Latest News

Tree of Hope Appeal 2021 to Support the Vulnerable

The Petbarn Foundation aims to raise $1.2 million dollars at its Tree of Hope Appeal for vulnerable Australians, many of whom were limited access to support in 2021.

With Covid restrictions affecting much of the country this year, many community support programs were required to stand down, creating complex issues between the sharp increases of pet ownership over lockdown, skyrocketing cases of pet surrenders, a shortage of vets in Australia, and financial and physical hardships felt by many Australians.

One charity that noticed a significant increase in community need support was Pets in the Park, a charity that runs clinics for vulnerable pet owners who cannot afford veterinary care. As a result of COVID restrictions 14 monthly Pets in the Park clinics were suspended, leaving minimal options to access free veterinary support for those who cannot afford it. 

Fundraising activities in 2021 for Pets in the Park were also cancelled due to COVID restrictions which is critical to continue the much-needed community support.

Pet parent experiencing homelessness, Peter, recently received lifesaving support for his dog from The Petbarn Foundation and Pets in the Park. His beloved pet Boo was unwell and hadn’t eaten for a week and received a consult from Greencross Vets Chatswood
The vets found Boo was critically ill and needed emergency care within 12-24 hours or he wouldn’t make it. Boo was rushed to Animal Referral Hospital where he received several blood transfusions he needed to save his life. Boo was in hospital for 6 days, the longest this dynamic duo had spent apart and made a full recovery.

Peter says: ”Boo is my best mate and is with me every day. I tried as many vets as I could to help him when he got sick but no one would see us. If wasn’t for the support of the Petbarn Foundation and Greencross Vets, Boo would’ve died but instead he is here with me and best of all he is well again.”

Peter and Boo’s story is heart-warming but sadly it is not always a happy ending for many pet parents who cannot afford veterinary care which is not covered under any government subsidy.

It’s estimated there are 100,000 people experiencing homelessness in Australia and 1 in 5 of those have a pet. In many cases owners who are unable to afford veterinary care sadly have no other option than to surrender their pets. This is one of the reasons over 200,000 dogs come into shelter and rescue care each year. Other major factors include the lack of crisis accommodation and rental housing available to pet owners, this number is expected to increase in line with the rise of pet ownership.

Pets in the Park CEO Eric Bickerton says: “Many volunteer based charities are experiencing difficulty in fundraising due to the complications of Covid so to be a recipient of the Tree of Hope Appeal is critical for us to continue to provide veterinary supplies and medication necessary to keep pets in need happy and healthy. 

Petbarn Foundation’s continued support of Pets in the Park is appreciated by the many pet parents experiencing homelessness who attend our clinics”.

Petbarn Foundation Manager, Janelle Bloxsom, says the Tree of Hope Appeal has never been so important with many pets and pet parents depending on this support:
“The Tree of Hope Appeal is needed now more than ever, with the community having greatly suffered from the myriad of challenges we have faced as a nation”.
The Petbarn Foundation works with charities of all sizes in Australia, and never have we seen such immense need for support from our partners and their clients.

With the increase in pet ownership, complex pressures of Covid and lockdowns and as well as other challenges including the lack of pet-friendly rental properties, many of our partners have seen a sharp rise in pet surrenders and people needing support to care for their animals. 

Petbarn Hunter stores donations will
go to Dog Rescue Newcastle
This coupled with kitten season and we’ll soon see our shelter and rescue partners bursting at capacity with little financial support.

Furthermore, with the rise in domestic violence, many vulnerable Australians have been unable to take pets with them to emergency crisis accommodation further increasing the number of pets that present to shelters in need of care” she said.

“Even though many have experienced financial hardship due to COVID, Australians who can donate have continued to show their generosity to the Petbarn Foundation and we are so grateful to those who support us to support the community. 

I believe there’s an understanding that resonates within our team and customers that pets really are family and people want to help those in need anyway they can.” said Ms Bloxsom.

The public can donate online at or by purchasing a $3, $5 or $10 Christmas Tree decoration at all Petbarn, City Farmers and Greencross Vets stores nationally. All donations will go directly to charities so support in the areas of homelessness, domestic violence, mental health, animal rescues and shelters.

  • Covid restrictions have greatly reduced community support programs, leaving pet owners and charities in crisis
  • There are over 100,000 people experiencing homelessness in Australia, 1 in 5 of those have a pet.
  • 200,000 dogs are surrendered to shelters each year and up to 40,000 dogs are euthanised each year, this number is expected to increase due to the rise of pet ownership.
About the Petbarn Foundation:

Founded in 2012, the Petbarn Foundation is a national charity that has donated $20 Million to provide critical support to pet welfare programs and charity organisations throughout Australia. All Greencross Companies support The Petbarn Foundation and its initiatives.

Donations to The Petbarn Foundation go directly to support people and pets in need. Visit

MEDIA RELEASE, 17th November 2021

Related Stories:


No comments

Post a Comment