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How One Heroic Veterinary Nurse Is Saving Dogs From Being Unnecessarily Put Down

What is ‘Project Underdog Rescue’?

Here’s How You Can Help

No-one likes thinking about dogs being euthanised but no matter how much we ignore it, sadly, it still happens.

Of course, sometimes euthanasia is a genuinely kinder route if an animal is incurably ill or suffering. However, one veterinary nurse learnt the hard way that euthanasia isn’t only reserved for pets on death’s door.

Eva Giuretis was just one week into her first trainee veterinary nurse job when four-month-old whippet, Darcy, was to be euthanised simply for being “naughty”.

“I was in disbelief that none of my colleagues spoke up for this puppy and it was at that moment that I found my voice and my purpose. I requested 24 hours to find an alternative to euthanise and Darcy came home with me that evening. The next day he was placed into a foster home,” says Eva.

Saving a dog from death. You would think that Eva would be heralded as a hero amongst her colleagues right? Wrong.

“A few days later I received an email to say I was no longer required and to return my uniform.”

It was this moment that resulted in Eva founding Project Underdog Rescue.

“I was faced with the very confronting realisation that Darcy’s story wasn’t all that unique.”

Founded in 2015, Project Underdog Rescue (PUR), is a Melbourne-based organisation focused on preventing adoptable pets from being unnecessarily euthanised. Reliant on a network of volunteers and foster families who are willing to care for pets, they began as a humble animal rescue group. Now, PUR has expanded into a fully-fledged animal welfare organisation.

The team helps assign pets to foster homes, conducts community outreach programs, runs Melbourne’s first 100% Fear Free Certified mobile vet clinic (where they give specialised care to anxious pets) and even give animals palliative and special needs care.

TDLR; they’re angels.

“We believe passionately that these more challenging animals deserve just as much love as any other, which is why we will always choose to back the underdog,” says Eva.

PUR’s animal rescue program is also entirely foster-based, meaning there’s no shelter environments at any point of the process.

“Every animal that comes into our care will ultimately be adopted into a home. If they have never been in a home environment while they were with us, how would we know how they cope in a home environment and most importantly, what type of home is right for them?”

Hearing the stories of animal neglect is confronting but from some of the worst stories, the importance of PUR is highlighted. PUR’s Vice-President and Animal Rescue Program Leader, Tom Wright shares the heartbreaking (and heartwarming) story of Honey-Waffles.

“Honey-Waffles came to us from a hoarding and neglect situation where she was so flea-bitten she hardly had any fur left. She also had a severely broken leg bone which was never treated. Aside from the physical trauma, she was emotionally shut down and broken but as with so many of these animals a little love, care and patience brings out the absolute best in them.”

Basically, people are the worst. But thanks to the kind team at PUR, animals like Honey-Waffles and Darcy are able to be given a second chance at life.

Darcy in the hospital ward on the day Eva saved his life.

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Darcy’s new owner, Jacqueline Novoselac shared just how important PUR’s work is.

“I absolutely love Darcy to bits. I couldn’t imagine life without him and am so grateful everyday that we became family. If not for Eva, Darcy wouldn’t have survived this world, let alone thrive as he does.”

If the tears are welling up in your eyes (as they are in mine) then there are ways to help PUR to prevent pets from being unnecessarily neglected and euthanised.

PUR are currently partnered with Play For Purpose – a not-for-profit raffle initiative where money raised from tickets goes towards great causes. The first community raffle of its kind in Australia, you can actually select to support the causes close to your heart (like… I don’t know, pets getting unnecessarily euthanised).

As well as helping out a charity, you can also go into the running to win prizes worth up to $300K. There’s a first prize package valued at $250K including some cashable gold bullions. Imagine how many animals you could help with that?!

Raffle tickets are just $10 and $5 for every ticket goes to the charity of your choice, meaning it’s a non-committal way to contribute towards charities who really need the funding.

For PUR, the donations from Play For Purpose go towards a number of things. Eva shares that, “Veterinary care is our largest expense by far, so donations are directed towards our medical bills.”

“For example, when someone buys five tickets, they’re essentially paying for one animal to have a comprehensive health check with our veterinary team,” says Eva.

As well as the medical costs, Tom notes that the money will go into keeping the animals “happy, healthy and set-up for success… ready for their forever homes.”

I’m not crying, you are.

To help out pets like Darcy, Honey-Waffles and more you can buy a Play For Purpose raffle ticket here.

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