Just because an animal doesn’t have a home doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve some affection at Christmas.
That’s the motivation behind this Anna Bay couple’s project, Claus for Paws Run, which will deliver toys, bedding and food to shelters this month.
“It upsets us to think of the animals staying in the shelters over Christmas,” Rachael Roberts said.
“We’ve taken a few bags to the RSPCA before but we wanted to do more. We have everything we need so [Neville McDermott and I] decided rather than give each other Christmas presents, we would do this.”
The couple enjoys the company of animals so much they travel around Australia house sitting and caring for people’s pets while the owners go on holiday.
On one of these stints they cared for 40-plus kangaroos at a wildlife sanctuary at Narrandera in southern NSW. Miss Roberts said having been a vet assistant, she enjoyed nursing the joeys.
“We’re always stopping to check on kangaroos that have been hit by cars to make sure there are no joeys in the pouch,” Mr McDermott said.
“It takes us hours to get wherever we are going.”
The couple is also accepting donations for hamper items for some senior citizens around Port Stephens.
“We’re probably taking on too much but we’ve decided to make up some hampers for the nursing homes,” Mr McDermott said.
Christmas, after all, was about “the joy of giving”.
“We like doing things for people, like buying little old ladies flowers at the shops,” Mr McDermott said.
“They’re usually so surprised they’ll start crying saying, ‘what’s this for’?”
The collection will continue until December 18. That’s when they’re hopefully their nearby hardware store will loan them a trailer with which to deliver items to the RSPCA Hunter Shelter and, if there are items left over, Hunter Animal Rescue and wildlife rescuers. Items donated so far have extended to blankets and water bowls.
Any items donated for residents at the nursing homes will be delivered on or near to Christmas Day.
People who wish to support Claus for Paws Run can contact Rachael Roberts on 0431 120 959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.