Hunter Animal Rescue President Caroline Hawkless: Adopt, Don’t Shop

Nikki Shilling with rescue dog Myah.
Nikki Shilling with rescue dog Myah.

Owning a new pet is even more meaningful when it involves saving a life.

President of Hunter Animal Rescue Caroline Hawkless said their main mission is “giving vulnerable animals a second chance to find a loving forever home”.

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Hunter Animal Rescue saves the lives of companion animals left abandoned or unclaimed in local pounds, by providing temporary homes and rehabilitation, and re-homing animals.

The organisation brought approximately 400 animals into care in 2016.

It is easy to fall for a cute puppy or kitten, but responsible ownership involves considering “the total life cycle of the pet,” Ms Hawkless said.

Potential owners should “think in advance” and consider factors including children growing up and losing interest, home and yard security, quality care, and financial considerations.

“Seeing the feedback from families that have adopted our foster animals and the obvious joy and enrichment all have gained as a result is the most rewarding part of the role,” Ms Hawkless said.

But there are significant challenges including “realising that friendly and excitable large dogs and purring, head-butting, sweet adult cats are not as popular as puppies and kittens and stay in foster care a lot longer,” Ms Hawkless told News Of The Area.

Ms Hawkless said there were several ways people could assist Hunter Animal Rescue.

“Foster – if you can’t foster – volunteer – if you can’t volunteer – donate – if you can’t donate – share our story with friends and family who may be able to.”

The prospect of sidestepping the sometimes challenging puppy stage helped local resident Nikki Shilling with her decision to adopt.

The choice was even easier when a dog at Rutherford RSPCA made the selection for her.

“Myah didn’t bark and she went running up to [my son] Oli and licked him through the big pen. We hung out with her for a while and played and it felt like she chose us, which was the idea,” Nikki said.

For Nikki, pets are a life-long commitment and there are important questions to ask before taking the plunge.

“I’ve had neighbours before who had a Kelpie pup chained up most of the day alone while they were at work. That’s not fair,” Nikki said.

Information on pet adoption can be found at or


Nikki Shilling with rescue dog Myah.
Nikki Shilling with rescue dog Myah.

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