Olympian, television personality and animal rescue advocate Giaan Rooney is heading up a national campaign encouraging Australians to adopt not shop for pets.
On Saturday February 15, PETstock stores across the country will play host to animal rescue organisations as part of its sixth annual National Pet Adoption Day, an initiative of PETstock's charity PETstock Assist with support from event partner PetRescue.
The past five Adoption Days have found homes for nearly 3,000 animals across Australia, and this year PETstock Assist is aiming to find forever homes for another 1,000 rescue pets.
Giaan, who grew up raising rescues, is urging Australians to adopt different in 2020; to adopt a new way of thinking when it comes to animal adoption and consider a pet they haven't before.
"It was love at first sight with my most recent rescue, Lester," she says.
"Despite being one leg short, Lester was the perfect dog: obedient, easy to train, loving and grateful. He gave me so much and wanted so little in return. His passing last year still makes me tear up today.
"Our family will certainly be rescuing again when we're ready for a new pet and I encourage all would-be owners looking for a pet to consider adoption."
PETstock Assist Charity and Events Coordinator, Jess Guilfoyle, says 'Adopt Different' is a call to would-be owners to think differently about adopting a pet.
"We want people to be open to different types of animals and breeds, to make considered and sustainable choices, and to give rescue pets a chance at a better life," she says.
"Contrary to popular belief many animals are surrendered to rescue groups through no fault of their own. Like little Lester, who was surrendered after suffering a broken leg requiring medical attention and amputation.
"We're encouraging all animal-lovers to attend Adoption Day on February 15, to meet pets in need, educate themselves on adoption and reconsider any biases they may have towards rescue animals.
"All pets deserve a safe and loving forever home and through initiatives like this we hope to break the cycle of pet homelessness."
PetRescue Co-Founder, Vickie Davy, has seen firsthand the incredible bonds that form when new owners open their mind and adopt different.
"A lot of people start their search for a new pet with a certain type, breed, or age in mind. However, your perfect match might not be the pet you think," she says.
"If you have your hands full with kids, an older, more settled dog or cat may be a far better fit than a young, energetic puppy. Or, if it's your child's first pet, a smaller animal such as a guinea pig or reptile may be a better option and a great introduction to the responsibility of pet ownership."
Rescue pets receive extensive training and behavioural assessments before being rehomed, allowing potential owners to make an informed decision on the right pet for their lifestyle.
For more information on Adoption Day please visit petstock.com.au or to begin the search for your new family member, please visit petrescue.com.au