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JANUARY 8, 2020
Vets Beyond Borders providing veterinary volunteers and funding to help wildlife impacted by bushfires.

As the bushfires ravaging many parts of Australia are having wide ranging and devastating impacts on local communities, Australia-based international animal charity Vets Beyond Borders highlights the serious impact of the continuing disaster on animal populations.

VBB’s Australian Veterinary Emergency Response Team (AVERT) is assisting government authorities with animal evacuations and providing care to animals impacted by the fires.

“Countless animals, both domesticated species and wildlife, have died – we can not bring them back. However, Australians can and will do all we can to care for survivors, especially sick and injured animals,” said VBB Director Dr Ian Douglas.

“Governments in affected states are responding as fast as they can to the crisis and have deployed veterinarians and allied staff to the fire-grounds. VBB is working with this government response and is providing authorities with appropriately experienced veterinary volunteers from AVERT to assist in this work.”

Many hundreds of vets and vet nurses have registered to volunteer with AVERT, with more offers of assistance pouring in every day, from Australia and overseas.

“We sincerely thank everyone who has responded to our call for volunteers. The generosity of the veterinary profession is an inspiration” said Dr Douglas.

VBB assistance for wildlife rescue groups

In addition to the government-coordinated effort, VBB is also offering support to wildlife rescue groups struggling to provide care to wildlife.

“Whilst VBB is already assisting in government responses through provision of AVERT volunteers, we are also positioned provide direct support to organisations that will be inundated with sick and injured wildlife,” said Dr Douglas.

VBB is already assisting Adelaide Koala Rescue in South Australia, providing veterinary volunteers to assist them in their work following recent fires in Adelaide Hills.

“We are now contacting groups in other affected regions, to offer the services of our veterinary volunteers and provide financial support to enable the purchase of veterinary supplies, mainly analgesics (pain killing medications), burns dressings, rehydrating fluids and antibiotics. We are keen to hear from organisations that would like the assistance of VBB,” he said.

Animal rescue groups in need of help are asked to contact Vets Beyond Borders on

Veterinarians, vet nurses and other veterinary personnel willing to join the AVERT team, are asked register interest via

For more information about our programs and how you can help, please visit

National relief for wildlife in need

As bushfires ravage Australia, and an estimated half a billion animals perish, PETstock and its charity PETstock Assist have pledged more than $150,000 to wildlife organisations in affected states.

Donations will be made to Wildlife Victoria, Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) in NSW, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Wildcare Australia) in QLD and Fauna Rescue SA.

PETstock has experienced the impact of these fires directly, with team members and stores affected on the south coast of NSW and East Gippsland in Victoria.

PETstock CEO Shane Young says he’s humbled by the support and care shown by team members in affected areas and beyond.

“Stores within the affected areas of NSW and Victoria are working with and supporting their local communities to supply food and products to those in immediate need and taking refuge in relief centres,” he says. “Nationwide our team has shown an outpouring of generosity and goodwill to help those affected.

 the direct donation made by PETstock and PETstock Assist we will also be providing channels for the community to support these wildlife organisations as they care for the animals impacted by these devastating fires.”

All donations made to PETstock Assist throughout January will be donated to Bushfire Support through the following wildlife charities: Wildlife Victoria, Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) in NSW, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary (Wildcare Australia) in QLD and Fauna Rescue SA.

How you can help

  • Round up your purchase online or in-store – every bit makes a difference
  • Donate to PETstock Assist online or via donation boxes in-store nationally 
  • Wash your dog for a cause – from Monday 6 January to Sunday 12 January all DIY Dog Wash sales will be donated to local partnering charities to provide relief to those communities directly affected. 

About PETstock Assist

PETstock Assist is a registered charity committed to making a long-term difference and positive change in the lives of pets and humans through education, awareness and donations. 100% of donations to PETstock Assist are donated to charities that share its mission.

Since inception, PETstock Assist has microchipped more than 22,000 pets, found homes for more than 12,000 rescue pets, coordinated food drives to the value of $5 million and donated more than $3 million to charities including PetRescue, Guide Dogs, Assistance Dogs, Young Diggers, individual rescue groups and many more.

JANUARY 7, 2020
The Petbarn Foundation delivers $1.2 million to support Australian animals

As bushfires continue to ravage the country, people, companion animals, and wildlife are being displaced and killed. It’s estimated almost half a billion animals have perished, with habitats lost and animals left without access to food.

Petbarn, City Farmers, Greencross Vets, Animal Emergency Centre (AEC), Animal Referral Hospital (ARH) and Veterinary Referral Hospital (VRH), under the Greencross Limited banner, have united with The Petbarn Foundation to help animals at this time of need. Animal welfare organisations are at the forefront of the unrelenting fight for the survival of Australia’s pets and native animals. 

The Petbarn Foundation is providing over $1.2m to several partners via a combination of funds, food and supplies to evacuation centres in emergency sites, and vets volunteering their time.

Scott Charters, 'The Petbarn Foundation' Chairperson, said: "We are offering support to organisations who are helping pets caught in the disaster, as well as the many animals and wildlife injured in the fires." The Petbarn Foundation is currently providing over $1.2m to worthy charities;

  • $551k donation to the RSPCA, from the Christmas ‘Tree of Hope’ campaign
  • $390k donation to 33 local charities from the ‘Tree of Hope’ campaign 

  • Eight pallets of bird food and supplies have been donated to Native Animal Rescue Group 
  • Over 100 pallets of dog and cat food and supplies have been donated to evacuation centres, pet rescues and farmers 
  • $75k donation to Vets Beyond Borders for vital Vet assistance 
  • $100k Foundation Evacuation/Pound Packs for companion animal assistance to Showgrounds and Pounds in emergency sites 
  • $25k Wildlife Care Package via the Rescue Collective 
  • $50k WIRES donation to support the care of native wildlife 
  • $10k for Dingo Rescue 

We have, and will continue to allow, our resources and skilled vets to assist in a variety of ways.

Greencross Limited CEO George Wahby said caring for animals is ingrained in the company's values. "Like every Australian, we are all saddened by the devastation and destruction caused by the extensive bushfires, and now more than ever, we need to pull together to support the pets and native animals most precious to our beautiful country. Our team have been incredible, as it’s at the core of our values to protect all animals, native and domestic, and that’s why we are so passionate about ensuring we help Australian animals get through this devastating time,” Mr Wahby said.

Greencross Limited is thankful to their community who have reached out to offer support for pets and wildlife, who have been affected by these devastating bushfires, and asks that customers and clients that would like to pledge their support, do so by donating at any Petbarn store, Greencross Vets clinic, Animal Emergency Centre or any of our specialist hospitals like ARH, VRH or online at

Partner Websites

About the Petbarn Foundation:

Founded in 2012, the Petbarn Foundation aims to support pet welfare programs and organisations throughout Australia actively. All Greencross Limited Companies support The Petbarn Foundation and its initiatives.

DECEMBER 10, 2019

RSPCA and Oh Crap working together to end use of plastic dog poop bags at shelters nationally

The RSPCA has today announced that Australian company, Oh Crap, will become its preferred supplier of dog poop bags to shelters across the country, as well as the company becoming a corporate supporter of Australia’s leading animal welfare charity.

Nationally, this partnership will save the RSPCA from using at least 365,000 plastic bags across its shelters, in the care of the 132,000+ dogs that are cared for and rehomed each year. That’s a lot of plastic saved from winding up in landfill!

Oh Crap’s compostable bags made from cornstarch will help the RSPCA reduce its impact on the environment, while continuing its mission of working for animal welfare, for all creatures great and small.

“We’re excited to be able to work with an Australian brand to do the right thing by the environment, while also taking care of the thousands of dogs we re-home nationally each year. Every time our dogs are walked, and need a toilet break, we know that the bag our staff and volunteers use wont be ending up in landfill,” Dr Bidda Jones, Acting CEO of RSPCA Australia said.

Founder of Oh Crap, Bruce Hultgren said, “When we started back in 2014, we were ecstatic to know that we were making a difference, however small. To see that together, with our customers, we have saved over 6 million bags from landfill is really incredible. I am so proud of not only the Oh Crap team and the Oh Crap Family, but especially the RSPCA for deciding to make this change to the way we dispose of dog waste. Individually it is one small step, but together we make a huge impact.”

DECEMBER 2, 2019

Give a Gift that Gives Back This Pawliday Season

Petbarn, City Farmers, and Greencross Clinic teams banding together to raise $1.2 million to the Petbarn Foundation Tree of Hope fundraising initiative.

The Petbarn Foundation are adding a few extra stops to Santa Paws’ route this Christmas by decorating 200 Tree of Hope trees across Petbarn stores across Australia to help animals in need.

With the goal of raising $1.2 million through the Appeal from now until Friday 27th December, Aussies can get involved in the Tree of Hope fundraising initiative by heading into their nearest Petbarn store, City Farmers store or Greencross Vets clinic and purchasing a $3, $5 or $10 decoration.

Every time a star is purchased from the Tree of Hope, the Petbarn Foundation will make a donation to the RSPCA and their pet-related charity partners across Australia, helping animal welfare groups to continue their great work in supporting animals in need.

Scott Charters, Greencross Limited Chief Operating Officer of Retail, said the donations will be shared across nominated shelters, pet rescue groups and the like to bring much-needed funds for the year ahead.

“The Petbarn Foundation will be supporting 24 different charities across the country, including the RSPCA, Rescue Hub, Empower Assistance Dogs and many more in a bid to raise a record number of donations. Furthermore, a portion of the donations will go to the RSPCA to help with the bushfires affecting New South Wales and Queensland.

“The simple act of purchasing a Tree of Hope Christmas decoration at your local Petbarn store helps our nominated pet related charities continue their great work. It’s nice to know that any contribution, small or large, will help give animals in need the chance to put a better paw forward ahead of the new year,”

Since launching the Petbarn Foundation in 2012, over $13.1 million has been raised for animal welfare initiatives. The Petbarn Foundation, which is the charitable arm of Petbarn and Greencross Vets, was established by Australia’s leading pet care company, Greencross Limited, to raise funds to actively support pet welfare programs.

“Sadly, every Christmas there are thousands of animals across the country in need of love and a family. Our goal as always is to raise as much funding as possible to help save the lives of as many animals in need across Australia, and we would not be able to achieve that without the support and kindness of the nation” said Scott Charters.

The Petbarn Foundation’s Tree of Hope Appeal will run across Petbarn and City Farmers stores, as well as Greencross Vets clinics nationally from now until Friday 27th December.

To find out more, visit

NOVEMBER 26, 2019

2019 Most Popular Names for Dogs & Cats in Australia

Once again Pet Insurance Australia has revealed its list of the most popular names for dogs and cats in Australia, with some newbies making the list for 2019.

“It could be a little royal fever mixed in with the traditional names for 2019” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “Archie is certainly the favourite in our dog names and also making second place for cats.”

“We also have some new names making the list this year, including Oreo and the very popular Nala, alongside our traditional favourites of Luna, Bella and Coco.”

Female Dogs                             Male Dogs
  1. Luna                                       Archie
  2. Bella                                       Charlie
  3. Coco                                       Buddy
  4. Daisy                                      Teddy
  5. Ruby                                       Max
  6. Molly                                      Milo
  7. Frankie                                  Alfie
  8. Lola                                        Ollie
  9. Nala                                       Bailey
  10. Millie                                     Leo

Female Cats                               Male Cats                              
  1. Luna                                        Loki
  2. Nala                                         Archie
  3. Bella                                        Leo
  4. Coco                                        Simba
  5. Mia                                          Jasper
  6. Cleo                                         Max
  7. Lily                                          Ollie
  8. Molly                                      Oscar
  9. Poppy                                     Charlie
  10. Chloe                                      Oreo

NOVEMBER 13, 2019

DOGUE, Australia's dog boutique brand is launching its newest store on December 7.

DOGUE Brickworks is set to open its doors at Burwood Brickworks, which is set to be the world's most sustainable retail centre.

Its unique environment, characterised by its biophilic design, internal greenery and rooftop urban farm, is anticipated to draw two and four-legged visitors from across Melbourne.

DOGUE Brickworks will be the tenth location for the expanding DOGUE network.

"With its natural light and surrounding greenery and the rooftop farm, Burwood Brickworks is an ideal environment for dogs and their owners" says Margaret Hennessy, CEO, DOGUE Retail Group. "Our new flagship store at Burwood Brickworks is an opportunity for us to review our own business for a more sustainable future" Ms Hennessy explains.

DOGUE Brickworks, open 7 days a week, will showcase the full DOGUE experience, with day care services, grooming, puppy training, plus a full range of DOGUE accessories and more. Their play-time area will be the ideal environment for dogs under 15kg, who can enjoy an unlimited supply of toys and fun with like-minded pals who are under constant supervision of our trained staff.

On Saturday, December 7 DOGUE Brickworks will host its Grand Opening Party from 10am - 2pm. Fun festivities will be happening all day with the first 30 guests who spend $75 or more receiving an exclusive DOGUE gift.

There will be a pup-arazzi photobooth, spot prizes for best dressed pooches, a complimentary pampering station and exclusive store-wide discounts. Everyone is invited to join the celebrations!


Founded in 1998, DOGUE is Australia's leading dog boutique and spa network, offering grooming, day care and retail through 10 high-end boutiques and spas across Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane.
For more information, please visit

NOVEMBER 11, 2019
Pets Of The Homeless launches Victoria's first Pet Food Bank

Myf Warhurst announced as the very im-paw-tant person to help launch Victoria’s first Pet Food Bank.

Melbourne, November 16, 2019, grassroots charity, Pets of The Homeless will officially open Victoria’s very first Pet Food Bank. The celebration will be hosted by the charity’s new ambassador, Myf Warhurst who is lending her voice to help vulnerable people and their pets.

Volunteer led organisation, Pets of The Homeless has donated over 100,000 much needed meals to Victorian pets over the last four years. These dogs and cats are the companions, and for some, only family, of Australians experiencing homelessness or severe financial hardship.

Up until only a few months ago, the charity ran the service out of Founder Yvonne Hong’s suburban garage. It quickly outgrew the small space - bursting at the seams with food and goods donated by the community.

With the help of a government grant, community volunteers, donors and local businesses, Pets of the Homeless converted an old mechanic’s workshop in Cheltenham into the new home of Victoria’s Pet Food Bank. “Now that we have all this space, we are calling on the community to help fill it up by donating to our Giving Day this Wednesday 20 November where each financial donation will be tripled for 24 hours so we can buy food in bulk.” Yvonne Hong, Founder. 

Donations can be made online at

Pet Food Donations are accepted on Saturday 10am to 1pm and Monday and Wednesdays between 10am and 3pm throughout the year.

The Pet Food Bank has been operational for the past three months and will be officially opened in a warehouse party hosted by POTH’s newest ambassador, radio and television personality, Myf Warhurst

Warhurst was immediately taken by the organisation and what they do and announced her own involvement on her own Facebook page by posting that Pets of the Homeless was “a wonderful organisation full of passionate people.”
Yvonne Hong, sees Myf as the perfect fit for the organisation.

“Myf is the perfect person to represent us. She’s an animal lover and a very compassionate person who understands the importance of community and the value of having a voice. She’s socially aware, warm and generous and a great ambassador for the tireless but rewarding work our volunteers do to keep our community and their best friends safe and healthy.”

What: Pets of the Homeless launch of Victoria’s first Pet Food Bank

When: Saturday 16th November 2019, 10am - 12pm

Where: 84A Keys Rd, Cheltenham, VIC

Who: Hosted by Ambassador Myf Warhurst

NOVEMBER 8, 2019

Online Pet Supplies Business Celebrates 20 Years
The year was 1999. The world was worried about Y2K, eBay had just launched in Australia and brothers Mark and Steven Perissinotto were preparing to launch Australia’s first online pet supplies business.

Now twenty years and over 2.5 million orders later, VetShop Australia will celebrate over 100 dog years of business on the 17th of November.

Like many great businesses, Steven says it all started over the table at a big family lunch. “We came up with the idea over lunch and were able to launch VetShop Australia three months later,” Mr.Perissinotto said.

The brothers saw the huge opportunity the internet provided, and started the business part-time out of the back of veterinarian Mark’s Nambour clinic.

“We were working fifty hours a week at our original jobs and then putting in another twenty or so hours to only be getting ten orders per day,” Mark Perissinotto said.

“Success didn’t come to us overnight, running your own business is always ninety percent perspiration, ten percent inspiration” said Steven.

The breakthrough came in 2001 when, recognising high levels of interest from US buyers, the international website changed its currency to USD and sales instantly grew around 10-12% month-on-month between 2001-2006.

This success enabled Mark to leave his veterinary practice in 2005 and saw Steven leave law in 2007 to allow them to concentrate on the business full time.

In 2009, the business moved from Image Flat to a larger premises at Forest Glen where it remains today, shipping orders to over 1 million customers in over 70 countries.

Over the years, the business has picked up a number of awards including a Telstra Business People’s Choice Award in 2011, Power Retail Top 100 Retailer in 2017 and the Top 150 in 2018.

Both Mark and Steven have also been nominated for a variety of awards. Mark was a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 2015 and Steven was recently named as one of the Top 50 People in E-Commerce by Internet Retailing.

VetShop Australia has also been the sponsor of the Surfing Dog Championships, held as part of the Noosa Festival of Surfing, since 2012.

About VetShop Australia

VetShop Australia is an online pet retailer that has been proudly serving Australian pet owners since 1999. With its head office and distribution centre located in Forest Glen, on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, VetShop Australia stock a huge range of over 1000 pet-related products; including international brand name animal health products such as NexGard, Bravecto, Revolution, Advocate, Hills and Royal Canin.

NOVEMBER 4, 2019
Australians are picking their pets over people

We all know that Australians think of their pets as part of the family, but just how big of a role do they play in big life decisions? According to a new study from Pawshake, they are more important than ever before. 

The study found that there's even a trend towards adopting a pet rather than having a baby: with 78% of pet owners choosing pet ownership over having kids and 85% of pet owners wouldn’t stay in a relationship or be friends with you if you didn’t get along with their pet, or if their pet didn’t like you!

Managers may need to take pets into account more at work. A massive 96% of Australians would take a day off if their pet was sick or injured and 72% of Australians daydream about their pet at work. This shows that pets have a strong impact on productivity and stress at work.

Pet-friendly work spaces might have to become a priority in office planning too, with 72% of Australians saying they would choose a job based on being able to bring their pet to work.

Pawshake co-founder Tanguy Peers comments on the research, “owners want to do the best they can for their pets. Leaving them at home while they work for 8-10 hours a day often makes them feel guilty and can lead to separation anxiety and other destructive behaviours. Therefore, if the option exists to take them to work, I can expect that most would take up the offer in a heartbeat.”

“Of course, not everyone has that option and it’s one of the reasons why we’ve seen such an increase in the use of Pawshake’s pet sitting services. Having a pet sitter drop by during the day gives your pet something to look forward to. It also helps to alleviate some of the guilt and stress from leaving your pet alone when you work full time.”

Australians aren’t really getting a chance to fully relax and enjoy their holidays, with a massive 95.2% of pet owners worrying about their fur baby when they are away. {...}

Pawshake continues to revolutionise the pet sitting market in Australia by ensuring that pets are an integral part of the family.With more than 20,000 Pawshake sitters across Australia, some of which are available at a moment’s notice, pet owners no longer need to worry about their pet while on holiday or at work.

For more information, visit

OCTOBER 30, 2019

Pound Paws Takes Over Sydney University
Pound Paws in partnership with University of Sydney Union (USU) successfully raised awareness about the importance of dog adoption, to the Sydney University student community on the weekend.

Pound Paws Sydney Uni Dog Day provided the younger generation with the knowledge to sculpt the future, by hosting a workshop/session room, including key speakers from RSPCA NSW, Inner West Council & University Veterinary Teaching Hospital to name a few. Attendees were gifted with tote bags, complete with information booklets and educational products, to help guide them on their way towards making a positive impact for our furry friends.

Other activities on the day ranged from JENGA Dog Building Block Competition, Rascal Treats Plant Based Dog Treat Tasting, Best Dog Trick & Costume competition (judged by, Scott Lee (Home & Away), Jelisa Apps (Channel Nine Sports Reporter), Alistair Cowie, (USU CEO), Lewis Cavoodle (Dog Influencer) & Maluka and Avalon (Dog Influencers) all whilst guests got to enjoy a Little Creatures Dog Days beer.

With roughly 200,000 happy and healthy pets getting euthanised each year, the event's aim was to educate students about the importance of pet adoption, as well as encourage responsible pet ownership.

A successful outcome for Greyhound Rescue NSW, who received two adoption applications on the day for their rescue Greyhounds. 

The event was powerful for them, as they were provided with the opportunity to showcase this breed and break the social stigma. Various attendees on the day mentioned they were surprised to learn that Greyhounds can also be couch potatoes who enjoy apartment living. A suitable pet for city residents too.

Pound Paws Dog Days have been running for over four years around Australia. The events that Pound Paws organise are 100% charity fundraising events, as a way to not only raise awareness about pet adoption to local communities, but celebrate the wonderful companionship which we share with our pets.

OCTOBER 26, 2019

Furry friends on the frontline pampered for the best chance of adoption

With spring in full swing, Frontline Pet Care, PetRescue and PETstock have partnered together on a nationwide mission to raise awareness of pet adoption through the donation of 21,000 bottles of shampoo.

With spring being one of the most popular times for adoption, the donation will enable PetRescue member pounds, shelters or rescue groups help pets put their best paw forward for adoption. The 21,000 bottles of shampoo will mean over half a million (500,000) washes and fresh smelling pets ready for loving new homes.

Frontline has been looking after pets for over 20 years in Australia and was recently named global ‘Brand of the Year’ (Animalis Edition) for 2019-2020. 
The brand recently launched a pet care range of premium products designed for dogs and cats.

PetRescue is a national charity partner for PETstock and this donation has been made possible for Frontline via the PETstock Assist charity foundation.

Partners on a mission

The partnership provides an amazing opportunity to help PetRescue and its rescue members encourage more families to choose adoption when looking for a family pet. Frontline Pet Care and PetRescue have partnered together for the past two years, with Frontline having donated nearly $1.3 million in product since the partnership was formed.

Both partners are calling on all Australians to consider pet adoption through a social-led campaign called #cleanfuracause. The campaign has been created to encourage national sharing and support of adoption, with the aim of creating happiness and saving pet lives.
The campaign which will see pets groomed and cleaned in readiness for adoption, launches today across the nation and will showcase the many wonderful faces of pets.

Adoption on the minds of Australians

In great news, adoption is already high on the Australian agenda. New figures from PetRescue between 2018-2019 show there is huge demand for pet adoption by the community.

● 4.8 million Australian visitors to PetRescue website looking to adopt a rescue pet each year
● 72,140 listed pets on PetRescue were happily adopted
● 170,808 adoption enquiries each year
● 460+ adoption enquiries daily
● 22,500+ visits to PetRescue daily
● 75,354 rescue pets listed on PetRescue for adoption

Frontline spokesperson, Andrew Palmer, said of the PetRescue partnership and mission, “We are incredibly proud to be able to partner with PetRescue via PETstock’s charity foundation PETstock Assist supporting such an important cause.

“We are deeply passionate about pet adoption and look forward to seeing the benefits of our donation through the many families joining the adoption list,” Andrew said.

Co-founder and joint CEO of PetRescue, Vickie Davy, said of the partnership, “Frontline have been an amazing support for PetRescue and our rescue member organisations over the past two years. We are thrilled to partner once again with Frontline to help provide much needed product donations to these charity groups and rescue pets in need.”

To support the mission, Australians can share their adoption story via #cleanfuracause or visit: Frontline Pet Care at, PetRescue at and PETstock Assist at

OCTOBER 24, 2019

Every little bit helps Greyhound Rescue!
Never think your fundraising contribution is too small to help an animal rescue group.

Balgowlah School for Seniors on Sydney's northern beaches recently had a cupcake sale to raise funds for Greyhound Rescue (GR).

Linda Nord, who organised the fundraising, said the seniors' efforts resulted in $425 for greyhound care.

To say thanks, GR's co-founders Janet and Peter Flann then visited the nearby group.

Linda Nord, Balgowlah Senior Citizens with
GR co-founders Peter & Janet - photos: Donald Gould
"When the seniors heard the Flanns were coming, they decided to raise further funds," Linda said. "We made some more cakes to sell and also had a small raffle with $190.75 raised." 

Linda said the seniors loved their 'pet therapy' and the session overran by an hour. "Our members all wanted to pat the dogs! Having Peter and Janet’s greyhounds there was brilliant pet therapy," she said.

Janet Flann 
said Balgowlah School for Seniors was to be congratulated for its efforts. "Since 2016, these seniors have raised nearly $1,500 for Greyhound Rescue," she said.

"Every little bit helps the hounds. They must be fed, housed and their health checked. All this costs money."

“We provide medical care and food for our Greyhounds, as well as their toys, bowls, treats, collars and leashes. The price tag to care for a dog being at our rented kennels can really add up quickly.”

There are more than 35 Greyhounds needing adoption or foster care due to the charity’s kennels near Camden being full. 
To see all the dogs available for adoption, please visit: 

OCTOBER 11, 2019

Camden Council launches Paws for a Second Initiative during October

HSC students invited to paws for a second during Mental Health Month 
Photo: Mayor of Camden, Cr Theresa Fedeli; local HSC students; dog and owner, part of Paws Pet Therapy

Camden Council has launched the Paws for a Second initiative which sees cute puppies visit Narellan Library throughout October 2019, to provide stress relief to students studying for the HSC.

The initiative runs every Monday and Wednesday in October, 3:30-4:30pm.

Mayor of Camden, Cr Theresa Fedeli, said the furry surprise was Council’s unique way of celebrating Mental Health Month. “October is all about raising awareness of mental illness and taking a step back to make sure mental health in our everyday lives is one of our top priorities,” Cr Fedeli said. 

“Our teenagers go through intense stress in the lead up to their HSC and we want them to feel comfortable reaching out for help. It’s important they know support is available to them if they need it. 

“This initiative is a perfect opportunity for students to take a break, reassess and make sure they’re looking after themselves during the exam period “I’d like to say a big thank you to PAWS Pet Therapy, who has helped make this initiative possible.” 

PAWS Pet Therapy is a not-for-profit organisation that trains volunteers and their dogs to provide specialised pet therapy to people with special needs.

Where: Narellan Library, corner Queen and Elyard Street, Narellan, Sydney, NSW

MARCH 5, 2019

App-based Australian Mobile Vet Service Appoints New CEO

National app-based mobile vet booking service Pawssum Vets has appointed Sydney-based veterinarian Dr Jon Berkowitz as Chief Executive Officer.

Dr Berkowitz received his Bachelor of Veterinary Science in South Africa over 25 years ago and also has an MBA. He has a wide range of veterinary small animal experience, has worked in the veterinary pharmaceutical industry and managed multi site vet practices.

Dr Berkowitz said he was thrilled to be joining such an innovative company with massive opportunities in the veterinary space. He will be taking on a new challenge in raising funds for Pawssum which is experiencing a high growth rate of new vets joining the platform and pet owner demand.

"The market is excited about technology and disruption in this space. Raised funds will be used to exponentially grow Pawssum’s market share as a national market leader in at-home vet visits," said Dr Berkowitz.

Pawssum Vets provides personalised health care to pets in the comfort of their home by highly-skilled local vets. Pawssum’s on-demand veterinarians are available 365 days a year with extended operating hours.

FEBRUARY 15, 2019

Technology Helping Tackle Australia's Veterinarian Shortage
Technology and innovation could be the answer to the record number of Australian veterinarians abandoning the industry, which is prompting fears there won’t be enough vets to take care of the nation’s pets.

A just-released Lincoln Institute survey found that nearly 90 per cent of veterinary business owners and managers reported unprecedented difficulty filling vacancies. Forty one (41) per cent waited longer than six months to fill positions and 18 per cent waited up to two years or more to find new vets to work in their clinics.

Adding to the concern is that demand is rising for Australia’s $4 billion vet industry, which is growing at around three per cent a year, according to an August 2018 IBIS World report*, thanks to higher pet insurance uptake, growing awareness of animal health issues, and the increasing availability of advanced surgical and diagnostic procedures for animals.

A working paper with recommendations is due in March as an industry steering group look into the issues but some parts of the industry are worried pet owners could struggle to find a vet if the situation isn’t addressed.

National mobile veterinarian booking service Pawssum – which utilises app-based technology to send vets to the homes of pet owners – believes it’s helping to address the vet shortage by attracting experienced vets back into the industry.

“As a separate Lincoln survey showed, vets have been leaving the industry in droves – and many more are planning to leave – primarily due to poor work conditions, low remuneration, long hours and stress,” said Pawssum CEO Dr Jon Berkowitz.

“However, there is some good news; our service is helping vets return to the job they love – treating animals – because they can sign up to work with us as a mobile vet and work as little or as much as they want.

“They can choose when they want to work, what type of work they want to do and they don’t have to worry about invoicing clients or marketing or providing their own insurance – we take care of it all, which is helping vets choose to come back into the industry.” 

Melbourne-based vet Dr Tim White is one of more than 130 vets in the Pawssum community, joining the platform last year after a decade in the industry.

“It was an easy choice to start with Pawssum; not only is it convenient for pet owners but it is convenient for vets,” said Dr White.

“I can choose when I’m available and what cases I see, allowing me the flexibility to balance my work and family life and I find the house visits great for the pets and the clients are usually more relaxed as well.”

Dr Berkowitz said pet owners who in the past had to visit the surgery and wait, or pay a substantial call out fee, now have another option available.

“Many people are too time-poor to sit in a vet clinic and also many dogs and cats are anxious about heading to the clinic, making at-home visits very much in demand. If the pet needs further tests or surgery, we can refer them to one of our partner clinics,” he said.

Pawssum now operates in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra and has begun branching further out into locations such as Bendigo.
For more details, please visit

FEBRUARY 12, 2019

Greencross Vets Introduces New Operating Model ...
Greencross Vets are excited to announce a number of updates to the service offering for 2019, allowing for increased flexibility and convenience for both animals and their owners to include Telemedicine, Mobile Vet Services, Team Based Consulting and Extended Hours. These new introductions form part of the commitment that Greencross holds, to ensure clients can access care for their pets where, when and how they want to. 

Using innovative technology, Telemedicine offers the customer ease and ensures that the pets health is the number one priority. Chief Veterinary Officer, Rachel Chay comments “This will provide an expanded level of care to our patients particularly those with chronic or ongoing medical conditions. It also gives peace of mind to our clients who wish to ensure their pet has the best level of care but find it challenging to visit us regularly in clinic.”

This first to market service is available to existing Greencross customers and allows for a less stressful experience for the animal rather than travelling to the vet; perfect for those in remote locations the consultations are conducted by a qualified Greencross Vet.

Complementing the Telemedicine offering the Mobile vet service allows animals to be treated in a familiar environment with no travel involved. “Along with the other services being added this provides a gold standard veterinary care service in the convenience of your own home. For many pets, particularly cats, a simple trip to the vet is a very stressful event. In some cases, with this level of stress clients may delay or not seek veterinary assistance for fear of causing this stress to their beloved pets! Likewise, for some of our valuable clients it is difficult to come into our clinics. So again, it is all about providing convenient veterinary services to our clients and improving the care their pets receive” Chay said.

On the contrary to the at home services Greencross is leveraging individual’s specialities with Team based consulting; this offering is being rolled out to provide a collaborative approach to medicine and health care, whilst leveraging individual’s specialities to care for your pet whilst increasing the standard of care. With increased standards of care, communication and teamwork nurse’s involvement is also bought into practice. Rachel Chay says “Increasing the touchpoints of our entire team of veterinary professionals with the clients, strengthens the communication. It is a very efficient way of working without decreasing the time our clients have to talk through their pet’s health concerns”.

Finally, allowing for added flexibility and convenience extended Vet Hours co-located stores (Petbarn and Greencross vets) will align their hours to trade for the same amount of time, which will allow pet owners accessibility to the full range of services.

About Greencross Vets:

Greencross Vets are a local network of well-equipped veterinary practices across Australia. Although Greencross Vets is part of a national organisation all practices are run and managed by a local team of dedicated pet care professionals who are passionate about pets. For more information visit

NOVEMBER 6, 2018

Greencross board backs move to go private

The board of pet care company Greencross Limited is unanimously recommending that shareholders vote in favour of a proposed scheme implementation agreement that will see the 100 per cent of the business acquired by private investment firm TPG.

Petbarn-Store-Front-GreencrossThe scheme would afford shareholders $5.55 per share, with an implied equity value of $675 million; both below the rejected takeover offer made by TPG two years ago.

In 2016, TPG offered the business $6.45 per share, equalling a $736 million offer, which the pet care business turned down; stating it “fundamentally undervalues Greencross”.

However, shares in the company spiked after the announcement jumping from $4.54 a share late last week to $5.40 per share on Monday afternoon.

“In reaching our conclusion that the scheme is in the best interest of shareholders, the board has considered a number of alternatives, including standalone value creation opportunities and alternative proposals from other potentially interested parties,” Greencross chairman Stuart James said in a note to investors.

“Upon assessing the alternatives before it, the Board has unanimously concluded that the scheme is a compelling option which realises attractive value for our shareholders.”

Shareholders are expected to vote on the matter in early 2019, though the date may be subject to change.

Last month, Greencross confirmed it was considering an acquisition proposal from TPG after the company’s net profit dropped 51 per cent to $20.7 million in FY18.

Despite falling profits, the business maintains a healthy mix of retail and service-based offerings, as well as a highly engaged customer database with a loyalty program that touches 90 per cent of retail sales.

TPG’s head of Australia and New Zealand Joel Thickins said the investment firm is confident the Greencross business will continue to grow under private ownership.

Source: Inside Retail

OCTOBER 5, 2018

Just For Pets announced as an Excellence in Business finalist

Just For Pets’ unique business and marketing accomplishments have rewarded them as a finalist for the 2018 Northern Rivers Regional Business Award for Excellence in Business. Winners will be announced at the 5th annual gala dinner and award celebration on Saturday October 13.

Just For Pets is Australia’s largest buying group for independent pet retailers. They represent nearly 60 stores around the country who trade under their original shop names and support their local communities. They also provide a highly active marketing foundation to assist their members in achieving their goals.

This recognition comes in perfect timing for small business month, as small businesses are the bedrock of the Just For Pets mission.

“Small businesses are the heart of the community and the backbone of our country,” says Karen Justice, CEO of Just For Pets. “Just For Pets is unique in that it offers corporate level support and opportunity for small business, without its members losing their independence and unique approaches to the pet industry,” says Justice. “Our mission is not to build a large, homogenized retail chain, but to help build upon the brand equity and expertise that our members already have in place.”

The Northern Rivers region takes in considerations in Byron Bay and Ballina on the coast and in to Lismore, as well as Clarence Valley up to Tweed Shire. 

Over 70 businesses have become finalists in 19 categories, with seven businesses also being finalists in the Excellence in Business category

These awards celebrate business excellence in many different areas including health care, retail, education, technology, and manufacturing and tourism.

Northern Rivers NSW Business Chamber Regional Manager, Jane Laverty said that to be awarded and acknowledged as a finalist in the Northern Rivers Business Award, “is a wonderful achievement and it recognizes their efforts as a business of excellence and contributor to our regional economy.”

The Just For Pets team agrees that without their dedicated member stores, becoming an Excellence in Business finalist would not have been possible.

About Just for Pets

Just For Pets represents nearly 60 independent pet industry retailers providing a range of business services together with collective buying power. All stores are independently owned and operated by pet lovers, offering friendly service and experienced advice. Free pet health checks are also offered in 40 stores.


Pet Industry Association of Australia announces the 2017 Pet Industry Achievement Award winners

Shining a spotlight on excellence in the pet industry, the Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA) announced the winners of the 2017 PIAA Industry Achievement Awards at the PIAA AusPet 2017 Trade Show & National Conference incorporating Groomex 2017 in Sydney (Oct 19 -22).

These annual awards recognise excellence in the pet industry with nominees undergoing a tough nomination process. The PIAA Industry Achievement Awards trophies were presented in 10 different categories and the winners are:

* PIAA / Bayer Pioneer Award -- Bob Croucher – Pet Industry News

* PIAA / Pet Plan Kevin Pakes Perpetual Achievement Award – David Kong – Kong’s Australia

* PIAA Boarder/Dog Day Care/Pet Sitter of Excellence Award – Samford Pet Resort, QLD

* PIAA Dog Trainer of Excellence Award -- Glenn Cooke – Pet Resorts Australia, NSW 

* PIAA Groomer of Excellence Award -- Paw Print Lane, WA 

* PIAA Manufacturer/Supplier of Excellence Award -- Frontier Pets 

* PIAA Breeder of Excellence Award -- Off the Edge Labradoodles, WA

* PIAA Pet Services of Excellence Award -- Time Out Pet Care, NSW 

* PIAA Retailer of Excellence Award -- We Know Pets Bowral, NSW 

* PIAA Education Achievement Award -- Lochinvar Pet Motel, NSW 

“PIAA is extremely proud of the calibre of its members. We congratulate all winners and nominees and look forward to these awards getting even bigger and better,” said PIAA CEO, Mark Fraser.

For more information on the PIAA courses and services, please visit


MP moves bill to allow dogs into NSW pubs

Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker will move a Bill in Parliament amending the Companion Animals Act in NSW to allow dogs indoors in pubs, subject to the permission of the proprietor.

“Dog-friendly pubs are a key ingredient of the charm and unique atmosphere of some of our pubs here in Sydney’s Inner West and in many other places in NSW too. We believe that there’s a strong argument for changing these restrictive laws to allow pub proprietors to have the right to welcome dogs into their establishments, as they can in the UK and parts of Europe." said Mr. Parker.
Photo (supplied) Credit: John Appleyard

"Australia is regarded as one of the strictest nations when it comes to accessibility for companion animals.Dog owners in many European countries are free to take their pets inside shops, cafes, restaurants and onto public transport.

Studies have shown that having dogs in areas where food or drinks are served poses no risk to human health. Pub owners should be able to decide for themselves whether allowing dogs in is right for their establishment and their customers. Some businesses may have a “no pets” policy; others may welcome well behaved dogs in public areas.

Since starting my investigation in March this year, I’ve received hundreds of responses and the vast majority of people are in favour of letting pubs decide if dogs can come in. In metropolitan areas like Sydney where people work long hours, they often don’t get the chance to walk their dogs daily. Being able to bring dogs into the local pub would enhance the quality of life not only for dog owners, but for dogs too.”

SYDNEY, 31 JULY 2017

Aussie pets fetch $2 billion in public healthcare savings
Dr Chris Brown calls for pet owner tax credit to stimulate further benefits

To help relieve the pain of ballooning healthcare budgets, well known veterinarian Dr Chris Brown is prescribing pets to Federal and State governments.

On the back of new data (1) released today showing that pet owners deliver a massive $2 billion in public healthcare savings across Australia, Dr Chris Brown is encouraging policymakers to consider tax rebates or offsets that encourage pet ownership to stimulate further savings.

While the individual health benefits of owning a pet are widely known, The Healthcare Economics of Pets (1) report determined that every pet owner saves the health system $700 per year (1) in reducing the number of doctor visits and associated health costs, such as fewer specialist appointments and hospital visits.

“This research is a wake-up call for policy makers to acknowledge the broader benefits of pet ownership, which even extend to the public purse. If our governments can recognise pet owners for making smart choices for their health through incentives like a tax rebate or offset, the return on investment could be huge,” said Dr Chris Brown.

The calculations are based on previous studies by academics at the University of Melbourne that showed pet owners visit the doctors 11% less than non-pet owners (2).

The economic projections indicate that if pet populations increased by 10% a year the public health system could stand to save over $200 million annually.

“This report shows that keeping Australia pet friendly is an issue of national importance. I hope the government can see the value in spending a little, to save a lot,” said Dr Chris Brown.

The Healthcare Economics of Pets was commissioned by Mars Petcare as part of the Keep Australia Pet Friendly campaign which Ambassador Dr Chris Brown has been championing since 2015. 

Dr Chris Brown has been working to highlight the many benefits of pet ownership with stakeholders, pet owners and policy makers to stress the need to build a more pet friendly nation into the future, focusing on accommodation, open spaces and transport as priorities.

John Bishop, Co-Founder and Joint CEO of national animal welfare charity PetRescue, has voiced his support for the proposal.

“We really need policies like this to encourage more Australians to discover the benefits, and the joy, of pet adoption. The fact that pet ownership also has such a huge positive impact on our economy, it makes me wonder why this hasn’t been implemented sooner. It's a win-win for both humans and the many thousands of pets looking for a new home,” said Mr Bishop. 

To find out more, please visit


1. Healthcare Economics of Pets. July 2017. Commissioned report by Blue Green Economics
2. Headey & Grabka 2007 Pets and Human Health in Germany and Australia: National Longitudinal Results. Social Indicators Research. Vol 80, No 2 pp. 297-311
3. Headey B (1998) health benefits and health cost savings due to pets: preliminary estimates from an Australian national survey. Social Indicators Research, 47, 233-243
4. Headey B, Na F and Zheng R (2008) Pet dogs benefit owners’ health: a natural experiment; in China. Social Indicators Research, 87(3), 481-493
5. Companion Animal Economics 2017. The Economic impact of companion animals in the UK. University of Lincoln

DECEMBER 12, 2016

Pampered Pet Spending Reaches $12.2 billion in Australia
Average household expenditure on pets is up by almost 30% in the past three years as owners increasingly treat them as part of the family.

A new report released by Animal Medicines Australia, Pet Ownership in Australia 2016, shows nearly two in three Australian households (62%) now own a pet and, while many pets arrive in the family home at no cost, expenditure on pet products and services has now topped $12 billion annually.

Animal Medicines Australia Executive Director Mr Ben Stapley said that keeping a pet dog is now costing on average $1,495 each year, including $622 annually on pet food, $397 on veterinary services, $248 on pet healthcare products and over $100 each on grooming, other products and accessories.

Dog owners spend almost twice as much as those with cats. Total spending in the pet industry ($12.2 billion) has increased by 42% over the figure in 2013.

“Most pet owners want to provide their pets with the best possible life, and are now spending more across an increasing range of pet supplies and services to keep them healthy and happy,” Mr Stapley said.

“There has been a shift away from bulk foods and supermarket shopping towards premium foods, with owners increasingly opting to shop for their pet needs at specialty pet superstores. “Pet treats and pet healthcare products are growing rapidly, while owners are also seeking out food products made with natural and organic ingredients.”

Demand for specialist and therapeutic foods is also growing. Expenditures on pet dietary supplements grew by 13% in 2015 and is likely to be one of the fastest-growing categories in pet care in the future based on the speed of its growth in the US.

When it comes to pet accessories such as toys, clothing, leads, bowls and carriers, the AMA reported Australians were spending almost $1.1 billion. And city households do most of that spending, three times more than their regional and rural counterparts.

Pet insurance has emerged as one of the fastest growing insurance categories and it is estimated that 5% of all Australian pets are insured (ahead of the 2% in the USA but well behind Britain's 25%, which is the highest in the world).
The report’s findings are based on a quantitative study of over 2,000 Australian households undertaken by Newgate Research on behalf of the AMA. Local and international data relating to expenditure has also been included.

Animal Medicines Australia is the peak body representing the leading animal health companies of Australia.
A fully copy of the report is available here.

OCTOBER 21, 2016

PIAA Industry Association Awards 2016

The Pet Industry Association Awards were presented at the Pet Expo held in Melbourne on the 20th and 21st October at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The following awards were nominated by members for excellence in their field over the past 12 months. And the winners were:

PIAA Pioneer Award - Jill Chancellor – Cooinda Cat Resort (VIC)
Kevin Pakes Perpetual Achievement Award - Paul Talbot – Majestic Aquariums (NSW)
PIAA Retailer of Excellence Award – Macarthur Pets (NSW)
PIAA Boarder/Doggy Day Care/Pet Sitter of Excellence Award – joint winners Hunter Pet Motel (NSW) and Dogs Country Club (VIC)
PIAA Dog Trainer of Excellence Award – Jordan Dog Training (QLD)
PIAA Breeder of Excellence Award – Cottage Canines (NSW)
PIAA Groomer of Excellence Award – Redgum Vet & Pet Boarding (SA)
PIAA Pet Services of Excellence Award – Zoohause (NSW)
PIAA Manufacturer/Supplier of Excellence Award – Petway Petcare (QLD)
PIAA Education Achievement Award – Pacific Pet Resort (NSW)

JULY 7, 2016

Compulsory desexing, microchipping of cats and dogs coming to SA
Compulsory microchipping and desexing of dogs and cats in South Australia will be in place by the end of the year after an amendment passed through State Parliament. The Government predicts the new laws will reduce the number of pets being euthanised.

The amendments to the Dog and Cat Management Act were discussed for many years and the latest amendment is based on the findings of a citizens' jury, which urged that more effort be made to reduce the number of animals put down annually.

Environment Minister Ian Hunter said about 10,000 animals are euthanased each year."From my perspective that's 10,000 too many," he said. "That means there's an issue with supply and clamping down on illegal puppy farmers is the first place for us to start."

There will be some exemptions for breeders, as well as security and working dogs. Mr Hunter said the Government would look at ways to lower the cost of microchipping. "We work with veterinarians and various animal agencies and we can actually microchip a large number at a very cheap cost," he said.

Dog and cat management board chairwoman Dr Felicity-Ann Lewis said the board was pleased with the amendments and they would not be retrospective.
"We are saying to people: Look, it's coming, so please get organised, do the right thing," she said. Local councils will have the responsibility to enforce the laws.

JUNE 9, 2016

NSW Pet Registration goes DIY and digital

From July 2016, breeders and pet owners will be able to go to to register, pay, update their own details, and transfer pets to new owners.

Already microchipped?

Kittens and puppies in NSW must be microchipped and placed on the NSW Pet Registry by the time they reach 12 weeks of age, or prior to sale if that is earlier.

New pets should already be on the register under the previous owner or breeder’s name and profile. The owner or breeder can transfer the pet on the registry to the new owner’s contact number or email address.

Not microchipped?

If a pet is not microchipped, a local vet can do it. The vet will microchip it, and add the number to the NSW Pet Registry.

With the microchip number, new owners will then log in to and locate their animal using the microchip number and their contact details. Owners can then create a profile, and connect themselves fully to their pet so that in the event it is lost or injured owners can be notified.

Once an owner has an online profile they can update their contact details themselves. Owners can also pay registration fees online, which are due by the time a pet is 6 months old.
Owners without computers can use a form to register their pet. These are available from local council.


De-sexed pets will attract a greatly reduced registration fee. From 4 July 2016 a reduced registration fee will be available to owners who de-sex their cat before four months of age. A reduced fee applies if dogs are de-sexed before six months.

Pet owners are encouraged to de-sex dogs and cats at an early age because it helps to ensure pets stay healthy, are well behaved and do not have unwanted litters.

Vets will need to update the register when a pet is de-sexed. Vets can also update the Pet Registry if they believe that a pet should not be de-sexed for medical reasons.

This website will be available from July 2016.

JUNE 8, 2016

Australian cities and towns need to be more inclusive of pets
For the first time in Australia’s history, pet populations are falling significantly. This is a serious problem because pets make us happier and healthier. (Pic: Bob Barker)
AUSTRALIA, we need to talk.
"If I’m honest, this has been coming for a while. But right now, I feel like we’re at a crossroads in our relationship. My biggest fear? That if we don’t speak up we might just lose our supposed best mates from our lives. Along with all the benefits this friendship brings.

I am, of course, talking about the hairiest and possibly happiest members of our community — our pets. The scruffy, slobbery and occasionally clumsy masters of unconditional love.

But here’s the issue. While our pets might love us, our cities’ attitudes to pets is often far from caring. Most of our cities and towns have now become so non-inclusive of pets that a simple walk is more akin to a stroll through a minefield of potential fines, infringements and criticism. Or they’re simply not welcome at all — there are entire suburbs that ban cat ownership.

And without someone speaking up, we might just regulate pets out of our lives. 
For the first time in Australia’s history, pet populations are falling significantly. In just 12 months, cat populations have declined by 200,000 and dog numbers have dropped by 100,000. When you compare us to other countries around the world where ownership is increasing, our decline stands out like a dog’s ... well, you know.

Research shows that having a pet in your home means children are less likely to catch colds, need antibiotics or develop asthma. And throughout life having a furry family member leads to more exercise, lower blood pressure, fewer visits to the doctor, ­better cardiovascular health and an easing of loneliness.

So not only do pets make great personal trainers, they are hairy health care professionals. Every day, I see how beneficial pets are for all kinds of people, on a ­physical, mental and emotional level. If we lose pets from our communities then the health cost to all of us could be huge.
Having pet-friendly places is one of the best ways to support pets and their owners.

But a study last year into the pet-friendliness of Australian cities produced worryingly low results across the board — and Sydney came in at the bottom. We might be a nation of pet lovers but our cities are certainly not very pet-friendly. The time has come in 2016 for Australia to catch up to the rest of the world.

Rather than focusing on potential problems of pets, nations throughout Europe and North America seem more willing to embrace all the positives they provide. Not only do pets have more exercise areas to let out that excess energy, they’re also ­accepted travel companions (on planes, trains and buses), dining companions (at ­restaurants and cafes) and even hotel guests.

They’ve made these changes and haven’t suffered with piles of poo or hurricanes of pet hair ruining their streets. That’s because owners feel the pressure to be responsible. More ­relaxed pet laws are seen as a privilege.
Most of our cities and towns have now become so non-inclusive of pets that a simple walk is more akin to a stroll through a minefield of potential fines, infringements and criticism. (Pic: Bob Barker)
Over the next six months, I will be reaching out to all Australians through social media, visiting communities of pet lovers and speaking to all levels of government to raise awareness of these issues to see what can be done.

As a start, we need more pet-­friendly rental properties, transport, cafes and outdoor spaces.
Let’s stand up for creatures that ­repeatedly stand up for us. We must act now or risk losing our best mates and all the benefits they bring forever.

So, together, let’s #keepauspetfriendly before it’s too late."

Originally published as Australia, we need to talk in the Herald Sun

JUNE 2, 2016

Dogs may have been domesticated more than once
For years, scientists have debated where dogs came from. Did wolves first forge their special relationship with humans in Europe, or in Asia? The answer, according to a new study, is yes. This week in Science, researchers report that genetic analysis of hundreds of canines reveals that dogs may have been domesticated twice, once in Asia and once in Europe or the Near East, although European ancestry has mostly vanished from today’s dogs.

The study includes a unique specimen: the inner ear bone of a nearly 5000-year-old dog unearthed from Newgrange, a football field–sized mound of dirt and stone on the east coast of Ireland, built around the time of Stonehenge.

The team then created a family tree for the animals, which revealed a deep divide between European dogs (like the Newgrange canine and the Golden Retriever) and Asian dogs (like the Shar Pei and free-ranging village dogs from Tibet and Vietnam.

The data suggest that the East-West split happened sometime between 6400 and 14,000 years ago. Humans domesticated dogs in Asia more than 14,000 years ago, and a small subset of these animals eventually migrated west through Eurasia, probably with people.

But here’s the twist: Archaeologists previously had found the remains of dogs in Germany that may be more than 16,000 years old, suggesting that dogs had already been domesticated in Europe by the time the Asian canines got there. (...)

There’s still work to do: In a release, the team says that they plan to put their theory to the test by analysing thousands of ancient dogs and wolves. If their theory holds, it would rewrite the story of how our beloved pets came to be.

For the full article by David Grimm in the journal Science, please read

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