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Heartwarming tales of pets that have been lost, dumped or neglected and how they find new homes  

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Hundreds of Australians pets end up in animal pounds every week and the lucky ones can wait months before willing new owners are found to take them into their lives. 

Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has been taking care of lost, abandoned and neglected pets for more than 70 years and works hard to place these animals in suitable homes.

Little fox terrier-cross Pirate was taken to the shelter when he was picked up as a stray with no identification and no way to reunite him with his owner. 

Pirate’s first new foster family did not work out. An elderly couple who could not understand his fear and anxiety punished him for what they called ‘unwanted behaviour’. 

But his next family didn’t care about Pirate’s occasional naughtiness and welcomed him into their home. They renamed their fresh charge Squid and he now ‘works’ in their brewery. He is even the star of his own Instagram account. 

Hundreds of Australians pets end up in pounds and shelters every week and the lucky ones can wait months before willing new owners are found to take them into their lives. Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has been taking care of lost, abandoned and neglected pets for 70 years and works to place these animals in new homes. Pictured is Saturn the kelpie-cross

Hundreds of Australians pets end up in pounds and shelters every week and the lucky ones can wait months before willing new owners are found to take them into their lives. Sydney Dogs and Cats Home has been taking care of lost, abandoned and neglected pets for 70 years and works to place these animals in new homes. Pictured is Saturn the kelpie-cross

Saturn was brought to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home limping in pain, with no collar and no micro-chip. An examination revealed Saturn had a ruptured partial cruciate ligament which needed a splint to stabilise the damaged joint and plenty of rest until it healed. Saturn spent four months in the home before the right family (pictured) appeared and took her home

Saturn was brought to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home limping in pain, with no collar and no micro-chip. An examination revealed Saturn had a ruptured partial cruciate ligament which needed a splint to stabilise the damaged joint and plenty of rest until it healed. Saturn spent four months in the home before the right family (pictured) appeared and took her home 

Fonzy the Maltese-Shih tzu (pictured) had his own sorry tale which could have broken his owners' hearts. Fonzy's family had been on an overseas holiday and left their dog in a friend's care. When Fonzy wandered off the friend did not tell the family and he was picked up by a council ranger. Thankfully the family learnt of Fonzy's fate and were eventually reunited with him

Fonzy the Maltese-Shih tzu (pictured) had his own sorry tale which could have broken his owners’ hearts. Fonzy’s family had been on an overseas holiday and left their dog in a friend’s care. When Fonzy wandered off the friend did not tell the family and he was picked up by a council ranger. Thankfully the family learnt of Fonzy’s fate and were eventually reunited with him

Saturn the kelpie-cross was brought to Sydney Dogs and Cats Home limping in pain, with no collar and no micro-chip. 

An examination revealed Saturn had a ruptured partial cruciate ligament which needed a splint to stabilise the damaged joint and plenty of rest until it healed. 

Saturn spent four months in the home before her new family appeared. She now lives in a happy household with three besotted boys who give her as many cuddles as she needs.   

Fonzy the Maltese-Shih tzu had his own sorry tale which could have broken his owners’ hearts. Fonzy’s family had been on an overseas holiday and left their dog in a friend’s care. 

When Fonzy wandered off the friend did not tell the family and he was picked up by a council ranger. Thankfully the family learnt of Fonzy’s fate and were eventually reunited with him. 

What happened to Pirate/Squid, Saturn and Fonzy are among 40 tales of beloved pets who have been lost and then found thanks to the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home.

Their stories are collected in a book called Lost But Found featuring before and after pictures from award-winning pet photographer Peter Sharp along with touching tributes from their new owners.

All royalties from the sale of the book go to the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home, the city’s only charity pound. It opened its doors in 1946 and now takes in 3,000 pets every year.  

Bluey (pictured) was brought into the home as a stray. Although he was micro-chipped, the details were not up-to-date, so it took some extra sleuthing to find his owner. Unfortunately, the owner made the heartbreaking decision to give Bluey up due to financial hardship, even with the offer of assistance of care and food from the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home

Bluey (pictured) was brought into the home as a stray. Although he was micro-chipped, the details were not up-to-date, so it took some extra sleuthing to find his owner. Unfortunately, the owner made the heartbreaking decision to give Bluey up due to financial hardship, even with the offer of assistance of care and food from the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home

The following is an edited extract of Lost But Found by Peter Sharp, Published by Macmillan Australia:

LOST 

SQUID: Fox terrier-cross, one year old

A little positive reinforcement can go a long way 

A cute little Fox Terrier-cross, it was estimated that Pirate, as he was known then, was about a year old. He had been picked up as a stray and with no form of identification, the Home were unable to reunite this fellow with his owner. He had come in with a sore paw, and was put on anti-inflammatory medication to treat his injury and provide pain relief. Later, X-rays revealed that Pirate had broken a toe, which was very painful for him, and would take time to heal.

Pirate was a bit anxious with all the noise and activity from the other dogs in the shelter. He was also timid, so somewhere quiet was considered to suit him better. The Home organised for him to go into foster care with a retired couple, where there were no kids or other animals. Much to the surprise of the Home, the couple brought him back the next day, saying that he was exhibiting aggressive behaviour – growling, lunging and barking.

A cute little Fox Terrier-cross, it was estimated that Pirate (pictured), as he was known then, was about a year old. He had been picked up as a stray and with no form of identification, so the home was unable to reunite this fellow with his owner

A cute little Fox Terrier-cross, it was estimated that Pirate (pictured), as he was known then, was about a year old. He had been picked up as a stray and with no form of identification, so the home was unable to reunite this fellow with his owner

Pirate was a bit anxious with all the activity from the other dogs in the shelter. He was also timid, so somewhere quiet was considered to suit him. Pirate was first placed with a retired couple but that did not work out. He is now called Squid and pictured with his new owner

Pirate had come in with a sore paw, and was put on anti-inflammatory medication to treat his injury and provide pain relief. Later, X-rays revealed that Pirate had broken a toe, which was very painful for him, and would take time to heal

Pirate was a bit anxious with all the noise and activity from the other dogs in the shelter. He was also timid, so somewhere quiet was considered to suit him better. He had come in with a sore paw and was put on anti-inflammatory medication to treat his injury and provide pain relief. X-rays revealed that Pirate had broken a toe (right). He is pictured left with his new owner

The team had not observed any signs of aggressive behaviour while Pirate was in the shelter and it seemed highly out of character. After a lengthy chat, the Home learned that the couple had been punishing Pirate for unwanted behaviour. What the couple perceived as aggressive behaviour was actually a fear-based response to punishment. This is why the Home recommend positive reinforcement for all animals. An owner should reward the behaviour they like and ignore the behaviour they don’t like. Reward can be pats, praise, toys, or treats, whatever your dog enjoys and likes.

Thankfully, Pirate was back in the Home for only a short time before his person walked through the doors.

Pirate was renamed Squid by his new owners. 'We first saw Squid on the home's website, and decided we needed to visit him. When he snuggled our hands through the gate bars, we knew we'd found our pet and he'd found his people. We no longer get to sleep in and our days off revolve around what we're going to do with Squid! And we love every second of it'

Pirate was renamed Squid by his new owners. ‘We first saw Squid on the home’s website, and decided we needed to visit him. When he snuggled our hands through the gate bars, we knew we’d found our pet and he’d found his people. We no longer get to sleep in and our days off revolve around what we’re going to do with Squid! And we love every second of it’

FOUND 

We first saw Squid on the Home’s website, and decided we needed to visit him. When he snuggled our hands through the gate bars, we knew we’d found our pet and he’d found his people.

Things have changed a bit since Squid came into our lives. We no longer get to sleep in and our days off revolve around what we’re going to do with Squid! And we love every second of it.

Squid loves to go on adventures, from playing on the beach to bushwalking (his Instagram account is @squidtheadventuredog). He can be pretty naughty sometimes, like the time when he squeezed out of his harness in the bushes trying to find rats! We’re not quite sure how he managed that. Squid now works with us in the brewery – the dream job!

– Tero

Squid loves to go on adventures, from playing on the beach to bushwalking (his Instagram is @squidtheadventuredog). He can still  be pretty naughty, like the time when he squeezed out of his harness in the bushes trying to find rats

Squid loves to go on adventures, from playing on the beach to bushwalking (his Instagram is @squidtheadventuredog). He can still  be pretty naughty, like the time when he squeezed out of his harness in the bushes trying to find rats 

LOST 

SATURN: Kelpie-cross 18 months old 

This high-energy pub was waiting for a family who could keep up 

Hit by a car, Saturn was picked up by a ranger and brought into the Home. She wasn’t microchipped nor was she wearing a collar with tags to identify her or her owner.

Saturn was limping on her right hind leg and the team initially thought it was slight bruising and with rest, she’d make a full recovery. However, an X-ray of the leg and a physical examination revealed that Saturn had a ruptured partial cruciate ligament. The team put her leg in a splint to stabilise the joint and gave her a course of pain relief. She was also put on ‘rest protocol’ and sent to a foster home where she could rest and recover. Over time, Saturn’s knee stabilised and she was ready to find her forever home.

This delightful little pocket rocket spent almost four months in the Home’s care before meeting her forever family.

Hit by a car, Saturn was picked up by a ranger and brought to the home. She wasn't micro-chipped and was not wearing a collar to identify her or her owner. Saturn was limping on her right hind leg and the team initially thought it was slight bruising and with rest, she'd make a full recovery. An X-ray of the leg revealed that Saturn had a ruptured partial cruciate ligament

Hit by a car, Saturn was picked up by a ranger and brought to the home. She wasn’t micro-chipped and was not wearing a collar to identify her or her owner. Saturn was limping on her right hind leg and the team initially thought it was slight bruising and with rest, she’d make a full recovery. An X-ray of the leg revealed that Saturn had a ruptured partial cruciate ligament

FOUND 

We’d been looking for a dog to complete our family for quite a while. We saw Saturn on the Home’s website and decided to meet her that weekend. When she came out to meet us, she was so excited and gave our three  boys the biggest cuddles! After a walk around the block together, we knew she was our perfect match. She came home with us there and then. Our boys couldn’t believe their luck.

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Saturn has given our boys a reason to run home from school each day. She loves going for walks each morning and then curls up at our feet. She’s very keen to learn tricks, race around the backyard and loves giving huge cuddles. She knows she’s loved and she loves us in return. She provides love, laughs, company, cuddles and lots of entertainment.

Saturn's new owner says: 'We'd been looking for a dog to complete our family for quite a while. We saw Saturn on the home's website and decided to meet her that weekend. When she came out to meet us, she was so excited and gave our three boys the biggest cuddles! After a walk around the block together, we knew she was our perfect match'

Saturn’s new owner says: ‘We’d been looking for a dog to complete our family for quite a while. We saw Saturn on the home’s website and decided to meet her that weekend. When she came out to meet us, she was so excited and gave our three boys the biggest cuddles! After a walk around the block together, we knew she was our perfect match’

She does have one slightly annoying habit. Chewing. Lots of it. Everything and anything! Clothes, doormats, outdoor furniture, bike pedals, hose nozzles… anything she can get her cheeky paws on! Saturn also has a crazy sleeping position when she is zonked out in her bed at night. She’s on her back, belly up and snores contentedly. She must rest well, because she’s always up early to wake us up with kisses on the face.

We are very lucky to have adopted Saturn. She is an amazing, gentle and smart dog who bring us so much joy and we know she feels lucky too.

– Jo

Saturn sill has one slightly annoying habit: chewing and lots of it. Her owners say Saturn chews everything and anything. 'Clothes, doormats, outdoor furniture, bike pedals, hose nozzles... anything she can get her cheeky paws on! Saturn also has a crazy sleeping position when she is zonked out in her bed at night. She's on her back, belly up and snores contentedly'

Saturn sill has one slightly annoying habit: chewing and lots of it. Her owners say Saturn chews everything and anything. ‘Clothes, doormats, outdoor furniture, bike pedals, hose nozzles… anything she can get her cheeky paws on! Saturn also has a crazy sleeping position when she is zonked out in her bed at night. She’s on her back, belly up and snores contentedly’

LOST 

BLUEY: Cattle dog 15 years old

Age is just a number, as proven by this handsome older gentleman 

Bluey was brought into the Home as a stray. Although he was microchipped, the details were not up-to-date, so it took some extra sleuthing to find his owner. Unfortunately, the owner made the heartbreaking decision to give Bluey up due to financial hardship, even with the offer of assistance of care and food from the Home.

The team set about finding Bluey a loving home where he could enjoy his twilight years. Given his advanced age and arthritic condition, they were concerned it might take some time to find that one in a million person who would appreciate this special dog.

Although the entire team had fallen hard for this dear old soul, they knew it was best for Bluey to be placed into foster care.

Bluey (pictured) came to the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home as a stray when he was about 15 years old. The team set about finding Bluey a loving home where he could enjoy his twilight years. Given his advanced age and arthritic condition, they were concerned it might take some time to find that one in a million person who would appreciate this special dog

Bluey (pictured) came to the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home as a stray when he was about 15 years old. The team set about finding Bluey a loving home where he could enjoy his twilight years. Given his advanced age and arthritic condition, they were concerned it might take some time to find that one in a million person who would appreciate this special dog

Luckily, Amy and Mish were ready to provide Bluey with a temporary home. With their full-time work schedules, they didn’t feel they could adopt, but as Amy worked week on/week off, they registered as foster carers to give dogs a break from the Home. They’d previously fostered a high-energy young dog but realised their lifestyle would be better suited to an older, less active dog, so Amy and Mish took Bluey into foster care. 

Less than a week later, Mish and Amy were enchanted with Bluey and the feeling was mutual. They realised they could give Bluey the home, comfort and support he needed in his twilight years, and they made the decision to adopt him.

Amy and Mish were ready to provide Bluey with a temporary home. With their full-time work schedules, they didn't feel they could adopt, but as Amy worked week on/week off, they registered as foster carers to give dogs a break from the home. They realised their lifestyle would be better suited to an older, less active dog, so Amy and Mish took Bluey into foster care

Amy and Mish were ready to provide Bluey with a temporary home. With their full-time work schedules, they didn’t feel they could adopt, but as Amy worked week on/week off, they registered as foster carers to give dogs a break from the home. They realised their lifestyle would be better suited to an older, less active dog, so Amy and Mish took Bluey into foster care

FOUND

We’re proud to be a ‘failed’ foster family. When we picked Bluey up, we were mindful of his arthritis, so after a slow, steady stroll to our car, we were prepared to help this old guy get up. Then he just leapt in! He made himself very comfortable in the front passenger seat. Bluey knew he was home, and soon, we did too.

Bluey is sweet and affectionate but can be a little melodramatic. Whenever he’s done putting up with all our young-person nonsense, he does a very dramatic flop down to sleep. The first time it happened, we thought he’d hurt himself but now we know he’s just bored with us and ready for bed. He’ll be lying there watching us and then… flop!

Bluey's owner Amy says: 'Bluey is very popular in our neighbourhood, and people will often shout, "Hi Bluey" as they walk past our house. We can't even catch a glimpse of these people, but they all seem to know him! Everyone who meets him stops to say hi, so we've made lots of new friends through him too. He's very social and his mobility has improved a lot'

Bluey’s owner Amy says: ‘Bluey is very popular in our neighbourhood, and people will often shout, “Hi Bluey” as they walk past our house. We can’t even catch a glimpse of these people, but they all seem to know him! Everyone who meets him stops to say hi, so we’ve made lots of new friends through him too. He’s very social and his mobility has improved a lot’

Bluey is very popular in our neighbourhood, and people will often shout, ‘Hi Bluey’ as they walk past our house. We can’t even catch a glimpse of these people, but they all seem to know him! Everyone who meets him stops to say hi, so we’ve made lots of new friends through him too. He’s very social and his mobility has improved a lot. He’s gone from only taking very short 5–10-minute walks to playing and running around at the beach for 1–2 hours.

We both hurry home because we know we have our little wombat waiting to greet us. His big goofy grin and his helicopter tail are too good to miss.

– Amy

Sadly for everyone who loved Bluey, he has now passed away. His family were home and were able to give him one last cuddle. His short time with his final family was the happiest time of their lives. 

Sadly for everyone who loved Bluey, he has since died. His family were home and were able to give him one last cuddle

Sadly for everyone who loved Bluey, he has since died. His family were home and were able to give him one last cuddle 

LOST 

FONZY: Maltese-Shih tzu eight years old

Imagine coming back from holiday to find that your beloved family pet has gone missing 

Fonzy the eight-year-old Maltese-Shih tzu cross was left in the care of a friend when her owners went on a long holiday

Fonzy the eight-year-old Maltese-Shih tzu cross was left in the care of a friend when her owners went on a long holiday

There are messages on your phone from the local shelter and a notice in your letterbox explaining that your pet is in their care and if you don’t reclaim your pet within two weeks, it will become available for adoption. You call the shelter immediately but it is too late! Your pet, who had been in their care for twenty days, has been re-homed. If another 24 hours had passed, this would have been the reality faced by Fonzy’s family.

They had been on the dream overseas holiday of a lifetime but returned to find a nightmare: their precious pooch was missing. Fonzy had been entrusted into the care of a family friend, but somehow ended up wandering the streets. He was picked up by a council ranger, who brought him to the Home when he was unable to reach Fonzy’s owner. The pet-minder who lost Fonzy didn’t tell the family he’d gone missing and didn’t know how to find Fonzy.

Thankfully, Fonzy’s family contacted the Home as soon as they received the notifications when they’d arrived back in Australia. Fonzy has now been reunited with his family.

Fonzy's family contacted the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home when they returned from an overseas holiday and realised their beloved pet was gone. Fonzy has now been reunited with his family but he could easily have ended up in a new home

Fonzy’s family contacted the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home when they returned from an overseas holiday and realised their beloved pet was gone. Fonzy has now been reunited with his family but he could easily have ended up in a new home

FOUND 

Fonzy has brought so much happiness to our family and has helped make our house a home.

Each member in our family shows Fonzy compassion no matter what mood they may be in. He is adorable and so lovable. The greeting we receive from him when we arrive home, no matter what time of the day, is absolutely priceless.

Fonzy seems to love us all equally but knows who will give him extra treats when they shouldn’t, who gives more cuddles and who will play with him no matter what they are doing.

– Athena

Lost But Found by Peter Sharp, Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $24.99, Photography by Peter Sharp, is available here 

Lost But Found by Peter Sharp, Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $24.99, Photography by Peter Sharp, is available now

Lost But Found by Peter Sharp, Published by Macmillan Australia, RRP $24.99, Photography by Peter Sharp, is available now

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