Sunday, 29 July 2018

The Hidden Cost of Online Fundraisers

The Hidden Cost of Online Fundraisers

Like many rescue organisations, Moving Paws Inc is active on social media, including Facebook. There are a number of benefits to social media – we can keep our supporters updated, raise awareness of important issues, and promote fundraising activities. Platforms like Facebook are very popular and free to use, so this can be extremely useful for non-profit organisations like us.

Social media also allows us to promote our fundraisers in a way we could only have dreamed about a few years ago.

Recently we have seen a number of Facebook posts and websites asking for people to vote for particular charities to receive grants, or to donate to indirect fundraisers via third party websites. However, some online fundraisers aren’t as straightforward as they appear.

The voting websites can be problematic. They will usually ask you to submit some personal details to ‘validate’ your vote. We ask our supporters and friends to be very wary of submitting personal information, as you are likely to end up on mailing lists begging for more votes and/or donations. We also cannot vouch for the security of any personal information you submit to other websites.

External fundraising websites charge fees for their service. The fees are charged to the charity by being deducted from donations before any funds are passed on. Some charge monthly or quarterly ‘platform fees’, and the majority charge transaction fees and credit card fees. This means that if you donate via a third party website, not all of your donation goes to your chosen cause. In some cases this can significantly affect the bottom line of the organisation you have chosen to support.

These websites may work well for large charities, but for us the fees are prohibitive.  We have stopped promoting a lot of these posts.

There are also websites promoting pet rescue that solicit for donations – however, only a portion of the donations actually go to the animals. The rest is used for website costs and staff salaries. These websites are not directly involved in rehoming pets but provide a list of adoption organisations along with general information. The need for these directory-type websites is debatable, as most rescue organisations have their own websites and social media pages which can easily be found with an online search. We believe the limited funds available from fundraisers could be better spent helping rescue organisations directly.

We support transparency in all forms of fundraising. Before voting or donating online, please review the website carefully to check where your information and money are going. How are the donations spent? Are there fees involved? Will you be contacted in the future or will your information be sold/passed on to other organisations?

The direct approach is usually best. If you would like to support Moving Paws Inc with a donation (however big or small), please see our donation page where we happily provide the details so that you can send it directly to us via PayPal or our bank account. That way there are no fees or very limited fees with no commissions – but direct support for our rescued dogs and numerous expenses.

We (and the dogs) are extremely grateful for your support.

Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

Regards, Debbie - Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio

Sunday, 20 May 2018

The other side of rescue


As you would see on our website and Facebook page, Moving Paws Inc has always had a steady stream of homeless dogs coming into our care and going to loving forever homes.

We are a small team and we care deeply about every dog that we rescue. The organisation was started because we are passionate about dog rescue and want to help animals in need.

We are all invested deeply in the welfare of the animals that come to us; no one more so than me.  When a dog is surrendered I become its legal owner - it is my responsibility, its future health and happiness is my responsibility, and this is something I take very seriously.

Most of the time, these dogs have had a very difficult start to life. I am responsible for their future, and it is a huge responsibility. More than anything, I want them to be successfully re-homed with a minimum of stress and live out long and healthy lives in their forever homes. They deserve 110% love going forward. It is up to us to ensure the very best outcomes.

This responsibility weighs heavily.

I love animals so much and their plight takes a huge personal toll on me. I very often take on their problems and their owners’ problems. I have had a strong sense of empathy since a very young age, and I always wanted to help make the world a better place. When I founded Moving Paws, I soon came to realise the emotional toll that this takes.

In rescue, we witness some terrible suffering, and this stays with the majority of us. Dogs may be sick, neglected, and traumatised, but it is extremely rewarding when we know we have made a difference; and this is why we continue to rescue and change lives.  We look at the bigger picture – that of the second chance.

Adoptions are always tinged with sadness as we say goodbye to those we love very much. It doesn’t get any easier, and each dog is a new goodbye. When we approve an adoption, we place a huge amount of trust in the new owners to continue what we started and we pray that this happens.

It is hard to truly explain the heart and soul that is put into caring for and rehabilitating the special needs dogs we take into care.  I have always tried to remain focused on our goal to rescue and rehabilitate without judgement.

We greatly appreciate all of our supporters, and we would like people to understand that adopting a dog from us is more than a transaction. We put everything into their rehabilitation and we say goodbye with very mixed feelings. A lot of work goes into ensuring our dogs are equipped for their new lives. We also work hard to ensure they go to the most suitable homes possible. Not all dogs are suited to all situations, and we carefully consider all applications to ensure the best outcomes.

We are very fortunate that the majority of our adopters stay in contact and remain part of the Moving Paws family; however, there are some that prefer not to. There are no rules, but it makes our job easier when we can see that our dogs are doing well. 

Over the past year, I personally have taken on more than I should have, as the dogs’ lives have always been my number one priority.  This meant that carers, adopters, and lots of people and situations didn’t get the support that I feel is needed by the founder of an organisation. I had spread myself too thin… Something I made a commitment not to do.  I have also experienced some fairly deep bullying and nastiness from members of the public.

Occasionally I used to feel that it may be time to take a step back from outside pressures, but I never did - thinking myself weak for having such thoughts.  My rescue work continues behind the scenes everyday with our sanctuary dogs, foster carer communication, book work, enquiries, vet appointments and running the organisation.  All this doesn’t leave much time to deal with much else.

But the time did come - and has come - that I needed to take a step back for the sake of my own personal well-being.  Moving Paws is my reason, my passion, and it always will be.  The Moving Paws team are dedicated, caring, and love animals and I am very proud of this organisation.  But for now, I will not be personally fostering any more dogs. My commitment at present is to my sanctuary dogs and the MP team.  The pressure of re-homing has weighed deeply on my heart for too long and it needs a break.

We need to put the animals first and ensure that we do everything in our power to help them and this I will always do - and I will be better for it having had a break.

Regards, Debbie
Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

Please consider a donation to Moving Paws Inc if you share our vision that all pets deserve a second chance.

Thank you for reading!
Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Never Give Up

If you’ve been browsing our website or Facebook page, you would have seen that Moving Paws Inc is a dog rescue organisation, specialising in small breeds.

And you might be wondering – what makes a rescue a ‘rescue’?

You may picture us bravely wading into flood waters or across busy roads to scoop up frightened pets. But that’s not really what we mean by ‘rescue’. Thankfully, we don’t have to resort to these dramatic measures very often!

The reality is a little less exciting, but every bit as rewarding.

We rescue dogs that are at risk of being abandoned or put to sleep. As we’ve posted before, there are many situations that can lead to dogs being surrendered. In an ideal world we would love to see pets live out their entire lives with one happy family - but the reality is that many dogs and cats will suddenly find themselves without a home. Moving Paws Inc was created to help deal with this problem, and we deal with it the best we can (despite the financial and emotional cost).

Animal rescue involves taking in surrendered pets, having any necessary veterinary care attended to, and assessing their personality and individual needs. We work hard to get our dogs to optimum health. They are then placed in foster care, followed by a suitable forever home.

We do our best to ensure that the dogs we take in can be successfully rehomed. We are responsible for the
Dino in his furever home 
animals that we rescue, and we take this responsibility very seriously. We put a lot of work in to identifying any special needs and providing care to ensure the best outcomes.

Tragically, some pets are euthanised because they are seen as unadoptable. This may be because rescue groups don’t have the resources to put into training and socialisation. Some animals may be seen as too ‘challenging’ to successfully adopt out.

I was reminded of this recently when we took in an older male dog. His name is Dino. He had lived his whole life with an elderly gentleman; he had not been desexed, nor received any sort of training or socialisation. This was probably not an issue during his previous life, but now that his owner was in a nursing home and unable to look after him, Dino’s behaviour was creating problems.

Naturally, as soon as he was brought in to Moving paws, Dino was taken to the vet for a medical check. Some of his blood test results were abnormal, so we proceeded to an ultrasound to investigate further.

While Dino was at the vet, we got a call from their office asking if we really wanted to proceed with further tests. He had been difficult to handle and they stated he was ‘probably not suitable for rehoming’.

We don’t give up easily though. While little Dino had been somewhat difficult, it was very early days. He didn’t understand what was happening, and was stressed due to the big upheaval in his life and unfamiliar people and surroundings. This is akin to a young child throwing a tantrum in a stressful environment.

Dino clearly needed some time to adapt. As a responsible rescue group, we spend time allowing the dogs to be gradually socialised with other dogs and people. We also call on experienced professionals to help us resolve any underlying behavioural problems. We don’t force the dogs into situations that they can’t handle.

It breaks my heart to think about all the animals that have missed out on a second chance due to issues that may have been resolved with some more time and care. Resources are scarce in the animal rescue world, and all volunteer organisations rely on their supporters to make the rescues possible.

We sincerely understand that not all dogs are suitable for rehoming, and in some rare circumstances the kindest thing to do is to send them to the rainbow bridge.

Dino’s test results were not good. He has several masses in his liver and bladder along with testicular cancer. After receiving Dino’s results it was determined that he would remain a Moving Paws sanctuary doggy.  However, we are very pleased to report that he is adjusting well to his furever foster family, and is already enjoying his new home and a new lease on life.  He will live out his retirement receiving all the love and care he deserves.

Please consider a donation to Moving Paws Inc if you share our vision that all pets deserve a second chance.

Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

Regards, Debbie - Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Dogs and Behaviour Issues

Dog behaviour is a hot topic, and a very important issue. Sadly, we regularly hear news reports and anecdotes of dog attacks. Like all animals, dogs have the potential to be dangerous to humans, and injuries can occur. Even the cutest, fluffiest lap dog can snap under the right (or wrong) conditions.

With some dogs, it’s easy to spot behavioural problems. They may snap or growl with no provocation, or appear timid and nervous.

Other problems may not show up as aggression towards people, but can manifest as destructive behaviour. Dogs may chew furniture or re-arrange the contents of your house when bored or stressed. Excessive barking is another symptom that may indicate a deeper problem.

Perhaps the most challenging problem can be when an otherwise well-behaved dog suddenly acts inappropriately. An unexpected bite can be traumatic for the dog’s family and lead to a great deal of mistrust and distress. Tragically, behavioural problems are a reason commonly given for surrenders and euthanasia.

I recently witnessed an incident that really made me think about these issues. I was at our local vet clinic and there was a large dog in the waiting room with her owner. The dog was off lead and behaved impeccably - until her owner tried to call her into the consultation room. Rosie (not her real name) was at the clinic for her regular injections and appeared to know what was coming.

As Rosie’s owner called her, she stood still. On being called again with a sterner voice, she started to cower and took a few steps towards me, away from her owner. Her owner then shouted and grabbed her collar; Rosie reacted by snapping.

You can imagine the shock this caused. This was all witnessed by a number of people in the clinic.

This incident left me very upset. Rosie had shown all the signs that she was uncomfortable - such as ignoring commands, cowering, and moving towards another person in the waiting room, lip licking and whale eye. It is natural that dogs will attempt to avoid situations that they know will cause pain. This incident could have been avoided if the owner had remained calm and reassured her, instead of becoming terse? Using a leash in all public places is a necessity, in this stressful environment it would also have helped Rosie’s owner maintain more control to avoid the situation escalating.

As humans, we have the luxury of being able to express our emotions – anger, fear, frustration – in a way that others can understand. Unfortunately, inter-species communication can be far trickier. It is unrealistic to expect our pets to behave the way we wish all of the time, and the way we deal with this can make all the difference.

We owe it to our pets to make every effort to understand what they are trying to tell us. Dogs frequently show warning signs, and it’s important to learn how to spot them. It’s essential to understand that your pet will express his or her emotions, and to know how to react appropriately.

Symptoms of stress can include nervousness, growling, panting, and having ‘accidents’ inside. If your pet is showing unusual or inappropriate behaviour, it may be time to take steps to identify and deal with the root cause. While a visit to the vet may be an obvious cause for anxiety, other things may be less clear. Have you recently changed your routine? Are you away from home for long periods? Are there loud noises in your neighbourhood such as aircraft, construction, or fireworks?
It is our responsibility to ensure that our pets are happy and healthy, and their emotional well being is just as important as the physical.

We recommend that you seek professional advice if you are experiencing behavioural problems with your pet. Many issues can be overcome with patience and persistence, but DO NOT put your safety or that of your family at risk. Please do not be embarrassed to reach out to experts.

Please feel free to reach out to us at Moving Paws Inc if you would like to discuss your pet’s behaviour and we can certainly get you in touch with the behaviourists we work with.

Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

Regards, Debbie - Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

What's wrong with Puppy Farms

What’s wrong with puppy farms?

You have probably heard of puppy farms, also known as puppy factories or puppy mills. The RSPCA defines a puppy farm as 'an intensive dog breeding facility that is operated under inadequate conditions that fail to meet the dogs' behavioural, social and/or physiological needs'.

So what exactly does this mean, and what’s wrong with puppy farms?
Puppy farms are large-scale commercial operations that breed and sell dogs for profit. The breeding dogs and their puppies may be kept in overcrowded, unhygienic conditions. The dogs’ health may be neglected because veterinary care costs money and these costs eat into profits. Puppies live in small cages or pens until they are taken away to be sold. The pups often have very little handling and socialisation.

Commercial puppy mills operate to make money, and there is a LOT of money in this type of dog breeding. Puppies may be purebred and sold for hundreds or thousands of dollars, or ‘designer’ crossbreds which command similar prices. Puppy farms minimise costs by breeding on a large scale, and will breed from almost any dog - even those with health problems that may be passed on to the puppies.

Puppies in large facilities are not socialised like they would be if they came from a smaller scale breeder. They may have never been inside a house or met children. This can lead to behavioural problems that take a lot of time and dedication to resolve. Sadly, some pets will end up in pounds as a result.
Large-scale commercial breeders generally don’t let the public see behind closed doors. They may only sell puppies online, and meet in car parks or other public places to hand over the pups. They also supply puppies to pet shops.

Buying from a pet shop means you have no way of knowing where the puppy has come from. You can’t see the parents or ensure that the pup has been socialised. You could be buying a lifetime of expensive vet bills.
Puppy farmers have been known to use a nice-looking house as a ‘shop front’ to give the impression that they are not a commercial breeder. This can make it extremely difficult to tell who is legitimate and who isn’t.

The glamour for fashionable breeds such as Pugs and French Bulldogs mean high profits for puppy mills. These breeds are already known to have health issues, and when combined with unscrupulous breeding, the problems are magnified.

Unfortunately, many puppy farms are operating legally. Animal lovers have been campaigning for several years for stricter welfare laws. These farms continue operating because there is a demand for puppies, and many buyers just don’t know that their beloved pet has come from a factory-like environment. The fact that a breeder is ‘registered’ with the council or a dog association does not mean they are not operating on a commercial scale.
How can we put these puppy factories out of business? There are a few steps that we all can take.

1. Adopt – don’t shop! There are thousands of dogs and cats looking for homes through rescue organisations like Moving Paws Inc, breed-specific rescues, and pounds. By adopting from one of these organisations, you are saving a life.

2. Never buy a puppy or kitten from a pet shop, unless the shop is offering adoptions on behalf of a rescue group.

3. Educate yourself. Useful websites such as, and are great resources for learning more about puppy farms, and provide steps that you can take to make a difference, including emailing your local MP.

4. Be suspicious if the puppy seller wants to meet away from their home, or does not seem interested in the home that you have to offer their pup.

5. A seller who seems to be in a hurry should also raise red flags. This shows that the welfare of their animals is not their main priority. Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

Regards, Debbie
Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Alternatives to Surrender

As pet lovers, we hope that our animals will be with us for their whole lives. All going well, that’s what usually happens. But there may come a time when you are faced with a difficult situation – perhaps the loss of a job or stable living situation, a family breakup, or illness. This can lead to many difficult decisions as you try to work out the best outcome for yourself, your family, and your pets.

What do you do in this situation? You don’t want to surrender your pets unless it’s absolutely the last resort. Sometimes, it’s the only option – see our previous blog post on surrendering animals. But there are steps you can take to ensure that your furry friends can stay with you, and it’s a great idea to think about these before anything happens.

Our main tip - plan ahead! We constantly see adverts telling us to plan for the future. We are urged to consider car and house insurance, life insurance, funeral insurance, and income protection insurance. We write wills to ensure that our families are taken care of. We appoint guardians for our children so that they will be looked after if the worst happens.

But some events can be more difficult to plan for. What would happen if your family broke down and you had to find somewhere else to live at short notice, with your pets in tow? It really can happen to anyone at any time, no matter how unlikely it may seem right now. Unfortunately, this is not something we can take out insurance for!

At Moving Paws Inc we recommend that you speak to family and friends to see who would be willing to step up and care for your animals in an emergency. Most of us know some fellow animal lovers who may be able to help short or long term. It’s a great idea to discuss this possibility with anyone who may be willing to help. Social media can be a great platform to reach out to like-minded friends.

Family breakdowns can be very problematic for pet owners. The stress of trying to find accommodation at short notice is hard enough, and pet-friendly rentals are uncommon in Australia. This situation will also put a stress on finances – and this can force some difficult decisions.
What would happen if you became unwell or were admitted to hospital? You may need someone to feed your pets for a day or two, or to provide full time care for weeks or months. This means that a trusted person will need to know who they can contact to get to your pets. It is helpful if they also know what your pets eat and when, along with any special needs.

Moving Paws Inc has a holiday care program that can assist with short term care at a reasonable cost (and the proceeds go towards the care of our rescue pets). Our network of carers can host your dogs in a loving home environment if you know you will be spending time in hospital. More information is available on our website.

Sometimes, when pet owners pass away, their families are unable or unwilling to look after the animals left behind. In our experience, this is a very
common reason for pets to be surrendered to pounds and rescue groups. Please don’t assume that someone will take on your pets – again, it’s a great idea to discuss this with your family and have an emergency carer lined up just in case. In the event that your family or friends are unable to care for your pets, please ask them to contact Moving Paws Inc for advice and rehoming options. You can even include our details in your will to ensure that your furry friends are taken care of.

Some organisations encourage pet owners to carry a card in their wallets with details of any pets at home, and contact information for someone who can take care of them. This is a great idea. There is no guarantee that this card will be found or followed, but it may help to ensure your animals are looked after.

Behavioural issues are another common cause for surrenders. This can be difficult to handle, especially if your dog’s behaviour changes and he or she picks up bad habits or becomes stressed. Help is available in many forms – veterinarians can offer guidance, and there are numerous books and websites available with dog training tips. If the behaviour is very challenging, a professional trainer may be able to restore the balance.

Moving Paws Inc is a responsible pet rescue organisation, and we ask potential adopters to answer questions to confirm what arrangements they have made for the care of their pets if their circumstances change. Some responders answer this question with a response that “nothing will happen”, and this shows that they do not have any backup plan in place. We believe that this is a vitally important question to ask adopters, for all the reasons outlined above. If you are adopting a dog from us (or anyone else), please think about how you would answer.

We encourage you to discuss these contingencies with your loved ones. It makes so much sense to have a back-up plan for your pets. Perhaps you have a close friend or relative who is a cat or dog lover (or both!), who may be willing to take over care if you are unable to.

Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

Regards, Debbie - Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Social Media

Social media can be a wonderful thing. It is fantastic as a platform to promote pet adoptions, rescue organisations, and lost and found animals. Social networks such as Facebook and Instagram bring together many netizens with common interests, and many thousands of rescue pets have found new homes through pet rescue pages.

Many not-for-profit organisations, such as Moving Paws Inc, have embraced this relatively new media format to do a lot of good for animals. Our Facebook page has helped us to promote adoptions and find homes for many needy dogs. Where else could we advertise an unlimited number of adoptable pets at no cost? This means that we can use our limited financial resources for the good of the dogs. We also use social media to get the word out that we can save lives by taking on pets that have nowhere else to go.

Rescue organisations also use social media as an important educational tool. We can share information about pet health, diet, and behavioural issues, and how to improve these. Vast amounts of information can be found in seconds, which is a big advantage over traditional media such as books and magazines. We hope that we have helped pet owners to keep their dogs happy and healthy.

But social media can have a negative side. We love the fact that many users are passionate about animal welfare; but well-meaning supporters sometimes post detrimental comments without a full understanding of the situation. Whether it’s someone asking for takers to rehome a pet, or adopters reaching the conclusion that things aren’t working out and returning a pet to us – these scenarios can attract some negative responses. It’s important to remember that there are often many complex reasons behind this decision. For more on this topic, see our previous blog on surrendering pets

It’s often not possible for us to go into the full reasons behind a particular situation, and we ask our supporters to understand this.

We realise that not every home is suitable for every pet. This is why we (and other responsible organisations) offer a trial period, during which the dog can be returned. It’s important to remember that this is 100% for the benefit of the dog. We do offer full support to all of our adopters during and after the trial period to ensure that they are set up for success wherever possible. With love and dedication (and work), many problems can be overcome. But, occasionally - despite everyone’s best efforts - it would be detrimental for the dog to remain in an unsuitable home and he or she is far better off returning to foster care so that a more appropriate home can be found. When this happens, the rescue agency has the benefit of more information about the pet’s behaviour and individual needs that will help ensure that the perfect home can be found.

It is far preferable for a pet to be returned to the same rescue organisation than it is for him or her to end up at a pound, or having to start from scratch with a different rescue group. We ask our online supporters to understand this and avoid making negative statements about adopters or surrendering owners. The last thing that we want is to put people off approaching us to either adopt or surrender a pet. We prefer to operate in a judgement-free environment where the pets’ wellbeing is the primary focus.

We really do appreciate all of our online friends - and with your help, we can make the world a better place for animals. We at Moving Paws are ordinary people doing our best to make the world a better place, and so are all of our adopters. Healthy discussion is welcome – ill-informed criticism is not. It can hurt, and it forces us to spend more of our limited time moderating comments instead of helping dogs.

People who ‘adopt – don’t shop’ are always helping animals, even if some adoptions don’t work out the first time. Returning a dog during the trial period may be the only mature solution, and the best outcome for the dog – and that is what’s important! Judgemental comments are usually based on limited information. Please understand that one day, you may find yourself in a difficult unforeseen situation, and ask how you would feel if you read these comments made about you?

We love our supporters, and we know that you share our love and dedication for the dogs we rehome. But please – think before you comment!

Thank you for reading! Please share our blog, browse our website, and check out Moving Paws Inc on Facebook and Instagram.

Regards, Debbie - Founder - Moving Paws Inc.

This blog post sponsored by Bluehound Content Studio