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Companion Animal Rescue Awards - Entries Open 3 May 2021

Shining the light on pet shelters, rescues and ordinary people saving lives

Coronavirus isolation led to a surge in pet adoptions over the past year, saving thousands of animal lives. The Companion Animal Rescue Awards returns for its fourth year to celebrate and inspire rescue groups and animal shelters who have made an impact and continue their efforts in saving companion animals.

The Rescue Awards is Australia’s first and only national awards program for hard working rescues, shelters, foster carers and passionate pet adopters. The program is managed by Pets4Life, an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those thinking of getting a pet.

At a celebration with guests from Greyhound Rescue, 2020 Outstanding Rescue Group winner, the Rescue Awards welcomed Pet Insurance Australia as the new Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner. The program is now called the ‘Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2021’.

“The Rescue Awards is absolutely delighted to welcome Pet Insurance Australia as our new Naming Partner,” said Cathy Beer, pet adoption advocate and founder of the Rescue Awards and Pets4Life.

Pet Insurance Australia is one of our wonderful founding Supporters, right from the start in 2018. Pet insurance is critical to ensure pets receive top quality veterinary treatment and care. This fine Australian family-owned business brings an international reputation for excellence and a caring approach to their customers seeking pet insurance.”

The mission of the Rescue Awards is to celebrate and acknowledge achievements in the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of companion animals in Australia. It is the platform to showcase excellence and innovation, thereby raising the standards of rescue groups and animals shelters nation-wide.

“The Rescue Awards shines the spotlight on thousands of heart-warming stories from pet adopters and foster carers about how their adopted/foster pet has transformed and changed lives,” said Cathy.

Every year, approximately 190,000 pets remain unclaimed in Australia’s pounds and shelters, and thousands of volunteers support over 1,000 rescue groups and animal shelters across Australia¹. The Rescue Awards recognises the dedication of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to help rescue pets find homes.

“Our past winners and finalists say the recognition by the Rescue Awards gives their staff and volunteers the motivation to ‘keep calm and carry on’ re-homing surrendered and abandoned pets every day in a challenging environment,” said Cathy.

In 2021, the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards is building on the success of 2020 when over 1,000 entries were received.

Returning as the Rescue Awards Ambassador is Lara Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer, Animal Welfare Advocate, author of ‘Eat, Play Love your Dog’, Host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play and features in Channel 9's The Pet Rescuers. Lara shares her enthusiasm for the Rescue Awards in her video message.

Pet Insurance Australia Spokesperson Nadia Crighton said, “Pet Insurance Australia is thrilled to be the Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner for the Pet Insurance Australia Companion Animal Rescue Awards for 2021.”

Ali Osmani, Pet Insurance Australia CEO, said, "After supporting these important awards for the past four years, it's a great honour to continue our support in a larger capacity. We encourage Australian rescues and shelters who work tirelessly to rehome, rehabilitate and foster pets of all shapes and sizes to enter and get the recognition they deserve."

Cathy also revealed this year’s Judges, Categories, Supporters and Prizes, and thanks animal lovers across the country for helping to make a difference by adopting or fostering a pet.

Pet Insurance Australia Rescue Awards 2021 Categories

01. Outstanding Rescue Group
02. Outstanding New Rescue Group
03. Outstanding Animal Shelter
04. Outstanding Council Animal Shelter
05. Innovation in Companion Animal Welfare and Management
06. Community Education and Outreach Program
07. Volunteer of the Year
08. Refuel Creative Digital Marketing
09. People’s Rescue Story
10. Foster Carer Story

Rescue Award Categories

The Rescue Awards 2021 has 10 Categories with one winner for each category.

Photo Credit: Jo Lyons Photography, Rescue Awards Official Photographer

Award categories 1 – 8 are for industry. Category 9 the 'People’s Rescue Story' is for Aussie pet guardians who have adopted a pet and category 10 is the 'Foster Carer Story' for foster carers of companion animals waiting for their forever home.


The Rescue Awards is thrilled to announce 21 judges who bring expertise in companion animal welfare, rescue and sheltering, veterinarians, compassion fatigue, digital marketing and animal behaviour.

The Rescue Awards wishes to thank the judges for donating their time and expertise.

01. Tim Vasudeva, Director of Corporate Affairs at Animals Australia
02. Nell Thompson, Coordinator for Getting 2 Zero
03. Emeritus Professor Jacquie Rand, Executive Director & Chief Scientist, Australian Pet Welfare Foundation
04. Vickie Davy, Co-Founder & joint CEO of PetRescue
05. Dr Anthony Bennett, Veterinarian, Equine Dentist & Royal Easter Show panelist
06. Dr Joanne Righetti, PhD Animal Behaviourist, Pet Problems Solved
07. Dr Vanessa Rolf, Compassion Fatigue Therapist
08. Brooke Rankmore, CEO at Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC)
09. Jona Osmani, Operational Manager, Pet Insurance Australia
10. Dr Anne Quain, Animal Welfare Veterinarian
11. Anne Boxhall, Animal Welfare Advocate with 28 years’ experience in sheltering and rescue
12. Barbara Hodel, President of the Pet Professional Guild Australia
13. Diana Rayment, Shelter Supervisor at Second Chance Animal Rescue
14. Ryan Jones, Founder and CEO of Refuel Creative
15. Brittany Bloomer, International TV Presenter and Founder of charity Pound Paws
16. Annette Hughes, Publisher of Where Pets Are Found
17. Stacey Gadway, The Pet Diaries Managing Director
18. Andrew Grill, Pragmatic Futurist, technology trends and the digital world expert
19. John Kim, Founder and CEO of Silverquest Consulting, Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Board Member
20. Nadia Crighton, Pet Insurance Australia spokesperson
21. Cathy Beer, Founder of Pets4Life 

Open for Entries

Enter online from 9am on 3 May until 31 July 2021 (midnight AEST). To enter, visit and follow the links.

Here are what some of our 2020 winners and 2021 judges have to say. Watch here.

For updates, visit, sign up to the e-newsletter or follow the Rescue Awards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #PIARescueAwards2021

About Pets4Life

Pets4Life is an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those who are thinking of getting a cat or dog. Our goal is to help reduce cat and dog surrender and improve pet well-being in Australia. After over 20 years in the corporate world as a professional marketer, Cathy Beer pursued her passion for pet welfare and launched Pets4Life in 2013 after interviewing leaders in the companion animal welfare space. Cathy successfully completed the Delta Institute of Australia Cert IV Companion Animal Services and the accredited Delta dog trainer course in October 2019. Cathy is a voluntary member of Willoughby Council’s Companion Animals Committee and a volunteer instructor at the Sydney All Breeds Dog Club in Sydney. The Companion Animal Rescue Awards is a Pets4Life initiative. 

About Pet Insurance Australia

Pet Insurance Australia is a family-owned Australian Pet Insurance business, with a long and successful history in the pet industry. Not only do they have years of experience, but they have an international reputation for excellence.

Pet Insurance Australia takes pride in that they are not just business owners; they are pet people and pets are part of our daily lives. They strongly believe that being passionate, and developing personal relationships is the key to business success and they have endeavoured to deliver exactly that to their customers. At PIA they treat every pet as if it was our own.

Pet Insurance Australia was launched back in 2008. Since then, PIA has witnessed expressions about financial worries disappear. Seeing first-hand how beneficial pet insurance could be. Today, thousands of customers now benefit from their pets being insured. To learn more, visit

MEDIA RELEASE, 3rd May 2021

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