every year due to the inability to fund the essentials and space for their existence.

It was almost unbelievable to see a pack of perfectly healthy Huskies, not attached to a snow sled but instead, stranded, unwanted, on the roster for adoption at the shelter.

“These came from a hoarding situation where there were more than 100 of these Huskies living on a property,” Monika explained while feeding the energetic dogs.

“We rescued about 30 of them and the others went to rescue groups all around Australia as well.”

Huskies rescued from a hoarding facility.

All the pets are available to view on Monika’s DoggieRescue’s website. The charity asks between $400 and $600 for dogs, and less for other pets, to subsidise basic desexing, vaccination, microchipping and heartworm testing.

The shelter is located at 2 McCowan Road, Ingleside, and has a few terms and conditions before adopting an animal – but Monika has one request of adoptees.

“Keep us informed, send us some piccies, send us an update, because it’s important for us,” she said.

“It’s not just, you know, here, there’s a dog set and forget. It’s not like that for us. They’re a living being, and they were part of our establishment.”