Vickie Davy is the Co-Founder of PetRescue, a national animal welfare charity helping to save the lives of thousands of homeless pets. PetRescue.com.au is now Australia’s most visited charity website with 250 searches a minute for adoptable pets.
Vickie ‘walks the talk’ by adopting and fostering cats and dogs for many years. It’s never dull in Vickie’s household with geriatric dogs, kittens and a young daughter. We find out who’s really the boss in her busy home and the special dog who inspired her to get involved in animal welfare and then PetRescue.
Vickie shares the joys and the challenges of caring for geriatric dogs, and three tips for families looking to adopt a dog or cat. She says about her dogs, Floyd and Mikalla:
they teach me so much about loving life and remind me not to concern myself with things I can’t do, but take absolute pleasure in the things I can
Who’s the boss? Since founding PetRescue with your colleagues 13 years ago, have you had added more dogs, cats or other animals to your family?
Vickie: When we started PetRescue, I already had a wonderful multi-pet household. Cosmo the cat, Wiz my Koolie and Floyd my ball obsessed working dog mix (with Pomeranian according to his DNA – but don’t tell him that!).
Mikalla came in as the fourth member of our animal family. During the time we were getting PetRescue off the ground I was working in Behaviour at the RSPCA SA. Mikalla was being held as evidence in a court case and had to remain in the shelter for two years. Despite this, she was the most remarkably friendly, happy go lucky dog you can imagine. By the time her previous owner’s court case was finalised, I’d moved to Queensland, but that didn’t stop me adopting her. Mikalla was flown up to us and immediately took her place in our family.
We’ve had some amazing foster pets and have added a small human to the family, but Cosmo, WIz, Floyd and Mikalla were there through my PetRescue journey.
Who’s the boss? What pets do you have now?
Vickie: I always joke that we run the geriatric care centre for dogs. Cosmo passed away too early at 10 yrs (he had developed cancer at just 6 months), but my dogs Wiz, Floyd and Mikalla had a combined age of 315 doggy years!
Wiz passed away at 16 yrs last Christmas and had left a huge dog shape whole in my heart. She was my inspiration to study Canine Behaviour and set the wheels in motion for my involvement animal welfare and PetRescue. She was both blind and deaf in her last years but still went for an off-lead walk every day – her sense of smell never letting her down. (She would be appalled to know that her favourite sunny spot has been taken by a parade of foster kittens!)
The house is quieter now with just Floyd and Mikalla. Floyd got wheels in January and is now out and about in his doggy wheelchair, chasing balls and denying his 15yrs. Mikalla is our ‘puppy’ at just 14 yrs! No one told her that she has dodgy hips and special needs, so she powers around the park as if she was a pup.
Caring for geriatric dogs’ has its challenges, both practically and emotionally, but the absolute joy they bring me every day far our weighs any of the difficulties. They teach me so much about loving life and remind me not to concern myself with things I can’t do, but take absolute pleasure in the things I can.
Who’s the boss? How do you all get along? Who’s really the boss?
Vickie: When Cosmo was around he was definitely the boss (the rightful place for a cat), but our pets have always got along amazingly. Wiz was an anxious pup, when we adopted Floyd his puppy exuberance helped her overcome some of it and they became the best of friends. Mikalla gets on with everyone she meets. Dogs, cats, kids and adults alike, as long as there is a game or a pat.
Who’s the boss? What are your tips for families looking to adopt a dog or cat?
Vickie: My top 3 tips:
- Forget about Breed! Think about the qualities you are looking for in a pet; is it a dog that is calm with the kids? Is it a running partner or a cat that loves to cuddle. These traits are about the individual pet, not the broad idea that a breed automatically guarantees behaviour.
- Find a rescue group who listen to you and want to help find not only the best home for their pets’ but the best match for you. These things go hand in hand for a successful and permanent adoption.
- Jump on PetRescue.com.au and get ready to fall in love.