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

Open for entries 1 May 2020!

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: 22 APRIL 2020: 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.

The Rescue Awards is more important than ever to put the spotlight on the industry. While rescue organisations are experiencing some of the highest ever adoption rates – PetRescue website has seen more than 12,000 pets adopted in just six weeks –  these organisations are also struggling from the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic following the bushfires, said Rescue Awards Founder and pet adoption advocate Cathy Beer.

Launch 2020. Picture: Ambassador Lara Shannon holding Fluffy with Cathy Beer, Pets4Life holding Twinkle. Picture supplied by Pets4Life

Ambassador Lara Shannon holding Fluffy with Cathy Beer, Pets4Life holding Twinkle. Picture supplied

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, Supporters and Prizes. 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 Awards Categories

1.    Outstanding Rescue Group

2.    Outstanding New Rescue Group

3.    Outstanding Animal Shelter

4.    Outstanding Council Animal Shelter

5.    Innovation in Rescue

6.    Community Education and Outreach Program

7.    Volunteer of the Year

8.    Refuel Digital Technology Award (new)

9.    Advocate® People’s Rescue Story

10.  Drontal® Foster Carer Story (new)

 The Rescue Awards 2020 has 10 Categories with one winner for each Category.

Award categories 1 – 8 are for the 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  (18 Judges for industry categories) 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, International TV Presenter and 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)

* New judges in 2020.
Full bios and photos of the judges can be found at


Enter online from 1 May to close midnight on 31 July 2020. To enter, visit and follow the links.

Watch this short video to find out what the Judges and our past Winners have to say about the Rescue Awards.

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. #jetpetsrescueawards2020

  • END –

About Pets4Life

Pets4Life is an independent education resource for cat and dog guardians and those who are thinking of getting a cat or dog. Our goal is to help reduce cat and dog surrender and improve pet well-being in Australia. After over 20 years in the corporate world as a professional marketer, Cathy Beer pursued her passion for pet welfare and launched Pets4Life in 2013 after interviewing leaders in the companion animal welfare space. Cathy successfully completed the Delta Institute of Australia Cert IV Companion Animal Services and the accredited Delta dog trainer course in October 2019. Cathy is a voluntary member of Willoughby Council’s Companion Animals Committee and a volunteer instructor at the Sydney All Breeds Dog Club in Sydney. The Companion Animal Rescue Awards is a Pets4Life initiative. Visit

About Jetpets

Jetpets are Australia’s leading pet travel experts. Their in house team of pet travel consultants, pet handlers and resident vets have been caring for people’s beloved pets for over 28 years. Setting the highest standards of care for pets travelling interstate and overseas, the Jetpets team love nothing more than reuniting and bringing families together. Jetpets provide a complete pet travel service, taking care of everything involved in transporting a pet from their home to their final destination. For helpful information on pet travel visit, or to speak with an experienced pet travel consultant on 1300 668 309.

Quotes from Gold Rescue Partners

Pet Insurance Australia
Nadia Crighton, Public Relations Manager

“Pet Insurance Australia is proud to once again be supporting the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards for 2020. A hugely important recognisation of all the hardworking and dedicated individuals and volunteers who are selflessly saving, and changing, the lives of so many shelter animals Australia wide, even in the most trying of times.”  More about Pet Insurance Australia.

Pet Greens
Steve Mounsey, General Manager, Pet Greens Australia

“Just like Pets4Life and the Rescue Awards, Pet Greens Australia support and care about pets Australia wide.  We look forward to celebrating the achievements of rescue groups and shelters who work tirelessly to find pets a new home, particularly in these difficult times.”  More about Pet Greens.

Dan White, Senior Brand Manager

“I am delighted Bayer is involved in the Rescue Awards for the third year in a row.  I’m really looking forward to reading the truly inspiring stories that we will receive in the Advocate® People’s Rescue Story category.

Moreover, we have decided to sponsor the newly created “Drontal® Foster Carer Story” category which will recognise the outstanding work that many foster carers do in communities.  All of this couldn’t come at a better time right now: acknowledging the important contribution that rescue pets are playing in our mental health.

I wish everyone the very best of luck with their entries and thank each and every one of the entrants who do such brilliant work in helping needy animals (of all shapes and sizes)!” More about Bayer.

Refuel Creative
Ryan Jones, Founder and CEO

“Refuel Creative are proud to extend our support of the Rescue Awards in 2020. Our team strongly believes that all animals deserve the best chance at a good life in a loving home. When used effectively, digital technology is key to improving the operations and reach of not-for-profit organisations and reducing their costs.

We are looking forward to receiving many innovative submissions for the new Refuel Digital Technology Award category and working with rescue organisations to increase their success.” More about Refuel Creative.

Find out what some of our Judges and past Winners had to say



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This