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Woof! Woof! 

Hello everyone! My name is Sox and I am a three-year-old German wirehaired pointer cross. My feline friend Milk and I would like to talk to you about how our lives have been transformed by the wonderful work of Lort Smith staff and volunteers.

I didn’t have the easiest of starts. I was unaware of what it was like to have a family or even what it felt like to have contact with humans or other dogs. I was deemed a failed pig hunting dog at just two and a half years old.

I remember thinking that I was very young to have failed as a dog. I was absolutely devastated, and I ended up at the local pound. It was a lonely place, I had no friends and little interaction. After a while, I was put into a strange car and taken to Lort Smith. This is when my new life began…

I have come such a long way since I first arrived at Lort Smith last winter. I did not get to experience much during my early years and I was lacking in confidence. When the staff and volunteers took me outside, I would walk with my head down and my tail between my legs.

I met other dogs when I went out for my walks. I found this quite overwhelming and I would sometimes growl at them because I didn’t know any better. I had never had a friend before.

I spent much of my early life alone and I did not spend much time outside. By taking me outside every day and showing me the world and introducing me to new people and dogs, the amazing staff and volunteers at Lort Smith were helping to build my confidence.

I was soon told that I would need to have an operation - I was going to be desexed. You can imagine that this news didn’t exactly make my day, but there would be numerous health and behavioural benefits. Besides, I was just about to meet a human that was to change my life.

I did not have the best of starts. I was isolated and unable play like other dogs. But Lort Smith changed all that. I received more love and care than I had ever known.

The human I met was one of the incredible volunteers at Lort Smith. As soon as I saw her, I hugged her. I climbed onto her lap and I wrapped my front paws around her neck. Having spent so much of my life without human contact I was not exactly sure of how I should behave around them, but this felt right.

She came back to see me the next morning, but this time I was more cautious. She sat and she waited ever so patiently, until I was ready to approach her.

Being taken for walks, seeing and interacting with the outside world, meeting new dogs and humans, having cuddles and experiencing patience might not sound like much to some – but it meant the world to me.

Although I was two and a half years old (that’s 23 in human years!), in many ways I was still just a puppy.

Lots of things were new to me, and the care, patience and understanding of the amazing staff and volunteers at Lort Smith showed me this was okay and that I could learn at my own pace.

I soon learned that the volunteer I met after my operation was going to take me home and foster me. I had spent so much time alone that I was very much looking forward to staying with a loving human family.

Animals arrive at Lort Smith for many reasons. Some are sick and require expert veterinary care to help them recuperate. Others need socialisation, care and patience to be rehabilitated and prepared for their new lives. Both are essential services provided by Lort Smith to sick, injured and vulnerable animals.

When I first arrived at the home of my foster carer, I was very nervous and a little confused. It was warm and cosy and full of soft things to lay on. I soon found a comfy couch and this quickly became my favourite spot!

I was not toilet trained and I did not understand what the foster carers wanted me to do when they would say words like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ to me. I did not eat for the first few days because I felt so overwhelmed by all of my new surroundings.

I wanted to be near my foster carers, but at the same time I was anxious and unsure. I would sometimes accidently wee when they spoke to me, or when they arrived home from being out. But they never once growled.

My foster carers were very understanding of why I was behaving this was and they regularly spoke with the staff at Lort Smith. They worked together to help me to overcome my fears. They were so patient and worked with me slowly every moment they could, to help me gain confidence and trust.

In my foster home I found a new furry friend - a kitty cat called Pippa. We play every day and we even share the comfy couch together at night!

Over time, I have become less uncertain and more confident around humans. This is all due to the tremendous effort that the Lort Smith staff and volunteers have put in to transforming my life.

Having spent the first part of my life in isolation, my foster carer did lots of desensitisation work and training during my walks. This helped me get used to loud bangs and noisy trucks. They even enrolled me in doggy training too!

I spent most of the first class cowering away from the other dogs. But I’m proud to say that I have now made lots of canine friends and my trainer even said that I have shown the best dog-to-dog body language she has ever seen! She even wants me to return to help teach the next cohort! Who would have ever thought it? Me, the teacher’s pet!

My foster carer started taking me along to her university classes and she tells me that I have become known as the class “hug therapy dog”. I never imagined that life could be so wonderful! I have so many things that I love to do now; cuddle humans, run full-speed in circles, help my foster carer with her dog training assessments, hunt flies and snails, but I think my most favourite thing to do is to just be with my foster family.

I have discovered that I am what humans like to call a ‘lap dog’, even though I am quite a big dog! I love nothing more than climbing on top of humans, using my paws like hands to bring them closer and cuddle me tighter.

Lort Smith understands the immense power and positivity that comes from the human-animal bond, and the mutual connection and benefit that my foster carer and I were able to bring into each other’s lives is testament to this.

I have not failed as a dog. The unkind human who told me that was wrong. My foster carer saved me and I saved her.

You have probably guessed this by now but my amazing foster carer from Lort Smith decided to adopt me! This meant that I would be able to live with her, Pippa and the rest of the family for always!

My adopter told me that it had been a lot of work to rehabilitate me, but giving up on me was never an option. She said that we shared a special connection. Showing me that the world is not such a scary place ended up helping and changing her life too.

My adopter is even thinking of enrolling me in the Lort Smith Pet Therapy program! This means I will be able to share my love and cuddles with people who need it most.

I am so very grateful that I found my way to Lort Smith. I never knew just how wonderful the world could be and that it is filled with so many kind and gentle people.

Love from Sox x


Meow and Purr!

Hi everyone! My name is Milk and I am a six-month-old domestic short hair cat.

I look pretty good in this photo, but when I first arrived at Lort Smith I was in a really bad way. If the life-saving treatment that I so desperately needed hadn’t been available, I probably wouldn’t be here writing to you now.

I found my way to Lort Smith after I fell from a two storey apartment balcony when I was just four-months-old. My fall resulted in head trauma, kidney bruising and a leg fracture. I couldn’t believe that I had already used up one of my nine lives!

I must have given the people at Lort Smith quite a scare, because there was blood coming out of my right ear when I arrived. Strange people were poking and prodding me. I didn’t understand what was happening and I was in a lot of pain.

I cried out very loudly because the pain was so bad. The head trauma had caused increased intra-cranial pressure and it was almost unbearable. Even as a young kitten who didn’t know much about the world, I knew there was a lot that needed repairing, and some of it urgently!

Fortunately for me, my carer chose to take me to Lort Smith, who provide life-saving treatment and exceptional veterinary care to animals every day. I was immediately put into something called an ‘oxygen cage’, given fluids and pain medication.

My human couldn’t afford to help me get better, and they decided it would be best for Lort Smith to continue looking after me. This made me very sad. I was so confused and didn’t understand what was happening (we cats do like our routines). But soon enough, the folks at Lort Smith made me feel very welcome.

I discovered that I was in the best possible place to help me recover from my fall. The wonderful staff and volunteers at Lort Smith made me feel safe and secure and treated me with such incredible care.

The vets told me that I would need to have x-rays so they could find out exactly what had been broken in the fall. The x-rays showed that there was a fracture to one of my legs, and that I would need to have surgery to repair it.

I was quite nervous about having the surgery, but I understood it was something I had to have. I knew it was essential for me to be able to run, jump and play again, just like other kittens do.

I had broken my femur in two places. I needed surgery to remove part of my hip joint and have pins put in my knee joint. The vets at Lort Smith carried out something called “femoral pinning” to fix the fracture of my left hind leg.

Lort Smith decided that the best place for me to recover would be in foster care. Lucky for me, one of the amazing vets volunteered to take me home with them whilst I recuperated.

It was important that I didn’t run or jump too much, so I had to be confined. I didn’t like this much – I was a kitten after all! My job is to be playful and silly.

It took some time, but I did start to feel better. I even had a playmate (my foster carer’s two-year-old cat) which I enjoyed lots! My foster carer says that I am very brave and calls me a happy little “purr-machine!”

I am brave because I trusted that the amazing staff and volunteers at Lort Smith would be able to make me well again. They gave me the strength to believe in myself and, thanks to them, I have a second chance at a new life.

I still have a slight limp in my left hind leg and I will sometimes hold it out to the side when I sit down because it is more comfortable this way. But I do not let this stop me from running and playing like any other kitten. Lort Smith have given me a second chance at life and I fully intend on making the most of it!

After two months of rehabilitation, I returned to Lort Smith because they said that I was ready to be adopted. I am very excited about this as I can’t wait to find a new home and family just like my friend Sox!

While back at Lort Smith, I have started my modelling portfolio. People from the Herald Sun newspaper wanted to do a story about me – to try and prevent what happened to me, from happening to other cats. Of course, I was more than happy to help with this and I put my best paw forward!

Yours meow-fully, Milk x

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