Meet some of the animals from the RSPCA looking for a fresh start this festive season

adopt an animal from the rspca
We’re snowballing towards Christmas and for many that means eager anticipation of a summer break. At RSPCA’s three animal shelters, the summer months are the busiest as reports of animals in need of rescuing increase, often due to heat-related issues.

With so many animals coming in, the shelters can get a bit crowded. Hence, after unowned animals have had their health and behaviour assessed and any concerns addressed, the priority is to find them loving homes as soon as possible.

Giving animals as a surprise Christmas gift to someone is never a good idea. However, the RSPCA says adopting an animal during the summer break, with the whole family or household on-board with the decision, can work well. If people plan to stay home over the festive season and would like to adopt an animal, those days spent at home together give everyone a chance to get to know each other, to bond and to establish routines. The school holidays also give children time to learn what’s required to keep their new furry, feathered or scaled family member happy and healthy.

cats for adoption RSPCA

“You need to go into pet ownership with your eyes wide open to the responsibilities it involves, but the health benefits – both physical and psychological – of having animals in our lives are well documented,” says RSPCA South Australia’s Head of Animal Operations, Billy Tubman.

Growing up in a household with animals is enormously beneficial for children, who with guidance can learn essential human values such as kindness, empathy and responsibility.

“When you give a loving home to a rescued animal it’s a win-win – for both the animal and the person who has opened their heart and home to them.”

In the last financial year, the RSPCA in South Australia found new homes for a record number of 6017 animals. This was 657 more animals than the organisation re-homed in the previous year. It’s an outcome Billy puts down to “the rescued factor”.

“When people hear the stories behind how animals come to be at our shelters, it strikes a chord,” Billy said.

“Most people understand that animals, just like people, deserve second chances in life.

“For some of these animals, it will be the first time they’ve experienced life in a loving home.”

Among the dogs looking for fresh starts are Flash and Zoey, who were surrendered by their owner to RSPCA’s Whyalla shelter before being transferred to the Lonsdale shelter. Flash is a seven-year-old Labrador cross and Zoey is an eight-year-old Sharpei cross, and the canine friends come as a package deal.

RSPCA dog for adoption
Seven-year-old Labrador cross, Flash

“Some animals, like these two dogs, have lived with each other for years and become close – we call them bonded pairs,” Billy explained.

“For their welfare, we rehome them together – to separate them at this point in their lives would be unkind and could cause significant harm to their wellbeing.”

Bonded pairs usually come in together, but in some rare instances two animals form a bond after meeting inside the shelter. Such was the case with Athena and Blue, two cats that arrived as strays with significant behavioural issues. Since meeting through mesh inside the Lonsdale shelter in mid-October, the love-struck felines now share an enclosure and have completely transformed to the point where they can now be adopted – together, of-course.

RSPCA cats for adoption
Athena and Blue

Before becoming available to adopt, the pair – like all animals in RSPCA’s care – were desexed, vaccinated, microchipped and vet-checked, procedures that are paid for by community donations.

“The adoption fees rarely cover the costs involved in caring for these animals, and we’re very thankful to our supporters who fund this vital work for some of our state’s most needy animals,” Billy said.

Almost half of the approximately 900 animals currently in RSPCA SA’s care are at the main Lonsdale shelter. The remainder are living in the homes of volunteer foster carers or in RSPCA’s regional shelters at Whyalla and Port Lincoln. Not all the animals are available to adopt, and not all of those available to adopt are dogs and cats.

RSPCA guinea pig for adoption
Frankie the Guinea Pig

“We’ve got a lot of rabbits in care right now, and ten of them are ready to go to new homes,” Billy said.

“Frankie the guinea pig, three white doves and a beautiful 12-year-old cockatiel named Charlie are also waiting patiently for someone to give them forever homes.”

To view all the animals available to adopt from RSPCA SA:

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