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Dog rescue seeking foster homes

A dog rescue charity active in Wairarapa is seeking more foster homes in the area, as the need for the service continues to grow.

Ellie’s Canine Rescue and Rehome, which has been operating since 2019, rehomed 518 dogs in 2023, compared to 302 in 2022, across the greater Wellington region, and more than doubled its community de-sexing programme to 78 this year.

“Right now is the worst it’s ever been since we’ve been running this service”, the charity’s co-founder, Vicky Hayward, said.

As well as the typical “staffy-mixes that hit teenage years” needing fostering and re-homing, “nowadays it can be pretty much anything”, including purebred dogs.

Hayward believes the cost of living crisis and people’s work arrangements are contributing to the increased need.

“I think a lot of it is the financial situation at the moment with people looking to make savings because of rising mortgages.

“Also, there’s a bit of pressure from employers to go back to the office. So dogs are the ones who are suffering because of that,” Hayward said.

“The reality is dogs do cost people money every month. And when you’re looking to make savings, some people will look at their pets.”

While fostering and rehoming dogs is a key part of the charity’s business, the passion of Hayward and fellow co-founder Nicole Doriguzzi is the community de-sexing programme and educating people about responsible dog ownership.

“What we like is the proactive stuff”, Hayward said, “rather than always being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.”

Based on rehoming figures and donations this year [$90,594, up from $50,203 in 2022], Ellie’s Canine Rescue and Rehome is fulfilling its mission, which includes reducing the number of animals euthanised by dog shelters.

Hayward has mixed feelings about this apparent success, however.

“I would love it for us to no longer be necessary”, she said.

“We would love for dogs to be only responsibly bred and for people to think about what it means to be a dog owner before they commit to that dog for their lifetime.”

This includes thinking about making arrangements for your pet when you die, Hayward said.

“We get quite a few dogs who come to us, and their owners have passed.”

There are five active foster homes in Wairarapa and another 10 on the charity’s books, but Hayward “would love even more”.

Stay-at-home parents and people who work from home or part-time make good foster carers, and a fenced-off section and “patience” are also key ingredients for a positive foster arrangement.

“Rescue dogs, no matter how young or old they are, when they arrive they’ve already been unsettled in their lives, so they need time to settle in.”

A fundraiser for Ellie’s Canine Rescue and Rehome will be held in Wairarapa in the new year.

For more information about becoming a foster home, visit www.elliesk9rescue.co.nz

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