RUFF LIFE: Gary and Sharon Booth with Roxy, an 18-month-old staffy cross desexed female, which is up for adoption.
RUFF LIFE: Gary and Sharon Booth with Roxy, an 18-month-old staffy cross desexed female, which is up for adoption. Chris Ison Rokcdog

Pair to run Sydney marathon to raise funds for furry friends

GARY Booth is a dog's best friend.

The owner of the Yeppoon Boarding Kennels and Cattery has taken his love for animals a step further by founding a charity.

The animal adoption organisation, Four Paws, is designed to help abandoned cats and dogs find their new forever homes by placing them with a foster family first.

The idea came to Gary through his and his wife Sharon's work in animal welfare at the Yeppoon pound.

"One of our requests for working with the pound was that they only release animals to reputable charities," he said.

"We noticed there was a lack of local charities to take animals... so there was a move to establish Four Paws Adoption and Education Inc."

The organisation, co-founded by vet Dr Veronica Turner, was awarded charity status halfway through 2013.

Whilst still in its infancy, the organisation has seen 34 animals re-homed since its introduction.

Gary said he was most impressed with the charity's ability to deal with animals that had been surrendered to the organisation.

"Surrenders have been coming directly to us, which takes the pound completely out of the equation," he said.

Gary praised Livingstone Shire Council for its re-homing initiatives but, despite the pound's efforts, a number of animals continued to be collected without being adopted in the necessary time period.

The RSPCA reported 107,900 cats and dogs were received nationally between 2011 and 2012.

Of those, 25.6% of dogs and 47.1% of cats were euthanised.

Four Paws wants to decrease those numbers, but they need financial help to make a difference.

"We're struggling a little bit... we aren't as big as Capricorn Animal Aid and the RSPCA is nationwide," he said.

Gary and his daughter, Harley, are running in the Sydney Morning Herald half marathon to raise funds for the charity in the hopes of hitting their $5000 goal.

Gary is also putting the call out for foster carers to fill a hole in the market.

"We are desperate for carers to take bigger dogs. Everyone wants the little dogs but we need someone to take the labradors and german shepherds," he said.

To sponsor Gary and Harley, or to apply to be a foster carer, Four Paws can be contacted on 0478 032 910.



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