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Australia’s first spokesdog on a mission to drive adoptions

  • 70% of Australians think rescue dogs end up at a shelter due to behavioural issues
  • Two thirds of survey respondents believe rescue dogs have health issues
  • Over half of those surveyed (55%) think rescue dogs may be dangerous
  • According to PetRescue, these myths are common but completely false

FEARLESS rescue dog Phoenix, whose health problems following abandonment by her former owner sparked an online fundraising phenomenon, is launching a mission to help the millions of other dogs like her across Australia.

Now healthy and happily rehomed, Kelpie cross Phoenix is Australia's first ever 'spokesdog', helping to raise vital funds for dogs in need.

Phoenix's mission comes as new research, released today by Mars Petcare, the makers of Pedigree, indicates that whilst the majority (87%) of respondents would consider adopting from a rescue centre, millions of dogs could still be missing out on a loving new home due to common misconceptions that 'adoption dogs' have something wrong with them.

The most commonly believed myths centre on the idea that rescue dogs may have come from difficult backgrounds, with over half (55%) of people thinking past experiences may have made them dangerous and 7 in 10 (70%) believing the dogs may have ended up at a shelter due to behavioural issues.

Two thirds (66%) believed that the dogs may have come to the rescue centre with health problems and nearly half (45%) said they were worried they'd end up regretting adoption of a rescue dog.

Vickie Davy, Founding Director of PetRescue says these research findings show there's an alarming lack of knowledge about rescue dogs.

"The research findings reveal very common myths about rescue dogs, all of which are completely false. Most surrendered rescue dogs come from owners who could no longer care for them, and this has nothing to do with the dog's behaviour."

"There are millions of dogs across Australia in need of a good home, and each one has its own individual personality. With love and care rescue dogs flourish and can bring so much joy to peoples lives. It is never too late to train a dog and all animals can benefit with enough patience and attention - the phrase 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' is completely false."

"Phoenix is a great example of what fantastic pets rescue dogs make and she has gone from strength to strength with the guidance of a caring owner; that's why she's the perfect 'spokesdog' to educate people on this issue," says Ms Davy.

Phoenix's story

Phoenix's own remarkable story began when she was given up for adoption by her former owner last year and was sent to an animal rescue centre. Complications from her desexing surgery left her close to death, and the centre with a $5000 bill. Her carers appealed for help online, and Phoenix, a Kelpie cross, became an internet sensation, as people opened their hearts and wallets to help pay for her life-saving surgery.

Since being adopted by her new owner Steven Fleming in September 2014, Phoenix has bounced back to health, and is now on a mission to raise $1 million to help other rescue dogs that haven't been as lucky as her.

Ms Sylvia Burbery General Manager Mars Petcare, says they're hoping Phoenix's unique story and personality will strike a chord with Australians.

"Through Pedigree, we have been supporting PetRescue for many years now. We believe that dogs bring out the good in people. Phoenix's bravery and her story of recovery are truly remarkable, and we were so inspired by the goodwill and positivity she generated that we knew she would make the perfect 'spokesdog' for this Pedigree Feed the Good campaign."

"By donating just $2 to PetRescue, every Australian can help dogs like Phoenix. To make this as easy as possible, we're excited to launch innovative, interactive screens in locations from Melbourne Central to World Square, Sydney and in Coles across the country, where people can simply swipe their eftpos or credit card and make an instant $2 donation directly to PetRescue. With each donation, the screen will show a bowl of food being placed in front of the dog, illustrating the direct impact on dogs in need around Australia."

Phoenix's owner Steven Fleming says adopting her has been one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.

"Phoenix is really bright individual, and full of personality. As soon as I saw her, my heart melted, and adopting her was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Phoenix brings so much happiness to everyone who meets her and I'd recommend the experience of adopting a rescue dog to anyone - I cannot imagine life without her!"

Rescue dogs in Australia

According to PetRescue data, approximately 230,000 pets are left unclaimed and homeless in Australia's pounds and shelters every year, with dogs making up 110,000 of this number. 1.1 million pets are adopted by households each year.

Visit: Pedigree https://www.facebook.com/Pedigree.au and PetRescue www.petrescue.com.au

The study was conducted among 1,025 Australian dog owners and considerers, aged 18 years and over. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas.


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