Pumpernickel was found just in time Pumpernickel the puppy was just nine weeks old when rangers found her and her sisters, Bagel, Brioche and Crouton, abandoned in a country laneway. It was very sad to see such young and innocent puppies in such terrible condition. They were so emaciated they were just skin and bones. They were covered in sand and dust, and riddled with worms, fleas and sores. It was a wonder they were still alive. Pumpernickel was clearly the sickest of the bunch. What’s really heartbreaking is that Pumpernickel is just one of hundreds of animals in distress who need your help this Christmas. Every year, we see thousands of mistreated animals coming into our shelter. This year, between November and January, we expect to take in hundreds more animals into our care—neglected, abandoned and abused animals who have literally no one else to care for them. It’s a terribly sad situation, isn’t it? But you can do something to help. By making a gift this Christmas, you will give them a safe place to sleep. It will make sure they have everything they need including all the medical care they require over the festive season to recover from their trauma and abuse. And then, once they are fully recovered, it will help find them a forever home where they can start a brand new life with a loving family. Monique knows exactly how much of an impact your gift could have. She’s been working at our shelter for about a year now. As an RSPCA WA Adoptions Officer, it’s her job to find new homes for animals ready for a second chance. During her time with us, she’s seen for herself some of the unimaginable cruelty that’s inflicted on innocent animals. “We get lots of animals coming in daily” she says. “They come in very, very skinny, hurt, abandoned. It’s extremely heartbreaking. It is so hard to see what they’ve gone through. Hard to believe how they can be treated like that.” Monique’s met a lot of animals who have suffered horribly. But she still remembers the first time she saw Pumpernickel and her sisters, just after they’d been brought to the shelter. “They came here extremely skinny. You could see their ribs,” she recalls. “They were really, really scared and very timid. It’s especially sad seeing such little pups who are so confused. They don’t know what they’ve done wrong or why they’re here.” It’s heartbreaking to think of animals going through such pain and suffering. What’s even worse is that at Christmas time, when everyone deserves to be surrounded by a loving family, we’ll see more abandoned and neglected animals coming to the shelter. “It’s busy all year round,” says Monique. “But it does feel a bit harder at Christmas time.” For Pumpernickel and her sisters, coming to the shelter when they did was the best thing that could have happened to them. And, somehow, these amazing, trusting little puppies knew it. “They took a bit of time to warm up,” Monique says, “but you could definitely see in their eyes that once we took them in and rescued them, they knew they were in safe hands.” Sure enough, as soon as they arrived at the RSPCA Animal Care Facility, the puppies began to receive the kind of loving care that can turn a mistreated animal’s life around. First, they were rushed straight to the vet for a thorough medical examination to make sure there were no major problems, other than the obvious ailments such as fleas and worms. “Once they’ve been checked out,” says Monique, “we set up a kennel for them. We put a little jacket on them if it’s cold, provide lots of warm bedding, soft, fluffy toys, lots of balls. Then, they’re fed throughout the day on a special feeding plan.” As soon as the puppies’ immediate physical needs were taken care of, it was time to begin the important work of healing their emotional wounds. “That means sitting in the kennel with them and just interacting with them, using treats to build trust, playing with toys to get them a bit more comfortable around us, talking to them – and just making them feel safe.” After some work with the behaviour staff, the pups were introduced to other staff and suitable dogs. And once the experts had seen that their behaviour was on track—that’s when something truly wonderful started to happen. Monique explains: “That’s when we know they’re just about ready to find their forever home.” “They definitely need a family,” says Monique. “They want one—and they deserve one, after what they’ve been through.” With Monique’s help, that’s exactly what rehabilitated animals get. She works hard to match animals in need of love with new families who will give them everything they’ve been missing. For the dedicated and loving team at the shelter, that’s when all the hard work really pays off. “It makes us so happy,” says Monique. “We’ve cried tears of joy when there’s been an animal that is very scared, very timid, and we’ve watched them come out the other side, blossom into an animal that’s extremely confident and playful—and leave the shelter as a completely different animal.” “No one wants to be alone for Christmas,” says Monique, “so we make sure they’re really looked after. We do a Christmas present run, going through all the kennels and putting in a bunch of new toys. Everyone gets a present here!” This Christmas, Monique and the rest of the RSPCA family will be offering this kind of care to so many animals at the shelter. And, to do that, they’re relying on the help of Guardian Angels like you. Will you make a special Christmas donation today? There’s so much it could do.