A shaggy dog tale
WITH tails wagging and little paws pattering, it was obvious both Bob and Katie were happy in their new home.
Left abandoned and neglected in the pound just weeks before Christmas, the maltese cross poodles were placed in temporary care by the Northern Rivers Animal Service (NRAS).
But on Christmas Eve, West Ballina resident Vivian Miller signed the adoption papers that would make both Bob and Katie official members of her family.
"They were the Christmas presents for us," she said.
"They're very affectionate little things, they just love being around people."
Now clean and cared-for, it's hard to imagine the state they were found in.
"They were matted and filthy and flea-ridden and Katie had a huge mammary tumour," Ms Miller said.
"I first saw them on the NRAS Facebook website.
"They were in the pound and shaved and needing a carer.
"The next time I looked about a week later, there was a photo of them and they were out, they got a carer, she had had her tumour out and they were needing a home.
"So I rang and asked about them."
Being best friends, it didn't take Ms Miller long to realise Bob and Katie couldn't be separated.
"They had to stay together. That was the thing. I expect they had offers for Bob but they are very, very close. They cry if they're apart.
"It's been a huge change for them, but unfortunately for them, they were sadly neglected."
NRAS volunteer Trish Giltinan said the organisation had arranged four pre-Christmas adoptions, but there would need to be a lot more post-Christmas adoptions.
"You will find that the pound will be full in the next couple of weeks," she said.
These were largely the result of unwanted store-bought pets, given away as Christmas presents.
Ms Giltinan said it was "paramount" people considered organisations like NRAS when thinking about taking home a pet.
"They're going to get an animal that is de-sexed, micro-chipped, vaccinated, and we try to match people's energy levels with the dogs," she said.
Adopt a pet - who to call
Northern Rivers Animal Services: Phone 6681 1860 or visit the group's Facebook page
Animal Rights and Rescue Group: 135 Three Chain Rd, Lismore. Phone 6622 1881 or visit animalrights.org.au