Our impact Case studies and stories Buddy was rescued, but still needed help Dogs like Buddy may have been rescued, but they’re not safe yet.They need specialist care to survive, heal and recover, and find loving new homes. Buddy and many dogs like him need expert treatment, which is largely funded by generous donations from people like you. We have opened our doors to more than 1200 animals in need of help this year alone—and it’s not over! On any given day, the RSPCA WA cares for an average of 251 animals. Some people see a broken dog when they look at a rescue like Buddy. You can’t blame them... he was all hips, ribs, spine-protruding bones, hairless patches on his skin and a bleeding sore on his tail. This shell of an American Boxer-cross gazed through the bars of the van, but it wasn’t defeat in his eyes—he hadn’t given up. Rescued animals like Buddy deserve a fighting chance for a fresh start. No matter how much love and attention our shelter staff pour into protective custody cases like Buddy’s, it’s only through the generous gifts of true friends like you that we’re able to provide the specialist level of care they truly need. It’s a sad fact that every week we see dozens more animals who urgently need rehabilitation come into RSPCA WA’s care. For mistreated animals, the first step to recovery here at RSPCA WA is a thorough vet examination, when they’re checked from the tips of their tails to the nails on their paws. Once their overall health has been assessed, our vet and shelter team carefully consider the best treatment plan. For painfully thin animals like Buddy, this will always involve specific types and amounts of food, fed at certain times—and regular monitoring. It’s a slow, careful process to nurse starved dogs back to health. Skinny animals can’t just wolf down big meals—that could cause more harm, even death. Donations help to provide the specialised rehabilitation plans, including administering vitamins and providing enrichment activities to help emaciated animals rebuild their strength—one gram at a time. Starved animals can’t do without it. Animals who have lost a significant amount of their body mass and muscle need a specialised diet—consisting of highly digestible food—that won’t put undue strain on their organs. And, because their recovery is about building back their health, they often also need supplements like vitamins and minerals. It may sound like a complicated recipe for recovery—and it is, which is why RSPCA WA experts all work together to help mistreated animals pull through. But as much skill, experience and dedication our team has, it’s not enough without your support. That’s the reality! The truth is, as much as we love animals, we can never give back the time that cruelty has stolen from dogs like Buddy. But what we can do is help them heal from their physical and psychological trauma—so they can get a fresh start in life and love. These animals deserve every bit of care—so they can find happiness with people who deserve them. But to get that chance, they desperately need a friend… they need people like you. Abused and neglected pets can count on kind and compassionate people like you to see them through their recovery. Because they have virtually no body fat, emaciated animals really feel the cold. Donations could sponsor bedding—to provide the padding that their own bony bodies can’t yet manage. It’s part of the special care they need to recover. RSPCA WA Shelter Manager, Emily, remembers the first time she saw Buddy: ‘I remember him sitting in the back of the inspector’s vehicle with the gate up, and he was just staring out. He was very skinny, sad and hunched over… he just looked really miserable.’ Emily’s been with RSPCA WA for over five years. She knows what it takes to get animals out of this state and into the shape they’re meant to be... although there’s no quick fix. This is a journey of commitment, love and patience, with ‘baby steps’ feeding, veterinary treatment, nursing, ongoing monitoring and safe, warm shelter, and loyal support from kind people such as yourself. Ultimately, these all combine to change animals’ lives! As Emily says: ‘Seeing animals come in ... in such terrible condition and then spending weeks and weeks—months—working with them and giving them the treatment they need ... and then seeing them rehabilitated and going up for adoption, it’s such a great feeling. It just makes everything worth it.’ While nursing these animals back to physical health is a vital factor, their emotional and mental well-being is just as important. That’s why once rescue dogs are stable and settled, Emily and her team take them through a behaviour rehabilitation plan. After everything they’ve been through, it’s not surprising that these dogs often need help to adapt to ‘normality’, so they can reintegrate into loving homes. For too many of these animals, it’s not ‘normal’ to have food to eat, fresh water to drink, a bed to cuddle up in or a toy to play with. You can tell that affectionate rubs and attention are abnormal in their world... despite being desperate for them. Some dogs cower in fear at an outstretched hand. It’s heartbreaking to see a dog—any animal—cringe in terror. They’ve survived deprivation of every kind ... and they deserve to know what health and happiness feels like! Emily makes a good point when she says that behaviour can be affected by poor nutrition. That’s why her team is mindful of these dogs’ backgrounds during the assessments. As she puts it: ‘We really take it slow and just assess things as they come up. At first they can be quite scattered ... they just want food, and they’re not really in the right mindset where they can relax ... because they’re always just thinking about when their next meal will be.’ Although Emily spends most of her time near the animals, she knows just how central and critical supporters like you are to her work in the shelter. This is how she put it: ‘Every donation makes such an impact on every animal’s life here ... without those resources, we wouldn’t be able to provide the care we do. Who knows what would’ve happened to Buddy if we didn’t have the inspectors on the road, or we didn’t have the vet clinic to look after him? I wouldn’t want to ever think about a time where we couldn’t help, because we weren’t financially able. ‘I think unless you understand sheltering, you don’t really understand how many resources go into saving even just one animal, let alone the hundreds that we save each year. So, every donation makes such a big impact—it really does, every cent, every dollar, it all helps.’ Our Shelter Manager is 100% correct, of course. Every dollar matters—just as every gram of weight means so much to rebuilding the health and lives of dogs like Buddy. Also key to these animals’ recovery is an extremely hygienic environment—because of their weakened immune systems. While our shelter is always clean, of course, high hygiene standards in kennels mean less chance of illness for recovering rescued pets. Donations greatly help towards ensuring the highest standards of hygiene for rescued dogs in recovery. Whatever form your friendship takes today, it will give rescued animals the care they must have to recover and leave their trauma behind. Because of people like you, they will know love—now and for the rest of their lives.