Shannon and Florence
Shannon McKay is a volunteer at the Warrnambool RSPCA Shelter. She has a love for big dogs and has adopted quite a few in her time. We got chatting to Shannon one afternoon, when she brought Florence, a ‘stray’ St.Bernard dog in for a wash. At the time of her wash, Florence was full of fleas and her coat was all matted. We were quite surprised that a beautiful big dog like Florence could be abandoned. Does this happen often? we wondered.
We got back in touch with Shannon a week later to find out what happened to Florence. It was no surprise to us that Shannon ended up adopting her- we could tell that Shannon was falling in love with Florence at the time of her wash. Shannon sent us through some photos so we could see how well Florence was doing in her new home. She looks so happy now!; a marked difference from when we first met her.
“Here are some pics of Florence settling in to her new life at our place :) Her brother is Mawson and her sister is Migaloo, Florence is doing brilliantly, she plods around like she owns the place and sleeps the day away :) I know she's found her paradise :),” reports Shannon.
Florence's new life includes regular walks on the beach and plenty of TLC! PHOTO CREDIT: SHANNON MCKAY
We wanted to know more about Shannon’s work at the Warrnambool RSPCA Shelter and what happens to abandoned dogs. Here is an interview that we would like to share with you.
How did Florence come to be at the RSPCA?
She was brought into RSPCA (as the pound) via the Moyne Shire rangers. She had been left on a property. Her owners had moved away and left her behind without food or water.
Do big dogs like Florence get abandoned often or is this an isolated occurrence?
Thankfully we do not deal with a lot of obviously abandoned dogs like this, but I suspect that some “stray” dogs are actually dumped for the rangers or members of the public to find, rather than the previous owners surrendering the animals directly to us (which of course is our preferred method!)
How often does the RSPCA find stray dogs?
We receive a number of stray dogs each week, many of these are reclaimed as loved pets that have escaped due to fencing faults or being frightened from storms/fireworks etc. But sadly a number of these are also not reclaimed and are left for us to try and find a new home for.
What happens to abandoned dogs?
The process for RSPCA when a stray animals arrives (either via the rangers or a member of the public) is first and foremost to scan the animal for a microchip and/or check for a collar with tags for an owners contact phone number. If there is no contact option then the animal is held for 9 days at our facility for an owner to come forward. If the animal is not reclaimed during this time, then they are seen by a vet to be assessed for temperament and health and are vaccinated, wormed, de-fleaed and desexed, ready to be placed into adoption.
How has Florence been since you found her? Health? Emotional Wellbeing?
She’s been just fine emotionally which is surprising, given her ordeal. Health wise, she was not in great condition, very thin and her coat was in poor condition. She was very dirty on arrival with a lot of mats in her coat that have since been trimmed. She was covered in fleas and she had quite a bad ear infection which is currently being treated and her eyes may need future surgery as they may cause her issues down the track. This is a result of her breed.
Are you able to describe her state when you found her and why you ended up needing to use our dog wash?
As above, very dirty, covered in mats, covered in fleas. We initially gave her a quick wash at the shelter, getting the majority of the dirt off, but she needed your dog wash to get some really good shampoo and conditioner into her coat and to give her a good blow dry. She seemed to love the whole experience!
Have you taken in abandoned dogs before?
Yes, our 10 year old Rottweiler X, Mawson, who we adopted as a 9 week old puppy from the RSPCA. Migaloo, who is a 9yo boxer that we adopted as a 1yr old from RSPCA . Migaloo was found wandering in the bush at Naringal and was brought in by a lovely lady who had spent 3 days trying to catch her as she was so timid. And our 2 year old Great Dane, Lulu (unfortunately deceased) – all of our doggies are big fans of your dog wash!
(ABOVE) Florence with her new siblings, Migaloo and Mawson (BELOW) Florence loves an afternoon snooze! PHOTO CREDITS: SHANNON MCKAY
The Warrnambool RSPCA Shelter currently has approximately 25 volunteers. You can make a big difference to RSPCA animals by volunteering, donating or adopting.