Raw animal appeal of real- life dramas
ON the face of it, RSPCA Animal Rescue is not about much at all: a lost dog, an injured cat, a horse left alone in an empty paddock.
Yet somehow this insider’s view of RSPCA inspectors going about their daily work has grabbed a whole lot of fans, making it one of Seven’s mostwatched shows last year.
Perhaps it’s because we’re a nation of pet lovers. Or perhaps it’s because Animal Rescue is real- life drama. It’s reality television we can relate to, calmly narrated by Anthony Field, the blue Wiggle.
In this week’s episode, a black cat with a smart blue collar gets stuck up a tree — it just happens to be the tallest tree in East Melbourne — and the entire neighbourhood turns out to watch.
The cat has kept residents awake for nights on end with her yowling before inspector Maree Crabtree gets the call, but this rescue is not going to be easy.
Even the emergency services boys say their ladder isn’t long enough.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, inspector Matt French is dealing with a new mum and six pups who have proved too much for their owner to handle. Skye, a kelpie- rottweiler cross, is kept in cramped and dirty conditions.
Fortunately, Skye’s owner is willing to relinquish the dogs, which are taken into care for treatment and assessment before adoption. Sadly, the ending is not entirely happy.
In Brisbane, inspector Katie Heaton is worried about three goats living among a dangerous tangle of broken bricks, metal off- cuts and wire in an industrial wasteland. The owner says the goats are there to keep the grass down and promises to clear the site, but when Heaton returns nothing has changed.
This time, she’s prepared to get tough with a compliance order, but the owner refuses to surrender the animals, saying he’d rather shoot them. Heaton is distressed when she finds the goats gone, but there’s little more she can do. It’s part of the job, she says.
Back in Melbourne, Crabtree is in a cherry- picker, chasing the cat as it climbs ever higher in the tree. There’s plenty more drama before Inky, identified by her microchip, is finally reunited with her delighted owner.
And there’s a surprise ending in Brisbane when, months later, Heaton gets another call about goats. But this time they are tied up in a paddock.
Watch out for Peter, the humble goat rescuer. He’s one of the everyday heroes who make Animal Rescue such compelling viewing.
Wiggle room: Anthony Field and friend in RSPCA Animal Rescue