Victorian Dog Rescue decided to become involved, and after making contact with the Council, arranged to bring dogs and some cats to Melbourne for rehoming. This was the beginning of the Drought Dogs Program.
Mildura is more than 500 kms from Melbourne and no commercial dog transporters have it on a regular route. We paid for petrol and sometimes accommodation money for fellow dog lovers to drive there and back. Many refused to take any payment. We also found a willing local person to go into the pound to help assess the dogs’ suitability for rehoming. This grew to a group of volunteers over the years, with local supporters foster caring the dogs in their homes till they were transported to Melbourne.
The Drought Dogs Program continued on for about a decade, and now is run as the North-West Rescue Route, which brings dogs and cats to Melbourne every week, stopping at 7 or 8 other pounds on the way, with more than 30 groups working together to take on the dogs and cats. It was with much relief that we could step back and let these newer groups continue this work. We continue to help out with older dogs, pets needing substantial vetwork and others where we can.
The values of our group were forged in these early heartbreaking years when sometimes we could only save four of 30 or so dogs, and only a minute number of the sometimes 60 or so cats and kittens. We can now see that what we began has grown and changed the lives of so many companion animals, and shown us yet again that individuals banding together can change what others just accept as inevitable. Sadly, some fifteen years later, Mildura Pound and other rural pounds, still have a poor record, but we hope never again to hear of kittens and dogs shot at Mildura Pound as they were some years ago.
Never believe that it is enough to say – someone should do something. You are the someone.