Dog rescuer in the running for volunteer of the year award
SHARYN Banks has always had a passion for the welfare of animals.
In fact, being sympathetic to the plight of anything that barks, scampers, howls, clucks and so on, started from a very young age.
"I remember being in Grade 3 and dobbing on the teacher for putting a mouse in the incinerator," she said.
"It doesn't matter if they are big or small - there has never been a time where I thought that animals were less important than anything else."
The Biggenden woman has been nominated for Heritage Bank's 2015 Volunteer of the Year Award for her efforts in animal welfare through the operation of her not-for-profit organisation Red Collar Rescue.
The small rescue centre, first established in 2009, takes in death row dogs from various locations throughout the region.
"Red Collar Rescue first came about when I heard of two dogs at the local vet who were due to be euthanised," she said.
"Being an animal lover, I wasn't prepared to let that happen, so I took them in."
"I started taking care of more and more dogs as time went on - more than what I could handle - so the refuge was created."
Ms Banks and her team microchip, vaccinate, desex and heart-worm test all rescued dogs before searching for their perfect home.
"We are always looking for 'forever homes' for our deserving dogs. Some find homes straight away while others have been with us for over a year," she said.
"Since 2009 we have been able to re-home over 900 dogs that would have otherwise been euthanised."
The refuge operates from a 65ha property and is managed by an unpaid, elected committee who live onsite.
"All of our rescue dogs live with us as family members; this allows us to get a better idea of their nature and how they interact with other animals and each other. Our aim is to find the right home for the right dog," Ms Banks said.
If she wins Heritage Bank's Volunteer of the Year award, Ms Banks will be presented with $10,000 for Red Collar Rescue.
The runner-up will receive $1000 for their organisation and the People First award will give $2000.
"It is a great honour to be recognised and nominated for these awards," she said.
"We would desperately love to win, as we need funds to help build a new set of pens - the slabs of concrete alone will cost $35,000."
"We receive no government funding and rely entirely on the generosity of strangers so every little bit of money we get is always greatly appreciated."