Dog rescue home opens

Volunteer Serena and Tiggy. (Joe Mastroianni)

By Jessica Micallef

A long-awaited Stafford Rescue Victoria facility dedicated to looking after our four-legged staffie friends is finally open.

Known as the Darren and Phillip’s Rescue Retreat, the facility will be able to house up to five pure bred Staffordshire bull terriers.

The retreat, which opened on Thursday, will assist in the re-homing of dogs that have been surrendered from pounds and homes and provide medical assistance to injured staffies.

The Darren and Phillip’s Rescue Retreat is located on a 32-hectare Carlsruhe property that is also home to rescued sheep, horses and pigs.

The retreat includes “large” sleeping quarters, dog runs, a paddock, shaded areas and a shed for volunteers.

Stafford Rescue Victoria president Jan Hutton said a $50,000 grant from the Animal Welfare Department helped build the facility. Ms Hutton then raised a further $100,000 with the help of fellow furry friends and an online crowdfunding campaign.

“Two dogs called Darren and Phillip, who are called The Blueboys, donated a huge portion of that money from raising funds from the sale of their calendars and clothing line,” she said.

“We raised the money a year ago. It was just getting a permit.

“We’re always raising money, we’ve got a dog that is costing us $14,000 for two hip replacements.”

Construction started on the Carlsruhe facility in June last year. Before, Ms Hutton and her volunteers were operating in boarding facilities throughout the Macedon Ranges.

“We were operating in different places,” she said. “Another lady was looking after some of the dogs.

“We’ve been operating for many years but now we have got a brand new modern, start-of-the-art facility.

“I really do thank the Department of Animal Welfare for giving us that grant to get us kick-started. Every cent helps.”

Now that Ms Hutton has a new, permanent site, she is calling on locals to lend a helping hand to not only assist with the dogs, but to educate people on the “misunderstood” breed.

“We definitely need … local volunteers,” she said. “We have about 30 [volunteers] but they are not here every day.

“We need some volunteers during the week. “They [Staffordshire bull terriers] are a misunderstood breed.

“A lot of people get them thinking they are just a dog that can be left in the backyard but they are so needy for human companionship.”