Frequently Asked Questions

We have listed below for you some of the most frequently asked questions - along with answers - in connection with our dogs, cats, horses and associated issues.

If you have a question that is not answered here please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.

I have seen a DCH animal advertised that I would like to find out more about. What is the next step?

If you think an animal may be suitable for your family and lifestyle then please contact the coordinator listed in the animal's profile. The coordinator will discuss the animal with you and then pass on the animal's foster carer details to you should it appear to be a suitable match. The foster carer can arrange a time for you to meet the animal in its current home environment and discuss its needs such as feeding, grooming, exercise etc. with you. At the meeting, If both you and the foster carer are satisfied a happy 'forever home' can be provided for the animal, the adoption process can then take place. The adoption involves change of ownership paperwork being completed and an adoption fee being paid. Then the animal can go home with you on a two week trial period. Please note that for horse adoptions you will be required to complete our horse questionnaire upon your initial inquiry to our coordinator.

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What is the trial period?

When an animal is adopted into your family, we include a two week trial period as part of the adoption process. We do this to ensure that there is a suitable match between family and new pet. Sometimes you just won't know how your existing pets will react to the newcomer, or how the pet will integrate into your home. We don't want you or the pet to be unhappy and want to make sure we do what is right for the animal. So for this two weeks we encourage you to talk to us if things aren't working out and allow you the two week trial to get a full refund on the adoption fee if you decide to return the pet (all paperwork is also required to be returned). Please note that we take back our foster animals even after this trial period if needed, but a refund isn't offered after this time. Sometimes we have special needs animals whose trial period will be longer than two weeks.

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Where do the foster animals come from?

Most of our foster animals come from Sydney council pounds where they have been abandoned and have run out of options. We pick up on the day they would otherwise be euthanised. Being strays, that are often not microchipped, we don't know what breed or cross breed they are and the pound staff, our vets and our rescue team do our best to identify what breeds and age they are.

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What do you get for the adoption fee charged?

All of our dogs and cats are vet checked, microchipped, vaccinated, desexed, flea and intestinal worm treated and come with four weeks free pet insurance. You are getting all this for a highly reduced rate thanks to the generosity of our partner vet clinics who provide us discounted vet work.

Dogs over the age of six months are heart worm tested and treated. Our foster animals live in normal home environments so we know a lot about their temperaments and requirements. This helps our foster carers tell you more about them, and helps us ensure you are adopting the right pet for your family and lifestyle.

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Why are some animals more expensive to adopt than others?

In order to keep saving pets from death row we have to recoup our veterinary costs. For this reason we have adoption fees.

It is impractical of us and unfair to the animal to set the adoption fee at the true costs of the vet work. Otherwise we could have one pet for $200 and it's litter-mate for $2,000. So we have set adoption fees that try to cover those basic vet services all our animals enjoy but that also reflect the market and what is reasonable for people to pay to bring a new family member into their lives. For this reason kittens and puppies are usually dearer than our adult pets and our senior rescues are discounted.

Unfortunately we still have vet fees in excess of adoption fees and we rely on a dedicated group of volunteers who are constantly fundraising as well as generous donations from the public to continue to save more animals that need our rescue group to survive.

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I want to meet one of the foster animals, when/where am I able to meet them?

As we don't have a shelter and our entire organisation is run by volunteers who care for the fosters in their own homes, you will need to arrange a time with the carer that suits both you and them.

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Can I bring my current dog/s to meet meet a foster dog?

We encourage you to do this as sometimes dogs dislike each other on sight so we know that it won't work out. However, on most occasions the dogs get on well.  Of course, we have a two week trial period as a backup in case it doesn't work out when they get home.

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Can I bring my current cat/s to meet meet a foster cat?

Unfortunately we don't allow you to bring your current cat. Cats are quite different from dogs and will be so stressed by the trip and the new surroundings that you won't get a true indication of how your cat might get along with the new cat. This is another reason we offer the trial period, so you can find out in your home how the two pets will cope together after a few days to settle in.

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If I get my new adopted pet home and he/she is very unsettled what should I do?

These animals have generally been abandoned and let down by someone enough that they ended up in a pound. Often their time in the pound is a very traumatizing and truly scary experience. When they come into foster care for many of them it is the first time they have had regular meals and grooming, are made to feel safe with open affection and to know what it is like not to have to be afraid of life, people and other animals. It's also often the first time they have received training and a structured environment as some have been left in backyards totally unsocialised or wandering the streets left to fend for themselves. As carers we work hard to try to help them overcome any problems they have and to make them feel secure and loved. You will need to give them time and space to adjust to another stage in their life. Many will be initially very confused at another dramatic change in such a short time. We are here to help you and them and offer advice on what you can do to make the transition into their new home easier for everyone.

Some quick tips are:

  • Call us for advice if you are unsure - the foster carer may have experienced the same issues you are having.
  • Allow the pet to explore their new surrounds at their own pace. Particularly for cats, if they want to spend the first two days hiding under the lounge then just let them be. They'll be more scared if you constantly try to interact with them while they are trying to work things out.
  • Ensure other pets are introduced slowly and in a safe manner (i. e. don't restrain cats, have dogs on lead when meeting a new cat and allow dogs to be on neutral territory when meeting other dogs).
  • Don't let your new pet do things you don't want them to do. If they are crying to come inside then by all means let them inside, but only if you intend to keep that routine. You'll have to expect some confused behavior while the pet works out your household routine and what is expected of them.

Remember they need to get to know and trust you so lots of love and attention from you will go a long way and you in turn will end up with a pet that hopefully makes your every day so worthwhile.

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I want to help out at the shelter, how can I arrange that?

We don't have a shelter and our entire organisation is run by volunteers who care for the fosters in their own homes, so we are unfortunately unable to offer the kind of volunteering roles that many people would like (e. g. walking or brushing dogs, cleaning cages etc). However we'd still love your help for other activities. Please see the Help Page for details.

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I have a pet I want to surrender, where can I drop it off?

Pounds in NSW are overflowing with lovely natured, healthy animals who have no options. We get many phone calls each day with people looking to surrender their pets and it's not possible to take on most of these animals.

If you have exhausted all your options and you contact us about taking on your pet, please be aware that DCH is a small group and our spaces are very limited. We can only take on a surrender animal if we have an available carer who can cater to that animal's needs. If we can accept your surrender animal, we do charge a surrender fee.

Please use our contact page regarding surrenders.

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How can I help DCH?

We are always looking for foster carers so please fill out the form and submit it to us. If you cant foster but have time to spare then we are always looking for volunteers to transport animals and donations of pet accessories, attend fundraising events including Pet festivals and BBQ's, sell chocolates, entertainment books etc, there is always something that needs to be done and we appreciated any help given. Please contact Megan or Judy

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