Barnaby And Why VicDRG Exists

Barnaby has become a symbol of all the homeless animals who die lonely deaths in pounds and shelters, and have no one to grieve for them or give them a last pat or cuddle. Fortunately, this special boy did not meet that fate.

He came to us mistreated and frightened of the world and was happiest when he was in his crate because that was his den and he felt secure there. He was probably penned or caged all his life before we rescued him. His tail was quite damaged because of the small space we think he was kept in.

Melbourne’s Saddest Dog

After breaking many people’s hearts by being called ‘Melbourne’s Saddest Dog’ in the Herald Sun, we received hundreds of adoption applications for Barnaby from caring animal lovers around the state. He even made it into the international media! It was inspiring for us that so many of you out there truly care about homeless dogs and cats – particularly those who haven’t been given the love and kindness they so deserve.

From all the kind applicants, we whittled the number down to a handful that could fulfil Barnaby’s special needs. So many wonderful people applied that we had to decline, because they perhaps weren’t going to be home enough, or didn’t have another dog as four-legged company for Barnaby. We were very grateful for their interest and kindness, but we simply wanted to find Barnaby the perfect home.

Barnaby picked his forever home himself

We arranged for Barnaby to visit a handful of shortlisted new homes and see how he coped. Would he be frightened, and retreat to his crate (the only place he feels safe?) Or worse, would he try to run away? We were as nervous as he was. On our adoption Co-ordinator’s first visit with Barnaby to one of the shortlisted couples, Barnaby went in and promptly lay down by the fire. It was as if he knew he was home.

And he was.

Barnaby himself chose his forever home, which is exactly how we would wish it. We have seen this happen before where our foster dogs just seem to recognise their new forever family. I’m particularly reminded of our lovely Scudley who was very withdrawn on his first meet-and-greet for no reason that we could see, but on his next meeting he immediately attached himself to the couple who were to become his new family.

Barnaby’s new mother and father are a lovely middle-aged couple who live on acreage on the Mornington Peninsula, so Barnaby will have room for long walks with his family without leaving the safety of their property. On the rare times that he is left alone, he has a dignified older sister-dog called Miss T to keep him company – and last night she let him share the couch with her for the first time. Before that he was lying full-length in front of the fire, covered by a blanket, with his lovely new mum getting up during the night to check on him. And of course his crate sits in the living room for him to retreat into when he needs to. At the moment he only goes in there when his new family are out, which is a wonderful sign of how safe he is now feeling.

Barnaby Now

Now in 2014, four years later, we have received yet another photograph of our lovely Barnaby, enjoying the beach with his family. We’re so glad we saved you, Barnaby. We’re so glad a caring ranger asked us to help you, just in time. And thank you for letting us tell your story, and reach out to so many people who, next time they want a new companion, might just remember you and choose to save one of your kindred at their local pound or shelter.

We thank everyone who has supported us through our work with Barnaby and with our other foster dogs and cats. A fostercare network supported by our volunteers and our fantastic adopters is such a great community of compassionate people who care for our beloved four-legged friends.

Thank you all again for caring about Barnaby, and all homeless dogs and cats like him. We are still accepting donations to help us rescue more dogs like Barnaby. All donations over $2 are tax-deducitble - and please look at our other wonderful rescue pets needing homes.

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