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March 28, 2019

Cathy Beer With Foster Doggies 2 (1)


Pets4Life is an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those who are thinking of getting a cat or dog. Their goal is to help reduce the number of cats and dogs surrendered and improve pet well-being in Australia.

We caught up with Cathy Beer, founder of Pets4Life to find out more about the work they do.


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1. Tell me about your area of expertise

Prior to Pets4Life, I worked for over 20 years in the corporate world as a professional marketer. Around 2010, I was thinking about how I could use my skills to help reduce the euthanasia of healthy and treatable cats and dogs in animal shelters.

Fast forward to 2015. My passion for pet welfare led me to undertake the Delta Society’s Cert IV in Companion Animal Services and accredited Delta trainer course. I’m aiming to complete the course this year. Since starting the Delta course, I’ve become a huge advocate of positive reinforcement dog training methods, which are based on the latest canine science. The bad old days of using choke chains and other forms of punishment to train dogs are over, although sadly there are still some ‘balanced’ trainers out there using methods that are now considered outdated and inhumane. I’ve been a volunteer dog training instructor at the Sydney All Breeds Dog Club for the last couple of years as well as providing private consultations.


2. What inspired you to start Pets4Life?

It all started with two rescue doggies, Rosie and Toby my husband, John and I adopted back in 2008. We had very little knowledge on dog behaviour and dog training back then! At that time, I was shocked to discover around 200,000 dogs and cats were euthanased in Australia. I wanted to do something, and so I embarked on a fact-finding mission by interviewing various leaders in the rescue industry. In 2013, I launched Pets4Life at Willoughby Council in Sydney.

The issue of animal surrender is complex and there is no silver bullet. However, over the last 10 years, I have seen rescue groups and animals shelters do amazing work to give companion animals a second chance in a loving home.


3. What has been your biggest success so far and why do you think this success occurred?

I’m proud of launching Australia’s first national awards program for the rescue industry called the Companion Animal Rescue Awards in 2018. The Rescue Awards is a Pets4Life initiative that showcases excellence and innovation in rescue Australia wide. Last year we received 517 entries and great media coverage including Channel Nine’s Today Show, Sun-Herald in Melbourne and interviews on ABC radio. I think the inaugural Rescue Awards was a great success because of our pawsome panel of highly respected Judges, wonderful Supporters and our small hardworking team who pulled it all together. The feedback was very positive saying the Rescue Awards is just what the industry needs to celebrate achievements and raise the standards of rescue.


It’s on all again in 2019!


We are launching the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards program on 10th April at the Cat Protection Society NSW. Bondi Vet Dr Alex Hynes has joined the panel of highly respected judges. Opens for entries is 1st May to 30th June. This year, we’re aiming for 1,000 entries for the Advocate® People’s Rescue Story! Visit www.rescueawards.com.au.


The site, www.pets4life.com.au has helpful information from a range of experts on topics that covers your pet’s life journey, from before you get a dog or cat to adult to senior and saying goodbye.


The Pets4Life manifesto is ‘Every animal deserves a good life, not just a life of existence’.


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Photo credit: Jenny Bridge