Dr Vadim Chelom is a Veterinarian, a writer and an educator. You can read his blog at www.doctor-pets.com
Published October 17th 2011
So you want to buy a pet. You could do something boring like visiting a local pet shop, or you could make a day of it by visiting the RSPCA. Located centrally in Burwood at the intersection of Burwood Hwy and Canterbury Rd the Victorian RSPCA headquarters can be an unexpectedly fun place to visit on the weekend. It has ample parking, the entry is free and most of the attractions are undercover. If you are like me and need a bunch of kids entertained on a rainy day, patting some cute cats and dogs can be just the ticket. I am not suggesting that you should use the adoption venue for child entertainment but it's not like you have to make a purchase, if you know what I mean.
Once you walk in - head to the Adoption counter where the staff will direct you where to go. The dog adoption area is in a separate building. All the dog are of course stray or surrendered so as they say about a good second hand shop - you never know what you will find. The animal attendants will guide you as to which of the dogs would be more suitable and child-friendly. With a bit of prompting you might get to hear some of the dogs' stories. Every dog has a story and some of those stories can be quite sad.
The cats are housed together in large adoption areas. Walking there is like entering into a miniature cat universe with tunnels, scratching poles, toys and cats, cats, cats everywhere. Some of them will inevitably come over and ask for a pat. This never fails to get kids excited.
The most popular adoption area is where the kittens are (the kitten season is in spring and summer so time your trip accordingly) prepare to be jumped on, rubbed and pawed by an army of little cute furry things. Also prepare to deal with a screaming tantrum after the announcement that it's time to go home. Finally, if you do decide to make a purchase, you can feel good about giving a stray pet a new home, and that's not something you can say about just any shop.