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Rescue Awards is back to encourage and inspire rescue when needed most

The Companion Animal Rescue Awards returns for its third year to celebrate and inspire rescue groups and animal shelters to continue their efforts in saving companion animals, particularly during these challenging times. This year, Jetpets is again the Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner.

The Rescue Awards is a national for purpose program managed by Pets4Life, an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those thinking of getting a pet. The mission of the Rescue Awards is to celebrate and recognise achievements in the rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming of companion animals in Australia. It is the platform to showcase excellence and innovation, thereby raising the standards of rescue groups and animals shelters nation-wide.

Every year, approximately 190,000 pets remain unclaimed in Australia’s pounds and shelters, and thousands of volunteers support over 1,000 rescue groups and animal shelters across Australia¹. The Rescue Awards recognises the dedication of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to help rescue pets find homes.  

“Our past winners and finalists say the recognition by the Rescue Awards gives their staff and volunteers the motivation to ‘keep calm and carry on’ rehoming surrendered and abandoned pets every day in a challenging environment,” said Cathy.

In 2020, the Rescue Awards is building on the success of 2019 when over 1,000 entries were received. Cathy reveals exciting changes to this year’s program in her video message, including a new Ambassador plus new Judges, Categories and Supporters. She also thanks animal lovers across the country for helping to make a difference by adopting or fostering a pet.

Cathy is very excited to announce two new Categories. She said, “The ‘Refuel Digital Technology Award’ is for rehoming organisations. The use of digital technology has enabled rescue groups and shelters to continue their great work despite natural disasters and the current pandemic lockdown. The Drontal®Foster Carer Story is for thousands of volunteer foster carers around the country looking after companion animals until they find a new home.”

Jetpets Managing Director Sandy Matheson said, “For the third consecutive year, Jetpets is proud to be the Platinum Rescue Hero and Naming Partner. In wanting to support and recognise the remarkable work being done by so many individuals and rescue groups throughout Australia, we are thrilled to come on board again as the Platinum Partner for the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards. I’m looking forward to being involved and ultimately congratulating the winners of the various award categories.”


The Rescue Awards 2020 is thrilled to announce a new Ambassador, Lara Shannon, Certified Dog Trainer, Animal Welfare Advocate and Host of Channel 10’s Pooches at Play. Lara shares her enthusiasm for the Rescue Awards in her video message.

Rescue Award Categories

The Rescue Awards 2020 has 10 Categories with one winner for each category. Award categories 1 – 8 are for industry. Category 9, the 'Advocate® People’s Rescue Story’ is for Aussie pet guardians who have adopted a pet and category 10 is the ‘Drontal® Foster Carer Story’ for foster carers of companion animals waiting for their forever home.

“Pet adoption changes lives for the better,” said Cathy. “This year we’re looking for 1,000 heart-warming stories from pet adopters and 500 inspiring stories from foster carers about how their adopted/foster pet has transformed and changed their human’s life.”


The Rescue Awards is thrilled to announce 20 judges who bring expertise in companion animal welfare, rescue and sheltering, veterinarians, compassion fatigue, digital technology and animal behaviour.

The Rescue Awards wishes to thank the judges for donating their time and expertise.

  1. Tim Vasudeva, Director of Corporate Affairs at Animals Australia

  2. Dr Alison Shen, Veterinarian and Co-star in the TV series Bondi Vet Coast to Coast*

  3. Nell Thompson, Coordinator for Getting 2 Zero

  4. Emeritus Professor Jacquie Rand, Executive Director & Chief Scientist, Australian Pet Welfare Foundation*

  5. Vickie Davy, Co-Founder & joint CEO of PetRescue

  6. Dr Anthony Bennett, Veterinarian, Equine Dentist & Royal Easter Show panelist

  7. Dr Jo Righetti, PhD Animal Behaviourist, Pet Problems Solved*

  8. Dr Vanessa Rolf, Compassion Fatigue Therapist*

  9. Brooke Rankmore, CEO at Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities*

  10. Sandy Matheson, Founder & Managing Director of Jetpets

  11. Dr Anne Fawcett, Animal Welfare Veterinarian

  12. Dr Michael O’Donoghue, Small Animal Veterinarian and Co-Founder of ‘People and Pets’

  13. Anne Boxhall, Animal Welfare Advocate with 28 years’ experience in sheltering and rescue

  14. Ryan Jones, Founder and CEO of Refuel Creative*

  15. Brittany Bloomer, Founder of Charity Pound Paws*

  16. Annette Hughes, Publisher of Where Pets Are Found*

  17. Elliot Chapman, Customer Success Manager, HubSpot*

  18. Tara O’Connell, Pet Diaries App Creator*

  19. Dan White, Senior Brand Manager, Bayer Animal Health (categories 9 and 10)

  20. Cathy Beer, Founder of Pets4Life (categories 9 and 10) 


Enter online from 1 May to close midnight on 19 July 2020. To enter, visit and follow the links. 

For updates on the Rescue Awards program, please visit, sign up to the e-newsletter or follow the Rescue Awards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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