Paws Crossed Animal Rescue

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With a passion for animals in need, Vet Nurse Karla Johnston and Medical Receptionist Nicole Hayes set up Paws Crossed Animal Rescue Inc three years ago and continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes to help rescue and re-home unwanted and neglected pets and farm animals. Here’s their story …

Hi Nicole and Karla.  Can you tell our readers about the history and story behind Paws Crossed Animal Rescue?

Four years ago, we were given the opportunity to work with another local rescue doing pound duties, adoptions and administration work. Whilst working in these roles, we saw directly the issues associated with both neglected and impounded animals in our community, as well as the growing problems associated with people not desexing and vaccinating their animals.  

So, as the need for more local rescues grew, we – together with the support of family, friends and a dedicated group of animal carers – decided to take the next step in helping solve the problem and, thus, Paws Crossed Animal Rescue Inc (PCAR) was born.

For the past three years, PCAR has re-homed in excess of 300 animals annually, of which approximately 50% came from our local pounds, with the remainder coming from direct owner or vet surrenders and animals born whilst in care.

In the last 12 months PCAR has re-homed a variety of companion animals, such as dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. PCAR has also been responsible for re-homing a variety of barnyard animals, such as goats, chickens, ducks and a miniature piglet. 

What do you love most about the animal rescue work you do?

Every animal has its own personality, and it’s great getting to know each of them as they come through the rescue and go through the assessment and adoption process. The satisfaction of seeing animals re-homed and adopted to people who will genuinely love and treasure the animals is almost indescribable; we often shed happy tears at adoptions. It’s fantastic seeing animals move on to a better life, especially when in some cases they have endured terrible neglect and hardship.

What’s the typical scenario that leads to PCAR becoming involved? 

We are typically contacted by the MidCoast Council Pound Rangers or by the public via our Facebook page (Paws Crossed Animal Rescue Inc) about animals that require re-homing. Over the years, we have also assisted dogs that people just dump at the pound because they cannot afford the costs of expensive surgery following broken bones or other treatments, and a lot where they have simply outgrown the “puppy” stage and become unwanted. 

The standard procedure for any animal we take into care, regardless of where it came from, is a temperament test to determine the most suitable home type for each individual animal. The animal is then placed into care with one of our fantastic local carers, being rehabilitated and desensitised within a new caring home environment, whilst they wait for their forever families. 

 Whilst in our care, we ensure the animal is vet checked, desexed, microchipped, vaccinated, wormed and flea treated, along with any other dental work, grooming or other veterinary procedures that may be required.

Once they have settled, have had all necessary vet work completed and we feel they are ready for adoption, animals are posted on our Facebook page and/or on 

We also place cats within display pens at the Manning Veterinary Hospital in Taree.

When an animal is lucky enough to find their perfect families and it’s time to be adopted/re-homed, we charge an adoption fee, which is to cover the cost of vet work for the animal being adopted. 

So, how is PCAR is funded?

We receive no government grants, as we are not a registered charity. We are funded directly through the adoption fees we charge and from the support of the local community through fundraising events at local pet stores.

The rescue survives on a shoestring budget and through the generous support of the various local veterinary clinics, who heavily discount our veterinary costs, which still total over $40,000 annually.  

How can FOCUS readers donate to PCAR, and find out more about you?

Donations can be made at both Taree Veterinary Hospital and Manning Veterinary Hospital in Taree, or people can contact us directly through our Facebook page (Paws Crossed Animal Rescue Inc), and we can provide the Rescue’s bank account details for donations. We also have food/pet supply drop of points located around Taree. 

Manning Veterinary Hospital, Happy Rompers Daycare Centre and Taree Pet Barn regularly collect donations of food, bedding, toys and other pet supplies for us to use for the animals in care. 

Any key messages you’d like to share with our readers about animal welfare?

Know the importance of desexing your animals. Reach out to local rescues such as Animal Welfare League Manning and Great Lakes branch or the Taree RSPCA, who can offer subsidised desexing vouchers for concession card holders. 

Vaccinate your animals for Parvo Virus. This is a horrendously painful and contagious virus that can kill unvaccinated dogs and that can live undetected in the environment for years. 

Do your research before getting a pet. Animals are a lifetime commitment and should be treated as family, not discarded or abused when things get hard because the time wasn’t spent to socialise or train the animal sufficiently, or they simply outgrow the “cute” stage/got bigger then expected. 

We highly recommend On The Ball dog training for socialisation and training. They offer both group classes and private training and have personally helped us out with multiple dogs who have had difficult behaviours and lack of socialisation. 

Thanks Karla and Nicole.

Interview: Ingrid Bayer.

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