Thursday, June 14, 2018

Enter the 2018 Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards

2018 Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards
Joanne Righetti, Cathy Beer, Michael O'Donoghue, Sandy Matheson, Anne Fawcett and Tim Vasudeva at the launch of the 2018 Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards. Photo: Jo Lyons Photography.

There are thousands of people, and around 900 rescue and animal shelters, across Australia who devote a good chunk of their lives and resources to rehabilitating and re-homing companion animals. From scooping out litter trays to training reactive dogs to helping animal victims of cruelty and doing it all on a shoestring, its tough work. There is sweat, there are tears. But these amazing people and organisations saves lives.

I am very proud to be taking part in a new initiative to recognise the important work of those people: the 2018 inaugural Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue 

The Awards, which launched today, are the brainchild of Cathy Beer, founder of

You can watch a video about the awards, produced by Ruff Diamonds, here.

Cathy has been a huge advocate for companion animal welfare and pulling something like this together isn’t easy. I know she has been working on the project for some time, contacting prospective judges, sponsors and experts in the animal rescue space to ensure these awards make an impact. And everyone will benefit. If we recognise and reward the best, we can also learn from them: what are the best ways to meet animal welfare needs in shelter settings? What are the best animal shelters and council pounds doing? What are the most effective strategies for outreach?

There are seven award categories, with one winner for each category. Award categories 1 – 6 are for re-homing organisations. Award category 7 is for Aussie pet guardians who have adopted or fostered a pet.

1. Outstanding Rescue Group
2. Outstanding Animal Shelter
3. Outstanding Council Animal Shelter
4. Innovation in Rescue
5. Community Education and Outreach Program
6. Volunteer of the Year
7. Advocate® People’s Rescue Story

I am honoured to be one of the judges who will be judging awards 1-6. The other judges are:

Nell Thompson, Coordinator for Getting To Zero (G2Z) and committee member of the Australian Institute of Animal Management (AIAM).

Tim Vasudeva, Director of Corporate Affairs at Animals Australia.

Vickie Davy, Co-Founder & joint CEO of PetRescue, not for profit organisation that brings thousands of rescue pets face-to-face with thousands of potential adopters every day.

Dr Anthony Bennett, Veterinarian & Co-star of Lifestyle Channel’s TV series Village Vets.

Sandy Matheson, Founder & Managing Director of Jetpets, a pet travel company focused on the safety, comfort and welfare of pets.

Dr Michael O’Donoghue, Small animal veterinarian and Co-Founder of ‘People and Pets’, a nationwide grief and pet loss counselling service.

The judges for Category 7 Award ‘Advocate® People’s Rescue Story’ are representatives from Bayer and Pets4Life. (you can read more about the judges at

The launch today was a special event, with a talk by renowned animal behaviourist Dr Joanne Righetti of Pet Problems Solved, also the Awards Ambassador.

We were also treated to a K9 Nose Work® demonstration by celebrity animal trainer Peta Clarke and her amazing three dogs – and cat! I’ve not seen a Nose Work demo before, certainly not one involving a cat, and I was totally impressed.

2018 Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards
Peta Clarke does a Nose Work demo at the launch of the 2018 Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards. Photo: Jo Lyons Photography.

If you are involved with a companion animal rescue organisation, or know someone who is, the details are below. The application process itself is a chance to reflect on your strengths and plans for the future - and a chance to be recognised for all the hard work.

How to enter
Entries open 12pm on July 1 and close midnight on August 31. To enter, visit and follow the links.  

For updates on the awards program, please visit or follow the Rescue Awards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. #jetpetsrescueawards2018