Master Bowie TV

Ep.3 Paw Wow with Evania Dunstone (Starting Over Dog Rescue)

The effervescent Ruth King from Starting Over Dog Rescue, who just turned 70 this year, put me in contact with Evania and her gorgeous rescue dog, Hope. It’s an honour to meet Evania and Hope, and to share their happy-ending stories.

Hope didn’t have a great start in life, but she was given a new life when she was rescued by Starting Over and put under Evania’s care who had since adopted her. She’s is now healthy, happy, safe and most importantly loved.

There are more than 250,000 healthy and rehomeable dogs being put on death row in Australia every year through no fault of their own. If you’re thinking of getting a dog, please consider adoption. If you want to help save dogs, you can sign in to be a foster carer or donate to any not-for-profit rescue groups.

Watch my interview with Evania sharing Hope’s journey and her experience as a foster carer.

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You can also read Evania’s full interview below

Evania and Hope in her forever home

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Evania. I’m a personal trainer and a huge animal lover. I think they make this world a happier place.

How did you become a foster carer?

My partner and I became foster carers after our dog passed away mid last year. We wanted to help other dogs have a second chance. We had fostered in the past, then adopted the dog. We only started fostering with Starting Over Dog Rescue (SODR) in November last year.

Can you tell us about foster caring?

To be a foster carer, you first need to fill in an application, complete a fence/property check and meet with your coordinator. As a foster carer with SODR, you’re basically part of a community of unpaid volunteers who dedicate their time to assist animals find a new life – some saved from death row through no fault of their own.

As a foster carer, you will take care of your foster, ensure they’re kept healthy, take them to any vet appointments, process applications, arrange meet and greets, and ensure the animals find a perfect home. We also expose the foster to as many situations as possible to find their likes, social skills, etc. You could say we temporarily rehabilitate and assist the animals to be happy, healthy and able to be given a second chance in their forever home. We generally test their traits over a minimum of two weeks before we would place them up for adoption/out in the community. With SODR, they supply everything you need to care for your foster, from food to bedding, as well as a community of carers you can always call on for help.

How many animals have you fostered?

With SODR we’ve only fostered one animal at this stage, and since adopted Hope. We will continue with fostering, however we’re taking a brief break to ensure Hope feels 100% comfortable in herself.

Can you tell us about Hope’s journey?

Hope was a special case. She was surrendered to the pound and assumed heavily pregnant. In the final days of October 2017, she was beginning to bleed and battered possibly by other dogs.

She was presumably vetted and advised to be okay. They also assumed she ate her puppies, however this wasn’t the case. Hope had Pyometra, an infection of the uterus and was so close to losing her battle if rescue had not intervened.

The council refused to release her to rescue under duty of care, as under the code, pregnant doesn’t count. Hope endured many days unwell and uncared for in the pound, and finally after so much pressure from outside parties, she was released. Hope was so unwell and needed a blood transfusion prior to surgery where she had 3kg of puss and uterus removed. She was emaciated, her waistline was tiny.

She also had a huge cyst on her hind leg which turned out to be a grade II tumour. She had the cyst removed about a month into our care as she had so much to recover from. Having past experiences of caring for two rescue staffys of our own, we’re able to offer a quiet home for Hope to recover in.

We had fostered Hope since November 2017 and been on a search for her forever home until March this year, when we decided it was right to adopt her. She has a heart of gold. We have taught her so much she taught us to love again, and she will continue to be an assistance dog helping other dogs like herself to find their forever home, as we continue to foster with SODR. Hope is a symbol of change to come and she has bigger plans in store.

Hope is happy, healthy, safe and loved. She’s got a great life ahead of her.

What’s the biggest reward from fostering? 

The biggest reward is knowing that you are saving lives, helping dogs get a second chance. They’re the most loving and loyal creatures, and the fact that they can love again after being treated so poorly or discarded is a true reflection on how society can learn from these creatures.

What’s the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge, I would say, is not wanting to go find a big property or ranch somewhere and live a life saving every dog you foster. Also, trying to find a perfect home where you know the animals will be cared for their lifetime.

If you had the power to change anything in the world, what would you do?

So many things… Where to start? I think all puppies farms should be completely eradicated and we need to ensure that you could never buy a dog/animal from a pet shop or market. Have adoption as the only option and incentives to get your pets desexed for free.

Why fostering?

It’s so rewarding saving lives and knowing you are part of the bigger picture. With SODR, they help you every step of the way either via your co-ordinator or on their Facebook community. Treat the dogs as your own, fight for them. They have no voice and you’re there to be their advocate. Make sure you set up your own values that the dogs deserve their forever home and never compromise. Most of all, love every moment of it, the ups and downs, and the possibility that your house may be changed forever. We also benefit from other carers assistance and transport helpers. Without them, we cannot save a life so get on board!

How can we help?

Starting Over Dog Rescue (SODR) is a not-for-profit organisation. We’re a registered charity run purely by unpaid volunteers. We don’t have shelter or land or sponsors. Without foster carers SODR cannot continue. Any money made from adoptions is co-dependant and will go towards saving the next dog. We rely highly on donations to keep assisting and giving dogs a voice that cannot be heard.

You can donate directly to Starting Over Dog Rescue (SODR) and it’s 100% tax deductible. Please donate to us via Commonwealth Bank, BSB 063 184, Acc No. 10373408.