Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published November 26th 2014
Zero euthanasia for rehomable pets and good quality of life
If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went. ― Will Rogers
SAFE is ancronym for Saving Animals From Euthanasia and is brain child of Sue Hedley who, as a worker for the Australian Bureau of Statistics, travelled widely in the North-West where she saw, and was deeply moved by, the plight of homeless animals.
In 2003 she founded SAFE in Karratha to address the lack of an animal rescue service for homeless cats and dogs in the area. At the time a large percentage of these animals were euthanised because there was no organisation to facilitate their rescue and rehoming and that is where Sue felt SAFE would be of value.
SAFE's philosophy is that every pet deserves the same opportunities for life, love and the pursuit of happiness as their human companions. To this end they take in strays, abandoned pets and animals given up for adoption because their owners can no longer care for them due to age or changed circumstances.
SAFE has a large network of volunteer carers offering foster homes for pets until a suitable home can be found. It is SAFE's belief that a pet will be adopted to the right owner at the right time. No animal is ever put down for 'unadoptability'. Some may stay with a foster home for a year or more, but eventually each pet finds its perfect match.
Since its foundation in 2003 Sue's tireless work and constant pursuit of the best for her charges has seen the organisation grow from Sue on her own to a large volunteer organisation with branches in seven regional centres, including Perth.
In 2009, 385 animals were re-homed. By the end of 2013 that figure had risen to 2,631 for the year.
Sue Hedley, founder of SAFE (Photograph courtesy of SAFE)
Sue's work has been recognised by an award from the WA Volunteer of the Year Awards, one of only six Western Australians so honoured in 2013.
Unfortunately, the need never grows any less, this year alone SAFE has taken 600 phone calls from people who have pets lost or strayed. Some of the stories of animals rescued are heart-breaking, but most end with a happy ending.
What can we do to help? Well if you go to their website you will find a wide range of options from volunteering as a foster home, to buying a personalised collar for your pet with its name and your phone number embroided on it.
Money is always welcome to meet the expenses incurred in veterinary fees, airline travel (although at heavily discounted rates, courtesy of Qantas), micro-chipping and the like.
One of SAFE's success stories (Photograph courtesy of SAFE)
But it doesn't have to be money - time given to fund-raise or raise awareness in other ways, fostering or other help. Swan Magazine donates a page each edition to promote the kittens, cats and dogs looking for homes. Qantas gives reduced rates, professional photographers donate their skills, as do webmasters.
If you're in any doubt, ask. Sue and the team will find a way to use you.
SAFE operate with Karatha as the Head Office, but there are contact points all over Western Australia. The best starting place to offer help, see what animals are looking for homes or to read the many happy outcome stories is their website.