Dis­abled an­i­mals find home

Tweed Daily News - - LIFE - Laura Nel­son

SCAR­LETT Faith is an apri­cot minia­ture poo­dle who melts hearts.

She’s also blind with spinal is­sues but has found love and ac­cep­tance at a unique refuge.

Her new home is the Sto­ry­book Farm, which caters specif­i­cally for an­i­mals with spe­cial needs and dis­abil­i­ties. It’s the only place of its kind in Aus­tralia and the 12-week-old poo­dle joins 39 other cats, don­keys, goats and horses – each with their chal­lenges.

Founder Lisa-jayne Cameron said Scar­lett Faith was do­ing re­ally well since she ar­rived two weeks ago.

“She’s in­cred­i­bly in­tel­li­gent and we’re as­tounded at how quickly she has learnt her name,” she said.

How­ever the pup clearly has a num­ber of chal­lenges ahead of her and her dis­abil­i­ties are be­lieved to be the re­sult of a dif­fi­cult birth.

“She has quite a long road of spe­cial care and many les­sons to learn so that she feels safe and se­cure,” Ms Cameron said.

“The first thing you teach a blind dog is to feel se­cure in a world which would frighten her. We stand by and make sure she doesn’t get into any sit­u­a­tion that scares her but she has to think for her­self.

“De­spite her dis­abil­i­ties, Scar­lett Faith is a happy, busy puppy who has been adopted by our spe­cial-needs pug, Frank, who ab­so­lutely adores her.”

The poo­dle’s heart-warm­ing story of find­ing safety and love at the refuge is typ­i­cal of oth­ers in the me­nagerie and Ms Cameron is adamant all these an­i­mals de­serve a fight­ing chance in life.

“We love them all and they just need a help­ing hand,” she said.

“They may be dif­fer­ent from other an­i­mals be­cause of their dis­abil­i­ties but they are also the same in that they can be cheeky and just as naughty.

“We re­cently had a

two-seater lounge which had seen bet­ter days but the cush­ions were still lovely, so we gave them to the dogs to use. When I took a look this morn­ing, there was foam ev­ery­where – not very ap­pre­cia­tive be­hav­iour from them.”

Ms Cameron is as­sisted in her wor­thy en­deav­our by her daugh­ter, Alexan­dria, 20, while her son, Jonah, 14, helps out when he’s not do­ing his school work.

“We also have an amaz­ing sup­port sys­tem of vol­un­teers and we work closely with

vets,” she said.

Sto­ry­book Farm was founded by the an­i­mal lover in 2012 when her beloved dachs­hund, Mr Wad­dles, be­came paral­ysed.

“To our hor­ror, we dis­cov­ered there was nowhere in Aus­tralia to get help for an­i­mals with dis­abil­i­ties,” she said.

“Ev­ery­thing I learnt came from Amer­ica and Eng­land, so we de­cided to be the first in the coun­try to of­fer this help. We’re still the only refuge in Aus­tralia that is

de­voted to an­i­mals with spe­cial needs.

“Mr Wad­dles is nine now and he’s walk­ing on his own but also have our wheelie dogs.”

The 40 an­i­mals un­der the wing of the refuge live with Ms Cameron or are in foster care.

“We also do home vis­its and we teach peo­ple how to care for their spe­cial-needs an­i­mals,” she said.

“Our goal is to be­come a one-stop area for an­i­mals with spe­cial needs.”

Ms Cameron is look­ing for

a new 20 to 25-acre site – prefer­ably on the Gold Coast with ken­nels on acreage and a prop­erty that she can buy down the track.

“Like most sanc­tu­ar­ies, we’re do­ing it tough,” she said.

“We get no gov­ern­ment fund­ing, so we rely on do­na­tions and our fundrais­ers at mar­kets. We were at the Bris­bane Dog Lovers Show at the week­end.”

If you can help, phone Ms Cameron on 0487 896 217 or visit Sto­ry­book Farm – Sa­cred An­i­mal Gar­den on Face­book.

PHOTO: LUKE MARS­DEN

FRIENDS IN NEED: Lisa-jayne Cameron and her chil­dren run Sto­ry­book Farm, which cares for dis­abled and ne­glected an­i­mals. IN­SET: Minia­ture poo­dle Scar­lett Faith, who is blind and has spinal prob­lems, has found a lov­ing home at Sto­ry­book Farm.

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