SPCA New Zealand

Animal transfer tales: getting them where they need to be

27 March 2023

One of the biggest benefits of being a national organisation means that no animal’s opportunities are limited by their location. When an animal comes into the care of One SPCA, they become part of a countrywide network that is committed to finding that animal’s happy ending... wherever that may be.

Animal transfer tales: getting them where they need to be

There are many reasons an animal may need to move between locations during their journey to recovery and rehoming. Whether to a larger SPCA Centre to receive specialist care, a smaller SPCA Centre to minimise their stress, to another part of the country to get to their perfect forever home, or just out of one region due to natural disaster... the reasons are endless. Already in 2023, there have been more than 800 animal transfers within SPCA and this work is continuing to be made possible by the wondering gifts from our SPCA supporters.

Read on to discover three very different animal transfer stories which have unfolded within SPCA Centres recently.

From Hastings to Wellington: Donald’s story

SPCA rescue tabby kitten in the arms of a caring human
Kitten Donald was relocated from Hastings to Wellington after Cyclone Gabrielle

After Cyclone Gabrielle hit the East Coast of New Zealand on 14 February, the communities of the Hawke’s Bay were left reeling. Among them were the countless animals who were displaced and impacted by the wild weather.

Local SPCA teams jumped into action. You can read more about what our response looked like here, but we knew that with so many animals in need, we need to make room in our Centres to accommodate the most vulnerable.

As well as making room for incoming animals, our Hawke’s Bay Centres were already chockablock full of felines needing a home. Kitten season doesn’t simply stop because there has been a natural disaster, and mid-February is the peak of this busy time. With so many human residents of the area unable to consider adopting in the wake of the cyclone, we knew we needed to get these kittens elsewhere for them to find their forever homes.

On 17 February, just three days after Hawke’s Bay found itself under water in the midst of the cyclone event, a vehicle carrying 40 SPCA felines made the journey from SPCA Hastings to our Wellington Centre where the local team was eager to care for them.

Amongst them was Donald, a four-month-old tabby boy. Transport is never fun for felines, and we can only imagine the fear they must have felt during their journey. With our Wellington team eager to get Donald and the others into their forever homes as quickly as possible, word was put out to the Wellington community, and adoption prices were halved for the weekend.

Donald didn’t have to wait long. Just one day after arriving in Wellington, a visitor fell in love with him and one other kitten who had come down, and the pair went home that very same day.

We adopted Donald and Bert who have since been renamed Sausage and Dingbat by our 3 year old,” adopter Michele tells us. “We’re really glad we took both of them. We just intended to get one kitten on the day, but in the cage they seemed to be a bit attached to each other. They’re pretty much inseparable!”

From a weather-beaten Hastings to a warm, safe home in Johnsonville... all within just four days. That’s what we call a positive outcome for these two wee felines!

From Auckland to Hamilton: Lindt & Louie’s story

Chocolate brown and white cashmere lop bunnies in SPCA's care
Bonded rabbits Lindt and Louie were transferred from Auckland to Hamilton after being born in SPCA's care

Lindt and Louie are two seven-month-old siblings who were born right here within SPCA walls. Shelter life is all they’ve ever known!

Our SPCA Centre in Auckland’s Māngere is almost always overflowing with rabbits needing a home. For the last several months, there has been a particularly high number of long-haired rabbits such as Angora and Jersey Wooly breeds. These rabbits can take even longer to rehome, as their long coat requires a high level of care, so specialist adopters are often required.

With numbers in Auckland already so high, when these two Cashmere Lop buns were old enough, they were transferred down to SPCA’s Hamilton Centre. Not only does this take pressure off the strained capacity in Auckland, but it opens up a whole new community of potential adopters for Lindt and Louie, increasing chances of a faster adoption.

An SPCA Field Officer from the Auckland team made the trip down with the pair, plus some other buns who were relocated to other Centres. For now, Lindt and Louie remain available for adoption in Hamilton, where the team are enjoying their sweet personalities.

To read more about this gorgeous pair, or if you know someone in the Waikato region who may be interested in adopting, head to www.spca.nz/lindt or www.spca.nz/louie

From Christchurch to Greymouth: Leigh’s story

SPCA rescue dog white with black nose
SPCA rescue dog Leigh was transferred from Christchurch to Greymouth to find her forever home

A shelter environment is not an ideal place for any animal to spend extended periods of time. Dogs especially who so yearn for interaction, movement, and stimulation, can really suffer.

This was the case for Leigh, a beautiful dog who came into the care of our SPCA Christchurch Centre in October 2022. Leigh is such a lovely girl, with a beautiful personality. Sometimes even the loveliest animals get overlooked for adoption though, through no fault of their own.

For three months, Leigh sat in our Christchurch Centre waiting for the happy day she’d go to her forever home. But that day didn’t come. The team noticed Leigh’s behaviour started to change, which isn’t uncommon with dogs who stay in the Centre a while. She withdrew into herself and was evidently less happy.

With Christchurch being one of our biggest and busiest Centres, animal numbers are high and the team has been kept extra busy through 2023 so far. The decision was made to transfer this darling dog to the much smaller West Coast SPCA, to our Centre in Greymouth. Leigh made the journey over in January of this year.

Almost immediately, the team noticed huge improvements in her temperament. She played well with other dogs, loved going on walks, and seemed to have her zest for life back.

Leigh’s story is an example of how smaller Centres are often less stressful environments. After rehoming her in Christchurch proved difficult, the team hoped that as well as making Leigh happier, it might be just the ticket to get her rehomed with her perfect forever family. And they weren’t wrong about that!

Just last week, Leigh was happily adopted to a family in Reefton – a match that never would have been possible with her transfer across the motu! Happy forever after, sweet Leigh.

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