Mount Barker, SA
In 2020, LG rewarded Debbie Mundy of Mount Barker, South Australia as a deserving LG Local Legend. Debbie founded the not-for-profit organisation Moving Paws Inc. in 2011, a rescue centre and forever home for senior and special needs dogs in Adelaide.
An animal lover at heart, Debbie was inspired by her experience of rehoming animals so she decided to fund an organisation of volunteers that rescue and rehabilitate surrendered dogs. After just three years, Moving Paws established a partnership with the RSPCA South Australia and has worked tirelessly ever since to assist the Mount Barker Community to rehome these dogs.
Since their inception, Moving Paws has saved an average of 50 dogs every year from a worse fate and has helped countless families find their forever friend. The organisation now solely focuses its resources on caring for the pets that were unable to be rehomed through a program called Always & Forever Dog Haven. This program ensures surrendered dogs suffering from a variety of health issues, including skin cancer, arthritis, dementia, epilepsy and anxiety, are given a loving and caring environment, with the best possible veterinary care, to live out their final years.
Over the last year during the pandemic, as families across Australia were encouraged to stay home, pet shelters reported a major surge in pet fostering requests as a result of these lifestyle changes. While this was a positive outcome, the devastating reality is that not all families are able to accommodate dogs that are not in good health, suffer from behavioural issues, or are no longer puppies. That’s where Debbie and her team at Moving Paws have been able to step in and give these dogs the life and support that they deserve.
We spoke with Debbie to find out more about her selfless efforts in rehoming and caring for rescue dogs. You can read her inspiring responses below:
LG: What prompted you to give back in your community?
DM: In 2010 I worked in real estate and was conducting a final inspection on a rental home. During the inspection, I found two kelpie mixes left by the tenant in the backyard with a tin of food.
I had a good relationship with this tenant so I called and asked if he would be returning to collect his pets. He broke down to me saying he could not find accommodation that allowed pets. He had called shelters and was advised that his dogs would be separated in order to be re-homed and their breed would make it more difficult to find a home. He couldn’t bring himself to drive them to the shelter, he couldn’t bear to think anymore. He wanted it to become someone else’s issue. It did, it became mine!
Roxy and Teesha, the two kelpies, were delightful. They were a little underweight and unsocialised – but I fed them up and over a period of two weeks my brother and sister helped me socialise them and give them basic training.
I emailed all my friends and ask them to share the girls to find them the perfect home. The email ended up with Amanda Blair on 5AA and I was placed on the radio. Within 10 minutes these girls had a wonderful new opportunity to live on a rural farm. The new owners drove to my house and collected them. It was so hard for me to let them go, but I’m happy that we gave them a second chance. After this, I found myself helping colleagues assist their clients with their pets, I helped cats, birds and more dogs. Then one day my friends said to me, “do you know how many animals you are actually helping?” I realised that there is a real need for this in Adelaide.
LG: How did you come up with the concept?
DM: After helping countless animals find their forever homes, I decided it was time to create an official organisation dedicated to helping displaced animals. A friend’s husband was an accountant and for the next six weeks we met, we planned, we talked, we discussed and we created – Moving Paws Inc. From there we wrote our business plan, aim and constitution. Moving Paws Inc is a dedicated team of doggy loving volunteers – an organisation I am truly proud to be the Founder of.
I had no idea what was ahead! I had no idea how hard this gig was going to be, I had no idea the people I would meet, the people I would help, the dogs I would help and how our organisation would grow. As the team grew, the ideas grew, and the need for our organisation grew. We started assisting high risk dogs in NSW shelters and saved many, many lives. This is where our vision became clearer – we wanted to help the underdogs, the senior dogs and the dogs with special needs.
Our reputation grew and we created a working relationship with RSPCASA in 2014, just three years into our creation, which was a dream come true. This gave us the opportunity to help our own state even more. We have assisted many dogs with their second chances, we have made the Moving Paws family bigger and wider and I am extremely proud of the work we have done with the Adelaide Community.
With our resources extremely stressed, we knew something had to give so on our ninth birthday we decided to cease rescuing and maintain our focus solely on our Always and Forever Haven dogs. These are dogs with special needs that we care for privately in a loving environment to live out their years in comfort. We care for a number of senior and special needs dogs that need our time, dedication and our funds. Our dogs receive the very best we can provide for them.
LG: Have you come up against any challenges?
DM: We face challenges nearly every day, some small, some very large. I have fought so very hard for the lives of dogs. I have stopped dogs from being euthanised, ran the charity on the smell of an oily rag - begging at times for money, fought to save the lives of many underdogs, and raised money for surgeries, training and so much more.
LG: What results have you achieved so far?
DM: We started in 2011 and have rescued approximately 50 dogs annually. That’s more than 500 dogs over the course of a decade. These dogs are beautiful souls that were on death row and deserved their second chance. We are so proud of how many dogs we have rehabilitated into loving homes.
LG: What is next for you and your initiative?
DM: This year we decided to cease rescuing and have a sole focus on our Always and Forever Haven dogs. We have only 20 dogs in full time care - living in private foster homes and receiving the best life can offer. All these dogs are senior or special needs.
LG Electronics Australia would like to thank Debbie for her selfless contributions to the state of South Australia. We wish Debbie our best as she continues to support and care for surrendered dogs, giving them the life they deserve.
You can learn more about the inspiring work our LG Local Legends are doing within their local communities by visiting here: lglifesgood.com.au.